Virtual Reality Could be the Future of Arctic Navigation Training

Published Jul 1, 2018 10:40 PM by Bjarne Rasmussen

Denmark's Ministry of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs has published an Executive Order describing the training and qualification requirements for masters, officers and other personnel who are part of the guard on the bridge for ships operating in polar areas. The Danish Executive Order entered into force on July 1, 2018.

These sections of the Executive Order are of particular note:

Course providers and requirements for instructors qualifications

§ 6. In order to offer education and issue of qualifications, the course provider and the education programs pursuant to sections 3 and 4 must be approved by the Danish Maritime Authority's Executive Order on Approval and Quality Assurance, etc. of maritime education.

§ 7. Course providers must ensure that the instructors have the necessary qualifications to administer the courses stated. This includes both professional qualifications and qualifications to conduct instruction and education.

§ 8. Course providers shall, on the basis of the education objectives listed in Annexes 1 and 2, determine the more detailed planning, including duration, taking account of the participants' prerequisites.

§ 9. The education and tests may be organized using digital media

(Note: the section is not an official translation from Danish to English.)

With regard to the use of digital media, I am now excited about how course providers could potentially utilize virtual reality (VR) technology during STCW course navigating exercises in ice-filled polar waters.

I have many years of practical experience with navigating in polar waters, and in recent years I have had a vision of making VR 360 recordings on board a ship during navigating in ice-filled polar waters. This could be used by instructors teaching students navigating in ice-filled polar waters.

Situations like the film on being trapped in Arctic pack ice above and this article from The Maritime Executive on how weather changes quickly in the Arctic would be very useful in VR Arctic navigation training exercises.

So simple - yet with a potentially big effect on safety for all on board in real life.

The Executive Order in the Danish version can be read here.

Bjarne Rasmussen is a self-made marine historian.

The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.