The Seamen’s Church Institute is completing construction of an environment tailored for one-on-one mariner skills appraisal. SCI’s new Houston simulator, manufactured by Transas, provides a dedicated tool for assessments, corrective action implementation and company human resource evaluations, according to SCI.

The new simulator suite contains a single full-mission bridge pilothouse, classroom and debriefing area, all designed to work independently from SCI’s existing four-bridge Kongsberg simulator. The smaller footprint of the new simulator allows SCI to offer individualized instruction at a lower cost. SCI estimates that construction of the simulator will be completed in time for its Maritime Training Benefit Luncheon on Oct. 24, at the Institute’s Center for Maritime Education in Houston. Full operation of the new simulator is expected by early 2013.

SCI offers its new simulator for companies wishing to supplement onboard training. “This is not a substitute for real-life experience,” Capt. Stephen Polk, SCI’s Center for Maritime Education director, said in a statement. Instead, he says, maritime transportation companies will employ the unique encounters available in the simulator to round out a mariner’s experience and assist in identifying candidates for hiring and promotion decisions. The SCI’s tool allows a designated examiner or port captain to evaluate performance in various scenarios.

The environment of the simulator replicates many conditions on the water that limit training and evaluation in the real world. Many of the areas in which companies need to assess mariners include high-risk and seasonal conditions. SCI’s newly constructed specialized space for mariner assessment provides the ability to sign-off Towing Officer Assessment Record (TOAR) items, regulations stemming from new Subchapter M towing vessel regulations and the Tanker Management and Self Assessment (TMSA) guidelines. When the simulator goes into operation, SCI says, maritime transportation companies will choose from a catalog of simulations matching standardized exams and requirements.

SCI says it also intends the new simulator environment to assist maritime transportation companies of varying sizes in efficient and cost-effective human resource practices. The new Transas simulator provides a mechanism to examine and identify candidates best suited for employment and promotion, SCI says, by providing straightforward, discernable competency analysis in a single location.

SCI says it chose technology for this new simulator based on industrywide standards. Most of the U.S. maritime academies use Transas simulators in similar applications of training and safety testing.