Leading Hong Kong shipmanager Anglo Eastern Ship Management has adopted Virtual Reality technology as a tool in its training regime. The company believes it is the first in the maritime sector to do so.
Anglo Eastern’s managing director, Group QHSE and Training, Pradeep Chawla says: “We have created various spaces in VR like a forepeak tank, engine room, purifier room and so on.”
He further explained: “The purpose is to familiarize young students with the ships in an immersive experience which is very close to actually being in the space.”
Early experiments with the innovative technology have received an enthusiastic response from students.
Shipping is often considered to be a traditional industry unwilling to adopt the latest technology, but attitudes are beginning to change. Capt Chawla claims that investing in the new VR technology is already paying dividends in terms of students’ involvement in the learning process.
Anglo Eastern is also one of very few shipmanagers to have ballast water management systems within their training centres at a time when full training in the use of the technology has become urgent. The IMO Ballast Water Convention comes into effect from 8 September this year. Anglo Eastern currently uses three BWMS at its training centres in India.
Anglo Eastern’s latest training innovation was unveiled at the company’s annual meet the press lunch at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club.
Following the merger of Anglo Eastern and Univan in mid-2015, the merged unit, now known as Anglo Eastern Ship Management, provides full technical management to 610 ships and has a crew strength of 27,300. The impressive total was attained despite some vicious churn in 2016, which saw 90 ships taken on and 85 vessels leaving the company as some owners sold or scrapped vessels to raise finance. Chief executive Bjorn Hogaard added that a small number of owners who felt that they could not align themselves with the strict quality and safety standards of the company had departed.
Another breakthrough for Anglo Eastern – 17 years in the attaining – is the opening up of the company’s first recruitment office in Shanghai. The new business unit, which hopes to recruit crew for up to 25 vessels in its first year of operations, will open at the end of March. The new office is a joint venture with a local partner but will be under the full direct control of Anglo Eastern.
Executive chairman and inveterate sailor, Peter Cremers said that the company’s super yacht management unit had enhanced its opportunities for growth in Hong Kong after a series of constructive discussions with the Marine Department that had led the company to conclude that such a venture could have a promising future based in the territory.
“We don’t plan to set up in Monaco tomorrow, but who knows?” he said.