The Liberian Registry is implementing remote Annual Safety Inspections (ASI) onboard its ships as a direct response to the major restrictions faced by dispatching inspectors, under the current health guidelines and restrictions around the globe.
KVH is helping seafarers to remain connected during the COVID-19 outbreak. Image courtesy of KVH.
With the current COVID-19 situation, KVH Industries has confirmed to us that the company is working around the clock to support the connectivity needs of the thousands of vessels and seafarers worldwide that rely on KVH VSAT services.
GNS has launched VFI Plus, a new extension to its Voyager FLEET INSIGHT (VFI) web service and, at the same time, announced that it will be making the service available free of charge during the COVID-19 pandemic to support shipping companies with remote-working or office-based teams with increased demands for fast access to up-to-date information.
By Ronald Spithout, president, Inmarsat Maritime.
Inmarsat Maritime president Ronald Spithout says providing crews with enhanced levels of connectivity and support is critical at this unprecedented time, and offers an insight into the work already underway with welfare organisations to assist seafarers in need.
As Stress Awareness month in April coincides with a global pandemic, maritime software provider Hanseaticsoft is urging shipping companies to tackle stress and depression amongst seafarers by ensuring connectivity at sea.
VIKING Safety Academy has addressed a fast-emerging seafarer training issue brought by coronavirus by delivering an e-learning tool that can keep seafarers STCW-compliant until restrictions on movement and social interactions come to an end.
With many countries in lockdown, face to face seafarer training is also being suspended and some flag administrations have responded by granting automatic three-month extensions to the STCW Certificates seafarers must update every five years. However, VIKING Safety Academy has designed a unique training set-up so that seafarers can undergo training for a full certificate renewal even while the crisis persists.
VIKING Safety Academy has worked with Estonia’s Reval Safety Training to offer STCW refresher training on an e-learning basis for Estonian seafarers. The training set-up includes: Personal Survival Techniques, Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting, Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats, Fast Rescue Boats and Advanced Fire Fighting.
On March 12, Estonia’s Maritime Administration informed the EU that e-learning covering the theoretical part of STCW training would be sufficient to support a certificate extension for Estonian seafarers valid for up to six months.
“Seafarers can now use e-learning to train and renew certificates during these extraordinary times and maintain proof of competence,” said Camilla Runge Nissen, VIKING safety academy product manager, training. “They can secure a longer six months extension and can make good use of the time getting ahead in the compliance process.”
Once the seafarer has completed the e-learning course, whether onboard or at home, he/she is given a provisional STCW certificate extension. Should conditions allow, seafarers can visit a Reval Safety Training center during the six-month period for classroom/practical training and secure a five-year Certificate of Proficiency, or complete once the crisis passes.
While the STCW certificates extension based on e-learning is only available to Estonian residents today, the course could easily be extended to other flag states. “All elements of the temporary package have been approved by the Danish Maritime Authority (DMA), we are already talking to other flag states and we can quickly roll this out.”
The Norwegian Maritime Authority recently announced that it will allow seafarers onboard Norwegian vessels to join vessels until July 1st this year, even if they have only completed the theoretical relevant parts of STCW. “Under this guidance, e-learning is part of the picture, demonstrating that the set-up developed for Estonia can be very useful elsewhere.”
Benny Carlsen, VIKING senior vice president, global sales and marketing said that the new e-learning initiative aligns closely with group efforts to keep seafarers and owners compliant, safe, and as hassle and worry free as possible. “In extraordinary times, we need proactive and digitally-powered solutions to ensure that a training headache does not become a lasting issue.”
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