A Need for Speed? : The view on DP Seatime Reduction Courses
Abstract: The use of dynamic positioning (DP) systems onboard vessels today is spreading to non offshore related areas such as heavy lift carriers, luxury yachts and cruise liners etc. As this technology spreads, the demand for skilled DP personnel should increase. In order to get certified, the training scheme for DP operators (DPOs) ends with 180 days of supervised DP watchkeeping experience offshore. A way to reduce the required 180 days is to attend a DP seatime reduction course. The aim of this study was to get the DP industry’s view on seatime reduction courses and also explore if there a need for speed to get certified DPOs on the market. Parties included were the Nautical Institute, International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA), one oil company, six offshore shipping companies, accredited DP centres and DPOs across the world. The results showed that although the participants in this study are aware of seatime reduction courses few companies use them regularly, but those who do express satisfaction. The DP industry’s view on seatime reduction courses is positive, however somewhat unclear. Many feel simulator courses in general are good since they can give operators experiences that will take years to achieve onboard. If they should replace seatime gained offshore was doubtful. However, the study showed that seatime reduction courses are needed, especially for trainees working onboard vessels that only occasionally use DP. It has also been recognized that trainee DPOs have a hard time obtaining the required seatime in order to apply for their DPO certificate. This indicates that even though shipping companies in this study do employ trainees, this is not done to the necessary extent. There was also expressed a certain desire to improve the DP training scheme of today in order to achieve a higher quality among DPOs. The study shows there is a need for speed to get more DPOs on the market, but not to the detriment of quality. It is advised that studies are made on DP training quality, given the importance to maintain and even raise the level of competency among DPOs.
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