AVTEC Puts North Slope and Nikiski Material Offloading Facility Designs to the Test
AVTEC—Alaska’s Institute of Technology—is well known for training the chefs, electricians, welders, and other skilled trades that make life in Alaska possible. The program now also plays a role in Alaska’s biggest natural gas liquefaction project, contributing its maritime simulator and expertise to help the Alaska LNG Project team test North Slope and Nikiski port designs.
As part of the maritime training program, future crew members and captains practice on the United States Coast Guard approved simulator to learn safe operations and build skills. The facility is interactive, recreating the real conditions of maritime work in the most realistic way possible. “We’re the only facility with a class A full mission bridge simulator in Alaska,” said Captain Terry Federer, AVTEC maritime department head. “It’s a rich environment for testing and learning.”
The simulator boasts three full-mission bridges for training and modeling. The bridges can run independently or run coordinated exercises to create complex scenarios involving multiple ships, such as an LNG carrier and a tugboat. The simulator is also certified to replicate ice, a rarity among this type of technology, and is one of the few United States Coast Guard approved simulators in the country that is open to the public. Needless to say, AVTEC’s facility is unique to the state.
To complete testing, the Alaska LNG team used the simulator to digitally construct multiple North Slope and Nikiski Material Offloading Facility designs as working port facilities and then modeled different conditions and ships to ensure that safe docking will be possible. The models also helped the team understand what wind, wave, and tide conditions will be safe and helped establish boundary guidelines for safe operations.
The simulations concluded at the beginning of 2016, but AVTEC is open to future support of the project. “We’re looking forward to helping in the future however we can,” said Ben Eveland, AVTEC Director. “We’ve helped with the research and development phase, and as the project is built, we hope AVTEC can transition to a training venue for the Alaska LNG Project. This work is a great example of Alaska knowledge coming together.”