The project is expected to be implemented through 2017 in four phases. The first phase will include a Class-A Full-Mission Bridge simulator and a simulation radar classroom for 16 students, both of which are certified for US Coast Guard approved courses.
These simulators are expected to be up and running by January 2014. Additional phases include a tug boat simulator, crane simulator, and eventually an engine room simulator.
The terms of the contract call for The Maritime Academy of Toledo to commit approximately $100,000 to launch the project, with the remainder being financed over ten years with a subscription model for the simulators.
The Academy’s current navigation, radar, and engine room simulators were over 20 years old when they were damaged in October 2012 as the result of a power fault from an underground transformer explosion.
“For more than eight months we searched for a company suited and willing to help us replace the current simulators, at a cost we could afford while we wait for our insurance claim to be paid,” said Renee Marazon, president of the Maritime Academy of Toledo.
“We negotiated with several companies who simply wanted too much money. VSTEP was able to provide us with the highest standard of simulation, but at an affordable price.”
The project was discussed with VSTEP’s NAUTIS Maritime Simulation Division in late July and VSTEP staff made a site visit to determine the suitability of the Maritime Academy campus to serve as a demonstration centre. The Dutch manufacturer says that within two months a partnership was forged.
“Toledo was a perfect fit for VSTEP as a NAUTIS Simulation Centre. Toledo is 45 minutes from an international airport and is centrally located on the Great Lakes. Once the new simulators are installed, VSTEP will use Toledo as a technology demonstration centre for its customers in the region,” said Ms Marazon.
“Our new VSTEP simulators will allow not only our cadets to get the best training possible, but also allow us to expand our professional mariner training courses. This is just another step in making Toledo the key centre for maritime training on the Great Lakes.”
“If you look at what it would have cost to purchase and install all these simulators, plus licensing and other fees, we would be looking at upwards of one million dollars. However VSTEP worked with The Maritime Academy to make this much more affordable over the ten-year period.”