New Engine Room Simulator To Improve Supertanker Training
A computer-based simulator for training engine room officers of supertankers will go into operation early in 1978 under a development contract signed between the Organization for Industrial Research TNO, a Dutch corporation, and Esso Tankvaart Maatschappij B.V., an affiliate of Esso Nederland B.V.
The unique engine room simulator will be located at the TNO Institute for Mechanical Constructions in Delft, Netherlands. It will be the first of its kind in Europe and will have extensive training exercises for both normal and emergency operations. The European locations will be convenient for the training of officers joining or leaving their ships. The facility will accurately simulate the appearance and behavior of the main consoles and electrical power panels with which marine engineers work in the engine control room of a typical very large crude carrier (VLCC). In an adjoining room, graphic displays of key systems will allow trainees to gather information and respond to events as they would in the machinery space outside the engine control room of a VLCC.
The engine room simulator will complement the TNO Ship Bridge Simulator activities in Delft at which Exxon, of which Esso Nederland is an affiliate, has trained nearly 500 tanker deck officers and pilots over the last six years. Between 80 and 100 junior and senior engine officers a year from Exxon's worldwide fleets are scheduled to be trained in the simulated engine room when it becomes operational.
The facility will be offered by TNO to engine officers from other companies on a space-available basis, in a similar manner to the Bridge Simulator. The engine room simulator will also be available for research and development purposes.
The courses for engine room officers will last five days and will involve classroom instruction and hands-on use of the simulator. Simultaneous translation of instruction will be available in English, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, French, German, Korean, and other languages to reflect the international makeup of VLCC crews.
The simulator will be used to expose the officers to a large number of normal and emergency circumstances, providing the equivalent of years of experience in a short period of time. It will train the officers to recognize and react quickly and correctly in crisis situations.
The computer allows the facility to simulate a large number of exercises including: Emergency situations during startup, maneuvering and normal steaming; Complex operations such as starting up the powerplant from a cold condition; Practice on specific tasks such as paralleling generators and testing main engine controls.
In addition, the simulator will be used to instruct officers in the various techniques of saving fuel, a matter of increasing importance in proper engine room control. The purpose of the Netherlands TNO Organization for Industrial Research is to coordinate and to further the development and application of technological improvements for practical use.
The computer program and specialized hardware for the simulator were developed over the last two years by Exxon International and Exxon Research and Engineering at a cost of over a half million dollars. The site, computer and interfaces, and the necessary operations expertise are TNO's contribution to the facility.