By Tom Peters

Nova Scotia Community College’s Nautical Institute at the Strait Area Campus, Port Hawkesbury, has enhanced its ability to train and develop world-class mariners.

The Institute, which has been training mariners for over 145 years, recently installed a new Kongsberg digital navigation simulator and also acquired a new marine voltage simulator. The new equipment, valued at approximately $1.2 million, will, in addition to other functions, address the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) new Polar Code, now in effect, and IMO’s new requirements for high voltage training. Funding came from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the N.S. government, and the College.

Capt. Vivek Saxena, the Institute’s Academic Chair, said under the new Polar Code, both senior and junior navigation officers on vessels transiting Polar regions will be required to have this training as of July 1, 2018. The Institute, Transport Canada and other marine schools that are members of the Canadian Association of Marine Training Institutions (CAMTI), are developing a program to meet the new IMO requirements.

“This new software gives us the capability to train these officers going into the Polar region. There will be two levels of training, one operational for junior officers and a management level for senior officers,” said Capt. Saxena. The ice navigation training for ships’ officers will add extra safety for both vessels and the environment.

The new navigation digital simulator is state-of-the-art and “much better to meet the needs of the industry,” said Capt. Saxena. “Previously we had an analog system but now we are digital and that is where the industry going” and the new simulator “is one of the best in the world,” he added. The simulator can simulate any size vessel and project on its large screens ports around the world plus provide technical data on those ports and a multitude of weather conditions.

The institute’s new high voltage simulator will meet a new IMO training requirement for marine engineers and electro-technical officers who work on vessels that utilize voltages in excess of 1,000 Volts. Capt. Saxena said a new program for high voltage training is being developed with other marine institutions and will hopefully be launched early this year. A new course will need Transport Canada approval before implementation.

NSCC President Don Bureaux said, “The new, high voltage simulator is an important addition to our on-site, hands-on approach to learning which allows our cadets and industry partners to access national and international standard training.”

The Institute attracts marine students from across Canada and around the world. All marine courses are both Transport Canada approved and meet IMO requirements.