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Marine Log

March 28, 2007

Bourbon invests in training

Besides ordering 110 vessels for its offshore services fleet, Paris-based Bourbon is in the process of doubling its workforce. It will recruit over 4,000 seamen by 2010, half of them officers.

That creates a training challenge.

Two simulators, one in France and the other in the Philippines, will be used by Bourbon to train captains, chief engineers and bridge officers in all maneuvers and exercises.

The simulators have been developed by Bourbon in collaboration with the Offshore Simulator Center in Aalesund, Norway,

Featuring a recreation of a real bridge and realistic visual supports, this simulator can reproduce an almost real situation on both visual and sensory levels.

The simulator systems allow "full mission" training, where crew members on deck and operators may engage in the simulation in addition to the navigators and other bridge crew such as winch operators.

Bourbon is using this technology and developing special training programs in anchor handling operations on tug supply vessels (AHTS).

The two simulators will facilitate standardized training programs worldwide for all Bourbon crews in a context in which the fleet is increasingly standardized thanks to a newbuilding expansion featuring long series of identical vessels.

"These simulators are a major innovation," stresses Thierry Buzulier, Bourbon Human Resources Manager. "They will allow our officers, after an initial training period at sea, to master Bourbon operational standards onshore, in addition to the safety training course. The Offshore training centers which will be based, among other components, on these two simulators, will very rapidly become essential, not only for new employees, but also with a view to the promotion of officers already in service."

After initiating in Marseilles, in 2004, in partnership with local and national institutions, the first training center for Dynamic Positioning accessible to all shipbuilders and seamen, Bourbon is now creating the Bourbon-Hydro Offshore Oil Training Center. This training center, dedicated to offshore oil and gas marine services, will be fully operational by the end of 2007 and will include, in addition to the existing programs, an anchor-handling operations simulator for AHTS specialized vessels.

In 2008, an identical system will be developed in Manila in the Philippines. This center will give Bourbon a centralized and standard training policy in its recruitment and operational zones in Asia.

Three Bourbon "school-vessels" will accelerate training in the operating zones of West Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Certified by the Nautical Institute, they will be true mobile training centers that give Bourbon maximum flexibility in meeting training needs in these high growth zones.

Bourbon is also working to set up partnerships with local training centers, such with the private GEPMARE marine training school as in Cameroon, which is supported by Bourbon.

Generally, in the regions where Bourbon operates, a policy of recruitment and training adapted to the local context is studied, set up and put in place. In the absence of certified local structures, other facilities are used. Training for Angolan officers is, for example, organized in the best schools in South Africa and Nigerian officers can receive training in dynamic positioning in Singapore.

"Our goal is to offer the most demanding customers, everywhere in the world, excellent services on a full range of new-generation vessels. To achieve this, and in line with the Horizon 2010 strategic plan, recruitment and training will comply with Bourbon's highest standards of quality and excellence," says Christian Lefevre, Bourbon Chief Operating Officer and Deputy CEO of the Offshore Division.