Maersk Training opened a new office in Dubai last week, the 10th such facility in its portfolio, to beef up instruction in the all-important maritime and oil and gas sectors for the world’s leading hydrocarbons production region.
The Dubai facility is located in the complex that also houses the headquarters of Dubai South, the commercial arm of Dubai’s second major airport, Al Maktoum International. Maersk hopes good aviation links will make regional use of the facility easier.
Maersk Training’s principal presence is based around the North Sea, with five centers in Denmark, the UK and Norway.
Elsewhere, Houston opened November last year and is double the size of Dubai. Centres are also located at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, growing West Africa hub Port Harcourt, Nigeria and Chennai, India.
In town for the event, Claus Bihl, ceo of Maersk Training said that coverage of East Africa would be run either from Europe or Dubai, depending on the requirement. Angola’s distant offshore oil fields mean that his work has ceased there for the moment.
While Maersk Training’s portfolio includes maritime and oil and gas, the areas of focus in Dubai, it can also provide wind-installation and crane training at its nine other global facilities.
When oil was at $120 a barrel, Bihl found that companies overlooked Maersk Training’s services. The oil price crashed has had a double-edged effect.
“The oil price and the level of activity in the industry affect us a lot—and it affects us right now. We certainly see that the volumes are coming down because of rigs being stacked, people being laid off.
“On the other hand, there is a number of interesting opportunities now in working with human factors and the competency of the crew operating new equipment.”
From an early focus on maritime, ship handling, bridge resource management and human-resource training, the portfolio is now more varied, taking in big ships, tankers, supply and anchor-handling boats, installation vessels, drill-ships and dynamic positioning vessels of all kinds.
Bihl cites the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, (STCW) which came into force in 1984, as underpinning his mission.
“STCW provides the minimum requirements for trade. Now it demands that if you have crews, they must have training in human resource management. Then there’s the human factors, the people skills, that need to be embedded in the entire operation.”
The driller’s calling is a central aspect of Maersk Training’s work. “It’s disciplined training for postgraduates for one. It can also be entry-level programmes for roustabouts, going into this industry wanting a career on a drilling rig, assisting [them] going into the production side of things,” Bihl said.
“It could be academic. It’s short courses and can also be longer programmes. It’s industry-focussed, discipline-focussed, to meet our clients’ needs.”
While every seafarer is mindful of the possibility of a ‘wave from hell,’ Bihl argues that accidents arise in situations that are experienced very frequently, citing the 2010 Macondo disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
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