Simwave and EYOS Expeditions joined forces to create a Polar Code and Expedition Operations course that addresses the urgent need for polar-experienced bridge officers.

Simwave is a leading maritime simulator training expert and EYOS Expeditions is a seasoned provider of private vessel expeditions.

Meets requirements for Polar Code basic and advanced training

The new curriculum satisfies ice navigation training for nautical officers wishing to meet the requirements of IMO’s International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code) basic and advanced training.

Participants will be able to gain the skills required, including proficiency and competence in safely planning, navigating and monitoring, and international/local regulations, covering the STCW Code and IMO model courses. The course will take place at Simwave’s facilities outside Rotterdam.

Best-practice guidelines

‘With the increase in expedition travel over the last decade, we have been focusing our attention on the polar regions,’ Simwave CEO & Founder Marcel Kind said. ‘To protect the environment, the vessel and its crew, we need to raise the bar and create best-practice guidelines. Customized training is an essential part in this and together with EYOS we were able to create a new standard in polar water operations.’

‘We set out to create something different with this course,’ EYOS Expeditions CEO Ben Lyons added. ‘We didn’t want to just have a “tick the box” exercise with scenarios that expedition ship officers would never experience or learn anything from. Throughout, we’ve put an emphasis on practical topics and realistic simulator learning combined with actual expedition operations.’

Actual passages and landscapes in Antarctica, Svalbard, Canadian Arctic

As an example, Simwave’s team modeled actual passages and landscapes that expedition ship officers are certain to navigate, like Antarctica’s Lemaire Channel, Paradise Bay, Port Lockroy and Palmer Station, along with Svalbard’s fjords and the Canadian Arctic, including Bellot Strait. This is one of the first times Antarctica has been developed in a simulator exercise, and that was combined with EYOS’s insight into expedition operations.

While receiving basic and advanced ice navigation training through a combination of presentations, tabletop exercises and in-depth scenarios using Simwave’s 360-degree bridge simulator, with floor projection and docking stations, participants will simulate conduct operations with small boats (Zodiacs and tenders) and control their vessel near sensitive wildlife (polar bears and whales) in line with International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators and Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators guidelines. They will interact with an expedition leader and conduct emergency scenarios with a range of authentic weather conditions.

Need for a new approach

‘We are seeing unprecedented growth in the expedition cruise sector, combined with a desire for vessels to visit remote and harsh polar waters. It used to be that junior officers learned by osmosis from long-serving captains with decades of experience,’ Lyons, a captain, noted.

‘Today, there is so much demand in the cruise sector for expedition bridge officers and so many more regulatory and environmental considerations than ever before that there needs to be a new approach to training,’ he continued. ‘This course will just as much prepare an officer for ice navigation as it will for the practicalities of expedition ship operations.’

The Polar Code and Expedition Operations course is one of many available to cruise ship officers at Simwave, including bridge resource management and ship handling. Custom models for specific ships can be built on request and used in the simulator.