Advanced tug simulators have become an important tool for training tug masters and senior officers in SVITZER. Across the world, one stationary and five portable full-mission simulators help improve safety, optimise manoeuvring skills and improve collaboration with pilots and Customers.

“I would never do this on a real tug! But the worst thing that can happen here is that the computer crashes.” The words come from Chief Officer Dan Motzfeldt. He and Chief Officer René Malmstrøm are spending two days in the tug simulator at the SVITZER premises in Gothenburg. Even though they are both experienced navigators, they welcome this chance to try out new techniques, training towing opertions, and taking the virtual tug to its limits. 

“It is a unique chance to practice more complicated operations such as bow-tobow operations without the risk of damages,” René Malmstrøm points out, adding that in addition to the simulator training, another great benefit of the course is the help and inspiration they receive from Training Master, Captain Börje Jensen.

When it comes to tug handling, Börje Jensen knows what he is talking about. He has more than 42 years of tugboat experience, and he enjoys sharing his knowledge and skills with his Colleagues. Today, he is responsible for the training of all new SVITZER tug masters in Scandinavia. “Before, a trainee master would be onboard a tug for a year. With the use of simulators we have been able to cut off some sixmonths of training while at the same time achieving a higher training standard,” says Börje Jensen.

The tug simulator also comes into use when SVITZER Scandinavia hires new tug masters. After the initial recruitment interviews, Börje Jensen takes the candidate to the simulator. After a short while he has a precise picture of the candidate’s professional skills. 

The simulators feature controls and instrumentation from both the SVITZER ASD and Voith Schneider tugs. The software comprises advanced hydrodynamic mathematical models based on extensive model tests and sea trials. It is possible to implement new ship and tug designs as well as new ports and terminal layouts. This makes the simulators applicable anywhere in the world. 

As soon as data and drawings for new port facilities become available, they can be fed into the simulator. Thus, tug masters can start to acquaint themselves with new port facilities even before they actually exist. This also makes the tug simulators an interesting option for our Customers: On several occasions SVITZER has used the simulators to help port authorities and energy companies dimension new mooring constructions and operating areas to improve a project’s feasibility and overall safety.

“Safety is always at the top of the agenda, and here the simulators are an important asset,” says Marine Manager, Christer Green and continues: “You can be master and have all the experience in the world but you can still learn. There are critical situations that hopefully none of our tugs will ever be involved in. Here they can learn what to do and find out how they react if they should find themselves in such circumstances.” 

Besides being an efficient tool for training new as well as experienced masters, the simulators help improve collaboration with pilots. Once a year SVITZER Scandinavia gathers all the pilots for a combined meeting and training session. At these meetings the pilots learn about new vessel types, go through procedures and meet with the tug masters in an informal manner. 

“Our annual meetings and other training sessions with SVITZER give us valuable insights into towing operations and tug handling and, just as important, contribute to the communication between masters and pilots,” says Master Pilot Steen Mölleryd and concludes: “Our job is all about safety, so here we are on common ground with SVITZER.”  

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SVITZER tug simulators have been developed in close cooperation with the Danish company Force Technology that specialises in ship simulators. At present the tug simulators are placed in:
United Kingdom
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