Iranian tugmasters impressed with what NAFC offers

The NAFC Marine Centre at Scalloway this week welcomed its furthest travelled group of trainees eight Iranians who are to undertake a specialist programme involving the centre’s state-of-the-art simulator.

The group of tug masters is led by Captain Alireza Taherdin, marine operation and offshore projects manager of Sokan Pars Marine Services in Iran, which provides a range of services to the Iranian offshore oil and gas sector.

Explaining his reason for choosing the NAFC Marine Centre, Capt Taherdin said: “We’ve recently won a contract, which involves providing training for the masters of new ASD tug boats.

“We set about identifying the places in the world that would provide the requisite simulator training to the tug masters and engine operators of the new tugs. Our UK partner Gilchrist Marine Services advised us that there was an active centre in Shetland and, after further investigation, we established that the course met our requirements in terms of duration, cost and the experience of the training staff.

“Shetland is almost the furthermost island from our country and, even after the first day, I could see the depth of experience here at the NAFC Marine Centre. It is clear that a few days training here easily equates to a few years’ practical hands on experience at home.

“I’ve worked in the marine services industry for 37 years and, after only a few minutes in the simulator, I could appreciate the value and sophistication of the equipment and the professionalism of the staff in meeting our requirements. I’m very impressed with the facility here and hope we can return in the future to build on what we’ve learned this week.”

NAFC specialist ship-handling lecturer Andy Sandison is being ably assisted by Zander Simpson, tug master at Sullom Voe, who has extensive experience in the field of tug handling and is proving invaluable in the delivery of the course.

Mr Sandison said: “It took time to design a programme dedicated to these new modern tugs. This unique interactive course is being delivered in four distinct phases to build up the knowledge of the trainees.

“Firstly, we look at manoeuvring and how the tug controls work. We then practice connecting tugs up to ships before using the tugs to manoeuvre the vessels.

“It’s been a real pleasure to meet this group of tug masters. They are all very experienced and professional in their line of work and I’ve enjoyed teaching them. This is a very intensive course and it’s clear to me after only a few days that the group is well equipped to achieve a good result.”


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