MAAP hosts successful 8th International Conference on Engine Room Simulators -the ICERS 8

The Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific (MAAP) in cooperation with the International Maritime Lecturers’ Association (IMLA) recently hosted 8th International Conference on Engine Simulators (ICERS-8) last November 5-9 at the Sheraton Park Hotel Manila.

Recognized as the prime producer of competent seafarer’s to the global shipping fleet, the Philippines is primarily responsible for the growing popularity of maritime training simulators in the Asia-pacific region, thus the holding of ICERS-8 was deemed both necessary and timely by the organizers.

As Per Branstad, Chairman of the User’s Conference Committee, aptly said, “There are more challenges in the region due to the increasing number of seafarers. For Norwegian flag vessels alone, there are already 18,000 seamen from the Philippines”.

PRC Commission Leonor Rosero, guest of honor for the said occasion, acknowledged the importance of simulator training for a strong quality education and proper formation and training of our Filipino marine officers and ratings.

ICERS 8 counted an unprecendented number of attendees attended by 71 delegates from the USA, Singapore, Japan, Germany, USSR, Myanmar, India, Slovenia, Denmark, China, Fiji, Netherlands, Norway, Kuwait, South Africa, Sweden, United Kingdom and Canada. Of the 71 participants, 19 are Filipinos from various institutions.

The International Conference on Engine Room Simulators is an inter-active global forum that aims to promote an exchange of knowledge, experience, views, research results and the identification of common problems with respect to the specification, design and use of engine room simulators among participants from different countries representing their respective agencies and institutions. Previous conferences were held in Nantes, France (1993), Rimouski, Canada (1995), Svendborg, Denmark (1997), Vallejo, USA (1999), Singapore (2001 ), Wuhan, PR. China (2004) and recently in Portoroz, Slovenija (2005).

The conference was deemed a milestone in the history of maritime engine room simulator training in a global perspective, as this aimed at serving as a platform for sharing strategies and experiences in the development of learning objectives and the design of scenarios and assessment in engine room simulators for education and training of seafarers. This conference also hopes to promote the objectives of the STCW 95 in educating competent seafarers who satisfy existing international standards.

The major theme for ICERS 8 is “The Development and Support of Learning Objectives”. To better prepare the participants, first call for papers was released last June 2007 to prospective presenters involved in the use of engine room simulators as a tool for realizing the effective development and upgrading of the competency level of students and trainees, respectively, in the field of Marine Engineering.

The effective use of engine room simulators in the development of learning objectives requires that the user is competent not only in the subject matter but also in utilizing the potentials of the simulator equipment. The ICERS 8 program included a separate session for paper presentations by engine room simulator manufacturers, such as Kongsberg Maritime, Inc., Applied Research International, Inc., Transport Safety Systems, Inc., Rhein-Metal Defense Electronics, Inc., etc.

In relation to the main theme, the Organizing Committee presented papers related to the following academic themes:

a) The development of scenarios and the corresponding methodologies used in the design of scenarios to achieve the objective of simulator-aided instruction.

b) The relevant techniques employed in simulator exercise validation and application.

c) The use of appropriate tools and methodologies in the development of learning objectives for simulator-based education and training.

d) Research related to the learning outcomes provided by simulator-based education and training.

e) Research related to the differences in assessment with the use of simulators in conformance to the STCW requirements for simulator-based assessment.

f) Distinctive skills required for an effective simulator-based assessment.

g) The evaluation of learning objectives.

Last 2005, MAAP spearheaded the 2005 Asian User’s Conference on Marine Simulators and Training Systems. It was held at the Westin Philippine Plaza, Manila, Philippines and was co-hosted by Kongsberg Maritime Inc., as well as the Association of Norcontrol Simulators Users of the Philippines, Inc. (ANSUP).

MAAP President, Rear Admiral Eduardo Santos expressed satisfaction at the turn out of the important event and dubbed it as successful like the User’s Conference held in 2005 and pointed out that, “The success of this undertaking is proof of the growing importance and necessity of simulator training in the Philippine maritime industry”.