The Nikola Vaptsarov Naval Academy is Bulgaria is providing virtual ship operations training to its students using simulation technology.
On the 6th of August 2016, the official opening ceremony for The Centre for Integrated Management and Monitoring of the Coastal Zone was inaugurated by Mr Boyko Borisov, the Prime Minister of Bulgaria.
The Rector of the Academy, Commodore Prof DSc Boyan Mednikarov and Deputy Chief of Educational and Scientific Activities, Captain Prof Dr Kalin Kalinov were present at the opening ceremony. Among the official guests were parliament members from the Bulgarian government, representatives of other Bulgarian authorities, members of the military, ambassadors and representatives of the maritime industry.
Following the delivery of a NAUTIS Class A Full Mission Bridge Simulator and a RescueSim Incident Command Simulator in 2014, the Nikola Vaptsarov Naval Academy has selected VSTEP again to deliver and install a Liquid Cargo Handling Simulator with Instructor Station, a NAUTIS DNV Class A Full Mission Bridge Simulator (FMBS) with 240 FOV and a NI Accredited NAUTIS DP Class A FMBS with 180 FOV including instructor stations at the new simulation centre.
In addition to the DP and Full Mission Bridge Simulators, two NAUTIS DNV Class C Desktop Simulators and two NAUTIS Class C DP Simulators were purchased for training of its Naval and Merchant Marine students.
Apart from the simulators, VSTEP also developed an innovative tool called Live Data Module (LDM) to visualise the movements of real ships taken from an AIS system or any other objects such as oil spill, Man Over Board (MOB) or real weather sensor delivered conditions inside the simulator. It has been successfully implemented and works well in and around the port of Varna and the coast of Bulgaria in 3D in the simulators. With this tool, operators can take part in the bridge activities of each real ship virtually, and thanks to the realistic 3D modelling of the port and the coast, have a view in the simulator which closely matches the view on the real ship, converting the simulator into a powerful operations centre. An extra advantage is that while in reality, there could be dense fog outside, in the simulator the weather can be made clear. This virtual bridge view in the simulator can assist the Vessel Traffic Monitoring operators to better assist ships that approach the port, or ships that may be on a collision course with other ships.
Pjotr van Schothorst, CEO of VSTEP said, “It was a delight to see this brand new high-tech simulation centre with some of our latest products inside the beautiful old building of the Naval Academy of Varna. It shows the clear vision and dedication of the Commodore and Vice-Commodore in the area of modern Coastal Zone Monitoring Operations and Maritime Training.”
Commodore Prof DSc Boyan Kirilov Mednikarov, Rector of Nikola Vaptsarov Naval Academy added, “Now, we are providing education and training to national and international students, naval cadets and post-graduate training abroad. We are very satisfied with the latest delivery of cutting edge NAUTIS simulators and our existing partnership with VSTEP. This allows us to implement in our education and training the latest technologies in maritime simulation. With this cooperation and the recently delivered simulation complex we are about to sign a framework agreement for establishing a “Joint Developer Centre” at NVNA. Both parties will jointly develop front end technologies like next generation marine simulators with augmented reality training, CIC interfaces, maritime drone control and training, etc. We expect this cooperation to boost both NVNA and VSTEP to jump into the next generation of education and training of maritime specialists.”
The Nikola Vaptsarov Naval Academy (NVNA) is a well-known historic technical and maritime educational institution in Bulgaria, established in 1881. With its illustrious history and traditions in training sea specialists, it is one of the symbols of Varna and Bulgaria in the world maritime community. At present, the Academy trains specialists for both the Navy and merchant marine in all areas of maritime life.