Roger Palmqvist first embarked as a deckhand at the age of 15 and it would take him ten years at sea before he went ashore to study to become a sea captain. After graduating, the roles and ranks on board have replaced each other and now, for 25 years, he’s been in command of tankers all over the world. Last spring, he was one of the participants who took the continuing education course Bridge Resource Management (BRM IMO Model Course 1.22) which is held at the Division for Maritime Studies at Chalmers. During the course, the participants had access to the latest navigation technology in Sweden's most comprehensive simulator center and were trained in leadership, communication and decision-making with the aim of increasing safety and efficiency on board.
Hi Roger! First of all, how do you think this course has met your expectations?
“I think it by far exceeded my expectations and that it stands strong, even above, in relation to other similar courses I have taken before.”
In short - how was the course structured?
“During the course, we got to discuss different research theories about how accidents happen at sea, and also learn about new findings on how best to avoid them. And us participants also got to share our own experiences of accidents at sea. We had to do theoretical exercises based on known accidents as well as practical simulator exercises with constructed incidents. Additionally, we did a test in COLREG collision regulation.”How did you experience the simulator exercises? How would a scenario look like?
“They were based on realistic situations that I've experienced in the past. Situations when things don't quite go as planned. One scenario in the simulator exercises played out on the way to Southampton when we were suddenly told by the traffic controllers that the deeper route we had planned to take was blocked and that we therefore had to change routes. This comes with the challenge of quickly going from plan A to plan B. In another scenario, the simulator operator slowly and somewhat stealthily changed our GPS position to more and more off-position. Here you need to understand in time that something is not right in comparison with your actual position or with other positioning methods and then make a decision about how to continue, if at all. A third scenario was to take a vessel with a broken bow thruster to the dock with the help of a tugboat. But right near the quay, the tugboat line breaks off. What should be done to avoid damage to the quay? Another scenario involved a small pleasure boat being in the fairway when there’s thick fog, which means that you need to focus on being on the lookout as much as possible and adjust the radar so that it’s able to pick up even small echoes. And possibly slow down. Another scenario was based on how to avoid driving into a tight turn with other ships by adjusting the speed. All of these are undoubtedly good exercises and correspond to situations that I have experienced in real life.”
What do you believe were the greatest benefits of the course?
“The biggest benefit was the energy that course leader Mats showed in his teaching, which made everyone engaged. We had so much fun at the same time as the course leader made me feel both engaged and comfortable during the exercises. And that we were allowed to take part in the research that shows that we have not come that far in terms of reducing accidents with existing tools, as well as knowledge on how the tactics to reduce the number of accidents at sea now are changing. We got to take part in the radical development that is taking place in the subject of safety where we really try to understand what is the cause of major accidents, which in itself feels hopeful.”
The next course in Bridge Resource Management (BRM IMO Model Course 1.22) will be held between 17 – 21 October 2022, for more information about the course content and how to register, read here
For more information about Chalmers open courses in shipping
, read here
Text: Lovisa Håkansson