K-Pos DP Simulator Basic Trainers. Image: Kongsberg

As gCaptain first reported in August, American Maritime Officers’ (AMO) union training facility, STAR Center, has announced plans expand its simulation training programs to include Dynamic Positioning training, furthering the maritime union’s sphere of influence within the Gulf of Mexico drilling industry.

Today, AMO has revealed some more details about the program, including its launch date of March 2012, in addition to enrollment requirements and the selection process.

AMO says that STAR Center will offer Basic (Induction) and Advanced (Simulator) DP courses that will satisfy classroom requirements for full Nautical Institute DP Operator certification and adds that its officers will have the ability to sail aboard AMO-contracted vessels with full DP classification to earn the required sea time for certification.

“The demand is expanding rapidly for officers with DP certification and unlimited licenses that include the STCW Officer in Charge endorsement,” said AMO National President Tom Bethel. “With the premier training available at STAR Center, AMO is poised to be a leading source in DP markets facing a growing shortage and a deepening need.”

For the program, STAR Center teamed up with Kongsberg Maritime Simulation to acquire a dual-redundant Advanced K-Pos DP trainer, in addition to six Basic K-Pos trainers.

The advanced trainer includes an instructor station and bridge simulator based on the Kongsberg K-POS DP22, a dual redundant DP system designed for all DP applications with a full range of functionality. The system is designed to satisfy class notations equivalent to DP Class 2, including dual redundancy, no single-point failure; failure detection; fault isolation; switchover to hot standby; and comparison of sensor data between computers.

Brian Long, Director of STAR Center in Dania Beach, FL, previously praised their choice to go with Kongsberg systems, as the company “dominates the industry in the Gulf of Mexico”.

In addition to the Basic and Advanced DP systems, STAR Center will also receive four DP Models, three of which will be twinned with three Polaris “ownship” models for use on STAR’s existing Full Mission bridge. DP models include a supply vessel, a semi-submersible, a tanker and a drill ship.

Of course, AMO’s move into the Gulf has not come without harsh criticism from current Gulf workers for fear of driving down wages.

AMO insists that the program is primarily geared to provide flexible manning options for operating companies under existing contracts with AMO and to provide an array of options for vessel managers looking for individual officers to fill key positions or an entire complement of skilled and certified officers.  One of AMO’s manning strategies includes the hiring of officers through a partnership with PRONAV Offshore Services, seeking to fill vacancies for senior officers looking to sail aboard drill ships.

AMO says that initial plans for the program call for four basic DP courses and four advanced DP courses at STAR Center in 2012, and additional courses will be scheduled based on the needs of AMO members and contracted operating companies.

Additional details about AMO’s DP training parameters and requirements can be found HERE.

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