PNG Ports Corporation Limited (PNGPCL) now has the ability to have its pilots trained on Papua New Guinea specific areas using the simulators at the PNG Maritime College (PNGMC) in Madang province.
A simulator is the imitation of a ship’s control room that has all the same controls and functionalities on which navigators and seafarers can gain sea experience without being at sea.
And PNGMC with assistance from PNGPCL has installed video footage of the Port Moresby harbour for PNG shippers.
Chief executive officer of PNGPCL, Brian Riches, said with the company’s current relationship with Bugandi High School in Lae “we might pull one out from there and maybe two from Milne Bay”.
“We’ll start working on that.”
Mr Riches said this in response to the principal of PNGMC, Richard Coleman, who suggested that PNGPCL recruit “really bright Grade 12 school leavers” to be trained as pilots next year.
Mr Coleman said PNGPCL might also think of sending over one engineer for training.
“We’ve got what’s called three full machine simulators which mean all the equipment that you find on a modern ship’s bridge,” he said.
“It’s contained within a room and we’ve got three of those rooms with exactly the same functionality.
“That includes visual displays of wherever you are.
“We’ve just had Port Moresby harbour entered into our system – you got all the steering controls, you got the engine controls, you got the echo sounder.
“So basically you can run exercises for berthing, unberthing of ships within the harbour limits.
“And also we have the ability of putting in other targets into the area like the area land and other ships passing through the area so that we can realistically simulate the navigational requirements for berthing the ship.
“So that’s obviously of critical importance to the pilotage but also for the vessel’s senior deck officers for bringing the ships into the port.”
The simulators are credited by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), which is the world authority on maritime safety education.
And the college is on the IMO white list as providing world class marine education.
“We are the only training provider in the Pacific that trains up to Master Class 1 which is the qualification that allows them to sail any type of vessels anywhere in the world,” Mr Coleman said.
PNGMC is the only college in the Pacific outside of Australia and New Zealand that can do that.
Installed over two years from 1997 to 1998, PNGMC had another major upgrade in 2003 but up until a couple of weeks ago, areas such as simulator offerings from the manufacturer for which PNGMC could train PNGPCL officers were suspended.
“But up until now with our relationship with PNG Ports Corporation, that relationship now means that we have PNG-specific training areas on our simulators, which we intend to expand again in the future so it makes the training of a PNG shipper much more realistic because they are doing it in an area that they can relate to, that they see every day.”
PNGMC is basically a training provider there to assist shipping companies and ports corporations in providing competent staff in all expects of navigation and engineering.
The college is a government statutory body but its training revenue comes from its relationships with the likes of PNGPCL and shipping companies.