In response to customers’ requests for safe and efficient training of crews during ongoing global travel restrictions, ABB Marine & Ports has developed a new blended learning program for its Azipod propulsion system.
The new program combines traditional classroom training with instructor-led lessons via conference call, assignments and e-learning available on the ABB Marine Academy digital learning platform; remote simulator training developed with support from the Aboa Mare Maritime Academy and Training Center in Turku, Finland.
ABB Marine Academy training has been designed so that users of ABB solutions including electric systems and Azipod propulsion achieve the highest standards in operational performance through remote learning.
“Our customers require Azipod propulsion training before crew go onboard to ensure competence and that equipment is used most efficiently, and fully maintained during longer voyages where ships cannot be easily reached by engineers,” said Jimi Lipponen, Manager, Global Marine Academy, ABB Marine & Ports. “As travel restrictions persist, we are sure owners, operators and ship managers will recognize the value of time-efficient training that allows crews to learn in safety and comfort.”
First to complete the blended learning program was the crew for French cruise line Ponant’s new polar exploration ship, Le Commandant Charcot. The hybrid-electric, LNG fueled vessel is fitted with two Azipods and is expected to enter service later this year as Ponant gears up for a return to normal cruising operations with comprehensive procedures in place to address COVID-19 risks.
The ABB Marine Academy training solution was delivered to the vessel’s crew members as they sat out quarantining hours in a Finnish hotel between two mandatory COVID-19 tests. The blended learning program met Ponant’s requirement for relevant deck and engineer officers to be fully trained for Azipod propulsor duties on board a ship destined for polar operations.
Training for the crew was delivered under a detailed control and precautionary plan, in line with all health and safety guidance, instructions and recommendations available at the time, and in this case involving a 72-hour quarantine period between tests. All hotel rooms used were subject to a deep clean before guest arrival, as were simulators, with all trainees issued with masks and instructions covering hygiene, social distancing and hotel policy.
“For Ponant, choosing the blended learning approach meant that deck officers and engineers completed parts of their essential training despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, in the safety and comfort of a hotel room,” said Mathieu Petiteau, PONANT Newbuilding Director.
Initially developed for icegoing ships including commercial tonnage, the new ABB Marine Academy Blended Learning program will be rolled out across the cruise and other vessel sectors later this year.