Officers and crew members from Royal Caribbean along with sister-brands Celebrity and Azamara Cruises brands now have the advantage of being a part of new simulator training center at Resolve Maritime Academy in Fort Lauderdale. Staff of the $6.5 million facility cut the grand opening ribbon Monday, signaling a renewed focus on safety as journalists in town for the annual Cruise Shipping Miami conference watched the a demonstration of the system. Its all part of an ongoing safety program but timing surely looked to address current concerns of the cruising public.
Images of cruise ships grounded and on fire are fresh in our minds. Still, we know that a cruise vacation is one of the safest travel options available. This week, safety is in the spotlight as never before with the opening of a new training facility that offers the latest the latest electronic tools available. But while a keen focus on the latest technology is employed, the ongoing program highlights the need for top quality people that can often make the difference between a near-miss and a disaster.
“This was not a knee-jerk reaction to recent events,” Captain William Wright, senior vice president of marine operations for Royal Caribbean International and Azamara Club Cruises said of the two year process to get the facility to opening day.
Using simulator training since 1999, Royal Caribbean has contracted with other such facilities in the past but none compare to the Resolve facility in both detail and commitment of the staff working there to provide a safe marine environment.
Resolve Marine Group, primarily a salvage operation, built bridge simulators to Royal Caribbean’s specifications, allowing for multiple ships to be included in navigation, firefighting, search and rescue and other emergency training. The facility is part of a clear answer to questions that came from the grounding of Costa Concordia, the fire of Costa Allegra and other recent events.
Still, while simulations can take into account a variety of factors that can go wrong, staff members at the Resolve training facility quickly note that it is the human element that can often make the difference between a near-miss and disaster at sea.
“The intention is to create situations that truly test the individual, how they deal with unpredictable situations and handle stress,” said Wright, “They are put into situations that are completely realistic.”
We’re on the scene in Miami reporting live on a variety of cruise industry topics this week. Stay tuned for the latest information on how recent incidents will affect the future of cruise vacations as well as the current state of the industry, due to unfold later today.
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