May 6, 2010. Houston, TX. Yesterday, the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) signed a contract to purchase new equipment for its Center for Maritime Education in Houston, TX, initiating a multiphase upgrade to SCI’s simulator technology located in one of the largest petrochemical complexes in the world. The upgrades introduce a path for future groundbreaking safety and security training.
The first phase of SCI’s technology improvement places the Houston simulator on par with upgrades installed in 2009 at SCI’s Center for Maritime Education in Paducah, KY. The equipment enhances SCI’s safety and security training, positioning the Institute to conduct the most sophisticated and adaptable simulation training available.
Last week, SCI’s Board of Trustees authorized the first phase of upgrades to SCI’s Houston facility, noting its central role in fulfilling SCI’s education mission.
“This starts the ball rolling,” says Eric Larsson, Director of SCI’s Center for Maritime Education. “With this technology upgrade, SCI can plan innovative teaching exercises.” According to Larsson, subsequent upgrades to the technology will enable SCI’s computers to simulate exercises in emergency preparedness, including environmental disasters and maritime security drills.
This major expansion of SCI’s service to the maritime world builds on a very successful decade of simulation training in the Port of Houston. Larsson believes that SCI’s historic experience in maritime education and simulation technology positions it for helping the industry develop and advance. “We’ve collaborated closely with maritime companies to offer them and their employees what they’ve asked for,” says Larsson. “Our partnership has translated into better safety records and increased preparedness for professional mariners.”
Initial installation of new equipment takes place later this year during a window of opportunity in SCI’s training schedule. Leaders at SCI say they plan to adapt this new technology to better serve the industry and the world as talks develop among additional government and industry stakeholders in the maritime community. Larsson says, “SCI stands at an incredible threshold of service to the maritime world.”
Founded in 1834 and affiliated with the Episcopal Church, though nondenominational in terms of its trustees, staff and service to mariners, the Seamen’s Church Institute of New York & New Jersey (SCI) is the largest, most comprehensive mariners’ agency in North America. Annually, its chaplains visit thousands of vessels in the Port of New York and New Jersey, the Port of Oakland, and along 2,200 miles of America’s inland waterways. SCI’s maritime education facilities provide navigational training to nearly 1,600 mariners each year through simulator-based facilities located in Houston, TX and Paducah, KY. The Institute and its maritime attorneys are recognized as leading advocates for merchant mariners by the United States Government, including the US Congress, the US Coast Guard, and the Department of Homeland Security, as well as the United Nations, the International Maritime Organization, the International Labor Organization and maritime trade associations.