THE START OF THE VR-ME ERASMUS+ PROJECT

PROJECT NEWSLETTER 1/5

In December 2019, six vocational education and training provider experts as well as representatives of the European fishing industry started a Erasmus+ project called ‘virtual reality for maritime emergencies’, under the acronym ‘VR-ME’. For 30 months the project partners will work on developing a training programme and a virtual reality simulator for maritime emergencies on board a fishing vessel. emergencies such as fire, abandon ship, collision, man overboard, flooding, as well as manoeuvre failure do occur. Such emergencies are stressful situations where the crew must follow specific guidelines and procedures to assure their safety, Hence, this innovative project will bring fishermen and women essential training in emergencies to a higher level with this groundbreaking tool in the fishing industry.

THE PROJECT PARTNERS

Our partners are based in France, Spain, The Netherlands, Belgium, and Greece. This will help tackling the emergencies in the different EU Member States, compare and harmonize procedures as the reality of the fisheries sector varies among countries. The partners consist of the applicant IMP, and SGS TECHNOS, SQ LEARN, ARVI, Europêche, and PFA.

  • IMP, Institut Maritime de Prévention (FR) – The main training entity for labour safety in the French maritime sector;
  • SGS TECHNOS (SP) – The world leader in certification and regulation and a renowned training company specially focused on work safety;
  • SQ LEARN (GR) – Expert developers of virtual reality tools for vocational education and training, known for their expertise, creative spirit and imaginative product design in e-learning;
  • ARVI, Cooperativa de Armadores de Pesca del Puerto de Vigo (SP) – A main vessel owner’s group in Spain and one of the most important ones in the European Union, and offering a training service as well as an occupational hazard prevention service;
  • Europêche, Association of National Organisation of Fishing Enterprises in the EU (BE) – The main representative of the fishing industry in Europe, and employer organisation of the European Commission’s Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for Sea Fisheries dealing with professional training, social harmonisation and employment, health and safety at work and enlargement of the EU;
  • and PFA, Pelagic Freezer-trawler Association (NL) – Representing the interest of several European pelagic freezer-trawler companies with national, European, and global expertise when it comes to safety and health.

THE FIRST STEPS TAKEN

The first 2 out of the in total 5 planned transnational meetings have taken place and they have been centred on maritime emergencies and their procedures. Over the course of December 2019 until now, several project steps have been undertaken to list which emergencies should be selected. The selection is done according to a risk model which requires thorough studies to be conducted. The first of the required studies has been successfully finalised which is setting the most common maritime emergencies according to country and type of fishing vessel, as well as at European level. Like every project, there are limits, and not all maritime emergencies can be chosen for the 3D simulator. Therefore, the project partners are currently in the process of selecting those emergencies that will be adapted to the simulator based on the likelihood to happen, the severity, and the adaptability to a simulated learning environment. Subsequently, a second study was performed where the project partners each analysed the most frequent and severe emergencies, for which the results have yet to be compiled into one report. The next step has already been initiated, which is to describe the selected emergencies in terms of procedures that can be differing according to country and vessel type, and done in a language suitable to a VR simulator. At the moment the procedures provisionally described by the project partners are: 1) abandon ship; 2) flooding/taking water; 3) fire; 4) man overboard; 4) manoeuvre failure; and 5) collision/grounding. By describing the emergencies procedures and applicable legislation, the various legislations, country specificities, differing number of crewmen, and type and size of the fishing vessel are hereby taking into account.

WHAT IS NEXT?

Based on the emergencies and procedures identified in the previous step, the project partners will have to adapt the emergency procedures to a storyboard that can be used to develop the VR environment where the user moves inside a fishing vessel and has to face several emergency scenarios.

Finally, the project partners complement and improve the simulator with several tests in the various project partner EU countries with the future training course users to get their feedback, produce the handbook to manage the software properly, complement the simulator with the training program, and offer all contents in English, Spanish, French, Dutch, and Greek.

If you are interested in following the VR-ME project, you can subscribe to the newsletter at www.vr-me.eu which is published every six months or follow the project via LinkedIn and Twitter (@VRME_EU). For questions or additional information, you can get into contact via https://vr-me.eu/contact/ or +33 297350430.

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