With some reluctance Stena Line navigation officer Richard Forson took part in the Alphatron Marine ECDIS training at the beginning of October 2013. His experience of similar training a few years ago left a lot to be desired: tedious and dull. However, within a couple of minutes of a warm welcome at Alphatron’s headquarters in Rotterdam, he soon became convinced that he was in the right place this time around.

Richard Forson, Stena Line: ‘The warm welcome given to myself and my colleagues was special. I’m old school, therefore, I’m more comfortable using the paper chart than any kind of computer. But after 5 days’ intensive, exceptionally good training, I can say without doubt that the electronic chart is way ahead of the paper chart.’ Faithful ‘Alphatron’s trainers were really forthcoming in every area of the course. The sessions on the simulator were very practical and the scenarios sketched for using the electronic charts were very faithful to actual work. On the final day of training we were given a tour of the Alphatron workshop where we saw how much work goes into building and organising a ship’s bridge. That was quite an eye-opener.’ Friendly atmosphere ‘The friendly atmosphere too helped make my experience a positive one. Every member of staff was really nice and considerate to us, especially during the lunch break. Meals were also special, another highlight of the course. When I left at the end of that week, I hoped I that I might once again bump into the people at Alphatron that I had got to know. And I did that same evening. Around forty of them took the Stena Brittanica ferry to Harwich and travelled on to London. I talked to the ship’s captain and arranged a tour of the bridge for them. An enjoyable experience.’
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