NORTH Queensland Bulk Ports’ pilotage team recently joined terminal operators and tug masters at the Queensland government’s Smartship Australia facility in Brisbane for simulation training.

The exercise used virtually recreated ports of Hay Point and Mackay, which are more than 950 kilometres away from the Brisbane training facility.

NQBP acting CEO Belinda Kenny said the port industry collaboration continued over two days.

“Working with Maritime Safety Queensland including the regional harbour master, terminal operators, and towage operators, we explored our operational limitations in a safe environment without any disruptions to trade,” Ms Kenny said.

She said the level of simulation training seen at the facility would lead to real-world improvements to port operations.

“The simulations brought to life the berthing of virtual vessels up to 300 metres in length in all types of weather conditions and loading capacities,” she said.

“Navigating ships in and out of our ports is a complex and specialised job. Our pilots handle more than 2800 shipping movements a year. So, it’s vital to be able to hone their skills alongside port stakeholders.

“NQBP continues to lead the way in pilot competence and safe pilotage integrating innovative approaches to their professional development including simulation training.”

Smartship Australia director and principal instructor Captain Peter Listrup said modern marine simulation systems improve safety and efficiency outcomes for port operations.

“Simulation provides a zero-risk training environment for marine pilots to develop and enhance their piloting skills,” Captain Listrup said.

“Smartship Australia welcomes working with forward-thinking organisations like NQBP.”

Smartship Australia is operated by Maritime Safety Queensland within the Department of Transport and Main Roads. It provides marine simulation services from its base at Brisbane Airport.