DNV GL facilitates improvements in worldwide DP operator training and certification

Together with the established DNV GL competence standard for DPOs, the DNV GL standard for Test Centres and the standard for Maritime Simulator Systems it provides the framework for organizations who either want to engage in training of DPOs or become test centres and certification bodies for the personnel certification of DPOs.

The increasing demand for DPOs in the Offshore Industry and the limitations in output of DPOs from training centres vs. maintaining and increasing the quality of training and assessment has fuelled the discussion on how a state of the art training and certification regime for these highly skilled experts could be modeled. The DNV GL Recommended Practice (RP 0007) provides an answer.

"Dynamic positioning can be considered a high risk activity involving a team of people working together on high technology equipment. Realistic simulation, including time on full mission simulators, plays an important role in how they learn to deal with situations that rarely occur at sea", says Aksel Nordholm, DNV GL's manager for Simulator Certification. "As long as all operational aspects are included in the training, such as communication and cooperation with others, simulators enhance competence and reduce training time."

The principles stipulated by DNV GL's Recommended Practice (RP) for the training and certification are intended to achieve competent DPOs in shorter time. The RP indicates that training should be based on defined competence criteria. Furthermore, examination and certification should be based on clear performance criteria and carried out by independent and certified test centres.

Given the differing duration and frequency of DP operations, the RP does not define a universal sea-time requirement expressed in days. Instead, learning goals are used to define the training experiences required. Simulator training according to the RP can reduce sea time requirements by up to 50 per cent.

Major players in the offshore industry collaborated on the development of the new RP which covers: competence development, sea-time / onboard competence building, competence assessment, certification and re-certification.

"Teekay is very satisfied with the great work carried out by DNV GL and their partners to finally launch the new certification scheme for dynamic position competence", said Torbjørg Undem, head of Marine Human Resources at Teekay Shipping Norway. "Teekay greatly welcomes this certification scheme which we strongly believe will both enhance the quality and competence of DP personnel, and also facilitate a better flow of new competence to the market. DP competence is needed today, and the need for qualified personnel is expected to grow significantly. With this robust scheme provided by DNV GL, we are optimistic that the entire industry will benefit in the years to come."

Stig E. Wiggen, CEO, Ship Modelling & Simulation Centre, Trondheim, Norway adds: "The new recommended practice on DP operator certification from DNV GL is a giant leap forward with regards to quality in all aspects of DPO certification and is the first real proof of competence for DP operators."

The RP provides guidance to flag states and other interested parties wanting to establish an independently validated certification scheme. It refers to existing DNV GL standards and certification activities and provides detailed input for training centres and test centres.

The combination of the RP and related DNV GL standards helps flag states meet anticipated STCW DP operator requirements currently covered in Part B (guidance) but expected to be moved to Part A (mandatory) in the near future.

The conclusion from Mark Pointon at IDPOA, The International Dynamic Positioning Operators Association welcomes the publication of this Recommended Practice by saying: "We hope that it will be adopted as the universal mechanism that ensures a consistent standard of DP Certification globally for DP Operators."