Student Life

TAFE students sailing the sea in simulator

By Zaid Siddiqui @newsbyzaid

TAFE NSW students studying Maritime Operations are navigating the seas in a maritime simulator, at the Marcus Clarke Building on level seven in Sydney’s Railway Square.

Maritime Operation courses are offered at different levels such as Certificate Two, Certificate Three, Certificate Four and Diploma level.

The students use it for training purposes, the simulator works like any other game.

“You know you have games that move right?, exactly the same system, the only thing is that this is on a bigger scale, it’s got sound everything that you would have on a PlayStation exactly that,” said Mario Murzello, the Head Teacher for Aviation, Maritime Operations and Marine Engineering .

“Here you’ve got ships, the vessels, they have to develop ports exactly as it is, so they use different programs and programming to do different things,” said Murzello.

Murzello is experienced in Maritime Operations and has an Advanced Diploma and has a Master One Certificate – which means he has the licence to captain a ship of any size anywhere in the world and any type of vessel.

He has been on big ships all his life and spent 17-18 years of his life out at sea, the biggest ship he has been on was 298 meters in length.

The simulator, which has been running since 2011, is powered by different programing such as LIDAR and 3D animation.

Students regularly use the simulator for training so they can handle different sizes of vessels.

“So, Certificate Two is up to 12 metres, Certificate Three in maritime operations is to handle a vessel up to 24 metres, Certificate Four is up to 35 metres in length and a Diploma is up to 500 gross tones” said Murzello.

The simulator in action. Video: Zaid Siddiqui

Once the students get their licenses/qualifications they need to come again to do a revalidation course every five years, bridge resource management, bridge team management, collision avoidance and search rescue courses.

The simulator asks students to solve various scenarios.

“So, we put a man in the water, and they got to find him in thick fog,” Murzello said. “We can do anything in the simulator, you can have rain, you can have fog, I can put a man in the water, I can create an engine room alarm, I can create a pump failure.

“The reason why we use a simulator is you can create different scenarios, so while they’re navigating, I suddenly put on an alarm, it’s a pump failure, they have to turn to that as well as look out, while there turning to the pump the guys calls out listen you got to slow down, now they got to slow down, now while there slowing down there is a fire in the engine.

“Now they have a third scenario come up, how do you deal with all these things, you’re concentrating on that, then you create an emergency alarm.”

The different scenarios prepare students for real-life emergencies.

“The trick is that we do different things at different stages to see their situation awareness and how they can handle pressure,” he said. “Because you can never be prepared for this out at sea, and you cannot make a mistake out at sea because you can lose your license.

“So, we use the simulator to simulate real-life experiences that could happen, if it happens what they do here will come back in a flashback so we do it so they can be prepared for it when and if it happens.”

The maritime simulator also has the ability to turn the lights on and off for day and night mode.

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