The SeaWays Module 1, ASD Tug Handling and Module 2, Undertaking Harbour Towage courses were due to commence within the New Zealand Maritime School, Auckland on Monday 19th June. Given the total flying time of 24 hours from London to Auckland with an additional 3-hour stopover in Dubai I opted to head south on the late-night flight from Heathrow on Thursday 15th June. A long but albeit uneventful journey saw me touch down at Auckland on Saturday lunchtime local time UK BST + 12hours. A restful weekend trying to adjust the body clock prepared me for starting the course on Monday.
The New Zealand Maritime School in Auckland offers two tug bridges utilising Transas software both of which can be run independently but
simultaneously to aid training progression. Of the three that enrolled onto the courses, two successfully completed both training modules to
the required SeaWays standard and were awarded their SeaWays Certificates. Unfortunately, one trainee had to pull off from the courses after 3 days due to illness but has already enrolled on the next course due there in November/December this year to hopefully complete his training.
In addition, I had the pleasure of working closely with Aaron Honiss, someone that I had previously trained at the NZMS facility and a much-respected Tug Master from PrimePort, Timaru. Aaron was with me for the 2 weeks to train as a SeaWays trainer which would hopefully give him the required skills and confidence and enable him to start to deliver In-House training in Timaru as part of a long-term contract with the SeaWays.
Certificates were awarded to Ben Hillier from South Australia who self-funded his training and Richard Oliver, a Pilot and Tug Master from North Tugz Ltd New Zealand.
Immediately after completing the simulation training it was straight to Auckland airport with Aaron for a flight to Timaru which lies about halfway
down on the east coast of New Zealand’s south island. Aaron and I took slightly different routes to Timaru but arrived at similar times, meeting up for a bite to eat with Capt. Thejs Pedersen who is the Senior Pilot and acting Marine Manager for the port of Timaru.
The ports main business comes from its container terminal, log exports and cement trade with visiting ships aided into and out from the port by 2 ASD tugs both of which are Niigata Z-drive but with different control systems. The Aoraki has the more conventional Niigata azimuth controls whereas the Te Maru has a combination of levers to control main engine power and ahead/astern momentum coupled with a small wheel to provide the directional steerage.
SeaWays have provided Tug training and consultancy services to PrimePort Timaru for the last few years and as part of the training identified
Aaron as having the operational and people skills that could benefit both PrimePort and SeaWays. The Saturday and Sunday were spent taking the
SeaWays trained Tug Masters through their respective annual competency assessments onboard the Aoraki before commencing training with Magnus on Monday morning. By the end of my time in Timaru, I was lucky enough to have met most if not all of the tug crews through the various shift changes. It was very pleasing to be able to award Aaron with his SeaWays Training Master certificate at the end of my visit, he is a welcome addition to our SeaWays family and an integral part of a small team who could not have made me feel more welcome, thanks to all for your real Kiwi hospitality.