PMI hosts escort training group from Seaspan, SMIT, BCC pilots and Vancouver Port Authority

Seattle, Washington-March 5, 2010—The Pacific Maritime Institute (PMI) hosted its third of several scheduled two and a half day tanker escort training programs. The program included members of the British Columbia Coast Pilots and tugboat Captains from Seaspan International Ltd. and SMIT Marine Canada Inc. This training program marks the culmination of a multi-year project initially begun by the BCC Pilots and the Vancouver Port Authority (VPA) which carefully evaluated their escort system for their Second Narrows Waterway and its two bridges. The study identified several procedural changes that they could make as well as some improved navigational aids to allow for ships to be escorted with a greater degree of safety and with a deeper draft. On February 22nd through the 24th, Captain Greg Brooks, a 42 year veteran of the tugboat industry and principal of Towing Solutions Inc. of Florida, served as lead facilitator for this program.

The Vancouver Port Authority and BCC Pilots working with Towing Solutions initially designed a multi-phase research project that used fast time simulation, manned simulation, and two live tanker trials (one fully instrumented) to identify and fine tune the new escort procedures. During this process, when the initial simulations looked promising, Seaspan and SMIT were brought on board as active partners and participated in the live trails and second set of manned simulations. In this second set of simulations, the tug captains manned three separate tug simulators and worked interactively with the pilots who manned a fourth. As a final step in this process, the findings were subjected to the Canadian Pilotage Risk Management Methodology with shippers, the Canadian Coast Guard, and other interested parties participating in the review. The revised Second Narrows escort regulations are scheduled to be implemented in May, 2010.

As part of the implementation process it was decided to train all of the BCC Pilots and the tug captains from Seaspan and SMIT who will conduct the escorts, to ensure that all of the mariners charged with carrying out these maneuvers are properly trained. To conduct this training the BCC Pilots selected PMI’s sophisticated training facility in Seattle, WA which includes state-of-the-art ship and tug simulators. The training course itself was developed collaboratively between Towing Solutions, the BCC Pilots and PMI.

For more information on tanker escort or advanced simulation training at PMI, please contact Mr. Gregg Trunnell at (206) 719-2801 or via e-mail at You may also visit the PMI website at or the Towing Solutions website at

By Professional Mariner Staff