The newbuilding cruise ship ‘AIDAnova’ is due to usher in a new era at the end of this year when it becomes the first cruise vessel to run on LNG.
To fully prepare the Masters and officers for this technological changeover, a series of practical training sessions at sea started in June.
At the heart of this training project is a new co-operation agreement between Carnival Maritime and Wessels Reederei. The latter has provided the LNG-powered containership ‘WES Amelie’ for training purposes.
The 30-day on-board training sessions on the ‘WES Amelie’ enable AIDA’s Masters and officers to experience at first hand what it is like to control a LNG-powered vessel under real operating conditions. A training record book is kept throughout to document the skills acquired. The participants also take part in a bunker procedure and an emergency drill. In addition, Carnival Maritime’s shoreside ship superintendents are completing training courses with Wessels.
“We are very happy to be helping Carnival Maritime by providing our valuable insight and experience in the operation of LNG vessels”, said Christian Hoepfner of Wessels Reederei. “Safe handling of LNG is a key aspect of the introduction of LNG as a maritime fuel. By contributing our expertise we hope to make the use of LNG more widespread, which will also help to further roll out LNG bunker infrastructure.”
Caroline Baumgärtner, Director Maritime Training, Carnival Maritime, added: “The purpose of practical training is not just to build knowledge, but also to gain confidence in handling the technology and develop safety awareness when using LNG. I am very grateful to Wessels Reederei for their excellent and unbureaucratic support. This co-operation is very valuable for our company and our crews.”
AIDA Captain, Vincent Cofalka, who has already completed a training course, said: “To experience hands-on what LNG operations are like on board the ‘WES Amelie’ was a valuable opportunity, and the support provided by the team on board was tremendous. I would like to thank everyone, also on behalf of my colleagues, for their patience and their untiring willingness to share their knowledge.”
As well as the training courses, Carnival Maritime has a co-operation agreement with LNG supplier Shell.
Officers also undergo intensive LNG management level training at the Centre for Simulator Maritime Training (CSMART) in Almere in the Netherlands.
In the next five years, the Costa Group plans to commission five LNG cruise ships with Carnival Maritime providing the relevant training courses for the crews.