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LNG Industry,

Sergey Tarasov and Vittorio Esposito, Wärtsilä Voyage Solutions, Finland, and Gert Bunt, CSMART, the Netherlands, review a new approach to the development of LNG fuel system simulators and customer experience of their usage.

The progress of LNG-fuelled ships and fuel supply infrastructure has resulted in growing demand for simulators to train personnel. In the area of LNG fuel systems, the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) includes mandatory requirements for the training and certification of seafarers serving on board ships subject to the IGF Code.

All LNG fuel systems are designed according to the IGF Code and are applicable to various types of ships (containerships, ferries, tugs, etc.), except LNG carriers, which are regulated by the IGC Code. The principles of the behaviour of LNG fuel are completely different compared to those of other liquid fuels. Understanding and analysing the thermodynamics within the system is crucial to protecting the safety of the personnel, the vessel and the environment. As a hands-on tool, a simulator is the most efficient way to teach people the correct behaviour in all of the different situations that might occur on a real ship. Another factor that is affecting the maritime simulator market in recent years is the increasing complexity of maritime technologies. To operate the complicated equipment in a safe and efficient manner, ship crews need type-specific training, as the necessary addition to the STCW Code training, which is based on generic principles. Due to the high level of difficulty in operating the modern systems, much more specific training is required in order to ensure safe operations. For the above reasons, operations including virtual bunkering simulation, troubleshooting and maintenance, are paramount in order to carry out training in the most efficient way. Also, simulator models of the manufacturer’s specific LNG systems can serve as a tool for case studies, allowing the user to determine the best practices and identify potential operational hazards without compromising safety. In addition to training centres, simulators can also be installed directly onboard a ship.

Another request coming from the industry is for the incorporation of simulators directly into the scope of supply of the LNG system before the actual product is delivered. This would allow crews to be fully trained before they begin operating the real system. There is a growing need for an industry-specific simulator, consisting of an LNG fuel system model with the automation and auxiliary systems. The scope of the simulation must include LNG bunkering via ship/truck/shore to ship interfaces, LNG storage and consumption by the ship’s engine. This particular model could be used either for familiarisation compliant with the IGF Code, or for the type-specific training of the system’s operators. Also, an LNG fuel system model can be easily integrated into the engine room simulator of an LNG-fuelled vessel.

Ready to sail

The Wärtsilä TechSim 5000 is a common platform for different technological simulators related to engine room, liquid cargo handling and even cargo crane operations. LNG fuel system simulators are the latest contribution to this platform. In 2018, Wärtsilä Voyage Solutions developed a model of the LNG system installed on board the new XL-Class cruise ship, exclusively for Carnival Corp. for their simulation facility based in Almere, the Netherlands.

The Arison Maritime Center, home of the Center for Simulator Maritime Training Academy (CSMART Academy) – the state-of-the-art training facility for Carnival Corp. – provides the company’s nearly 7000 deck and technical officers with safety and maritime training.

This is an abridged version of an article that was originally published in the July 2019 issue of LNG Industry. The full version can be read here.

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