Maritime Academy of Toledo Signs Landmark Agreement with VSTEP
Renee Marazon, President, The Maritime Academy of Toledo, announced yesterday a landmark agreement with VSTEP B.V. of Rotterdam in The Netherlands that will provide new simulators for the school and allow VSTEP to establish a NAUTIS maritime simulation demonstration center in Toledo.
At a press conference this morning, Ms. Marazon signed the agreement with VSTEP. The agreement calls for a new state of the art, NAUTIS full-mission-bridge simulator and radar simulation classroom to be installed on the Second Floor of One Maritime Plaza, with additional NAUTIS simulators added in the multi-phased project expected to last through 2017. VSTEP will showcase Toledo as a “VSTEP/NAUTIS Simulation Center”, their state of the art simulator technology.
The current navigation, radar, and engine room simulators, donated to The Maritime Academy in 2010 by the American Maritime Officers’ (AMO) Union were rendered useless in October 2012, when they were damaged as the result of a power fault from an underground transformer explosion near the intersection of Summit and Walnut Streets. The AMO simulators were over 20 years old when they were damaged.
“For more than eight months we searched for a company suited and willing to help us replace the current simulators, at a cost we could afford while we wait for our insurance claim to be paid.” said Ms. Marazon. “We negotiated with several companies who simply wanted too much money. VSTEP was able to provide us with the highest standard of simulation, but at an affordable price.”
The project was discussed with VSTEP’s NAUTIS Maritime Simulation Division in late July and VSTEP staff made a site visit to determine the suitability of the Maritime Academy campus to serve as demonstration center. Within two months a partnership was forged that is beneficial to both parties.
“Toledo was a perfect fit for VSTEP as a NAUTIS Simulation Center. Toledo is 45-minutes from an international airport and is centrally located on the Great Lakes. Once the new simulators are installed VSTEP will use Toledo as a technology demonstration center for its customers in the region,” said Ms. Marazon.
“The cooperation with VSTEP has so far been very professional and has been a God-send to us,” said Ms. Marazon. “The cadets at The Maritime Academy of Toledo did not have simulator training for most of last school year. We faced the possibility again of this entire school year without simulators. This would have a negative impact on our cadets in the Maritime Career Tech Education (CTE) Program, particularly those students taking Navigation I and Navigation II courses. But thanks to VSTEP we will have working simulators this school year.”
The project is expected to be implemented through 2017 in four phases. The first phase will include a Class-A Full-Mission Bridge simulator and a simulation radar classroom for 16 students both of which are certified for U.S. Coast Guard approved courses. These simulators are expected to be up and running by January, 2014. Additional phases include a tug boat simulator, crane simulator, and eventually an engine room simulator.
“Our new VSTEP simulators will allow not only our cadets to get the best training possible, but also allow us to expand our professional mariner training courses. This is just another step in making Toledo the key center for maritime training on the Great Lakes,” said Ms. Marazon.
“In partnering with VSTEP, The Maritime Academy agreed to changes with the current bridge layout on the Second Floor at One Maritime Plaza. The first phase of the project will involve some minor re-configuring of the current bridge layout. We will be redesigning some of the consoles used for monitors and in general expanding the current layout to meet the VSTEP installation requirements,” she said.
Financing for the upgrades was negotiated between The Maritime Academy of Toledo and VSTEP. The terms call for The Maritime Academy of Toledo to commit approximately $100,000 to launch the project and the remainder financed over ten years with a cost effective subscription model for the simulators.
“If you look at what it would have cost to purchase and install all these simulators, plus licensing and other fees, we would be looking at upwards of one million dollars. However VSTEP worked with The Maritime Academy to make this much more affordable over the ten-year period,” said Ms. Marazon.
VSTEP, September 20, 2013