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First in-house heavy lift operator training courses completed

The next level in training personnel

In August, BigLift and Spliethoff introduced a DNV-GL certified, in-house training course for crane handling and heavy lift operations. For the best hands-on experience, a new, tailor-made ship’s crane and ballast simulator was developed to train the officers and crew of the combined fleet. The first course members have proudly received their ‘Heavy Lift Operator Training Course’ certificate in Amsterdam.

Having skilled personnel is crucial in achieving successful loading and discharge operations. Clients, especially in the offshore industry, often request proof that ships’ crane drivers are capable of handling the ship’s cranes when lifting their precious cargoes. In addition, there is sometimes a need to simulate complicated lifts beforehand to ensure that all the critical points have been checked and evaluated.

Good training is essential in today’s heavy lift and shipping industry. Increasingly, on the job training is replaced by official training courses, externally or internally. Offshore crane driver certificates can be obtained through various training institutes, but there is no such thing as an official ”ship’s crane driver certificate” or a “heavy lift operator certificate”. To fill this gap, BigLift and Spliethoff decided to study the possibilities of developing a training programme and build a crane simulator as a core instrument to train their officers and crew in handling crane and heavy lift operations on the various ship types.

Ships’ crane and ballast simulator
The Maritime Research Institute Netherlands (MARIN) was contracted in July 2014 to develop a ship’s crane and ballast simulator. All the efforts resulted in an innovative simulator that not only simulates the ship’s crane operation, but – based on the results of the OBELICS Joint Industry Project – also the ballast operation required when handling a heavy lift. Additionally, meteorological conditions can be simulated by introducing wind, sea and swell from several directions and at various intensities.

As the objective is to train all crew in the fleet, a mobile setup was chosen. This enables BigLift to train crew members and officers in the local offices of the Spliethoff Group abroad.

DNV-GL certified training course
As important as the state-of-the-art crane and ballast simulator is a certified training programme covering issues such as crane operation, communication and ballasting the vessel to ensure a safe loading or discharging operation. DNV-GL, the world’s leading classification society and a recognised advisor for the maritime industry, was approached to certify the learning programme. With its assistance the

programme was designed in compliance with DNVGL-ST-0008 Learning programs. International standards for crane operators, banksman and communication were studied. From that basis the internal training objectives were identified and incorporated into two training courses.

The Ships Crane Operator Course (2 days) covers the actual operation of the cranes and banksman requirements for a single and small tandem lift. The Heavy Lift Operator Training Course (4 days) covers all aspects of the crane operator training and, additionally, complicated tandem lifts, ballast operations during a heavy lift, ship stability during lifting and rigging information.

After checking and approving the applicable documentation, DNV-GL witnessed part of the training course which resulted in its approval, ensuring high quality in-house training.

Ruud de Bruin of DNV-GL stated: “The way in which BigLift and Spliethoff were able to develop a useful training tool to raise and maintain the standard of internal competences for the use of cranes on board is praiseworthy. It shows vision on development of competences reaching further than only STCW compliance.”

With the introduction of the ships’ crane and ballast simulator, BigLift and Spliethoff have clearly set a unique standard for the industry unmatched by any other shipping company.

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