2017 Nov 24

LNG cruise ships herald new era of training

As cruise ships turn to LNG fuel, a new type of training is emerging. Those involved in building Carnival’s LNG-fuelled Costa Smeralda explain what such training will entail.

Training crew to handle LNG has been given momentum by Carnival’s decision to use LNG as a fuel for seven cruise ships on its orderbook, kicking off with Costa Cruises’ Costa Smeralda, which is being built by Meyer Turku (see pages 48-50).

Carnival Corp is developing LNG-related safety training at its state-of-the-art training facility – the Center for Simulator Maritime Training (CSMART) Academy at Arison Maritime Center, located in Almere, the Netherlands. Carnival has partnered with Meyer Werft and MaK Caterpillar to develop ship-specific training that will ensure that all crew are fully ready when these vessels are delivered.

Carnival has a partnership with Shell, which allows crew to get hands-on LNG experience where necessary and for them to witness first-hand operations such as LNG bunkering and related LNG activities.

Carnival Corp senior vice president of maritime affairs Tom Strang said that, since this is a new technology, “we have to train and invest in people, bring in new seafarers and train them at our CSMART academy and build simulators.”

Also heavily involved in LNG passenger ship training is Italian class society RINA, which is classing AIDAnova, Costa Smeralda and the other LNG newbuilds ordered by Carnival. RINA Services chief operating officer for Europe, Middle East and Africa Massimo Volta told Passenger Ship Technology “The handling of LNG requires specific techniques and training to deal with temperature, pressure and specific equipment involved, especially for bunkering.”

He said that RINA offers two different training levels, starting with a basic level and moving to a highly specialised course, and is ready to be involved in LNG training for both Carnival and Meyer Turku.

Basic training will ensure that crew not directly involved with the LNG – such as a chef – are aware that LNG is onboard, Mr Volta said. It covers awareness that LNG is onboard and what to do in an emergency situation involving LNG, including if it comes into contact with someone.

RINA’s specialised training is aimed at crew directly involved with LNG, such as the chief engineer. Mr Volta believes that a big impact of using LNG on passenger ships is that it will lead to a new role – an ‘LNG officer’ with specific skills “who can be the link between LNG [technology] and the passenger ship.”

He said that this role would need very specific training “that goes far beyond that required by other crew not on that level.” This is something that RINA has been working on and can offer to passenger ship operators.

Mr Volta singled out the kind of person such training would suit: “Someone with a background in gas carriers, so would have experience of LNG but would need training on using LNG in a passenger ship environment, or a crew member with a cruise or ferry background who would need training on using LNG.”

RINA has also set up a software tool within its competence management training that will help shipowners monitor crews’ level of skills with LNG and set improvement targets.

Simulators have a significant role all levels and types of RINA’s LNG training. They have been used for many years, Mr Volta pointed out, so “the novelty is not the fact that a simulator is being used, but that it is being used within passenger ship LNG technology for the first time.”

Indeed, they are “crucial”, he said. “All of the software and hardware is a very good replica of the bridge and engineroom and will really allow the person to concentrate on what to do with LNG problems for example, as they are not in danger. Then, in a real situation, this will enable them to be relaxed enough to make the right decisions.”

Mr Volta summed up by saying that an LNG-operated passenger ship’s success “very much relies on the crew’s ability crew to run the ship appropriately. The size and complications of this technology means that trained people are needed to make it a success.”

You will need an ‘LNG officer’ with specific skills “who can be the link between LNG [technology] and the passenger ship.” Massimo Volta (RINA)

CSMART aims to mirror aviation industry

Transas has been heavily involved with Carnival's CSMART Academy by building simulators to be used at the centre.

Transas chief executive Frank Coles described the academy as “taking training to a new level”.

It has provided four full-size mission bridges and four full size engine rooms as well as full scale models within the simulator of some of the cruise ships in Carnival’s fleet.

Explaining how this training centre stands out, Mr Coles told Passenger Ship Technology “Carnival’s approach is similar to that of the aviation industry in that it believes all officers should go through training on a simulator at least once a year.”

He said that Carnival executives spent time studying how aviation training was carried out and decided that they wanted a similar model, so a lot of emphasis is put on simulators.

“The key thing is that the bridge and engineroom need to be connected through the simulators – there needs to be communication between the engineroom and deck officers,” Mr Coles explained. A key component of this is recording the training and playing it back to the bridge and engineroom officers afterwards.

He said that the next step is to connect Carnival’s Fleet Operations Centre in Hamburg with CSMART. This will support training for disaster control and for any operational reruns needed – “the simulators can be used as a decision-support tool within these areas,” Mr Coles said.


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