In Mainport, we are fortunate to have the excellent National Maritime College right on our doorstep in Ringaskiddy. We know that our staff don’t all need to have seafaring experience to work with us, but as a maritime company, we felt that it was important that we all understand the daily activities of our colleagues at sea. With this in mind, we arranged with the National Maritime College for a one day, tailored course for all our non-marine trained staff. Anyone who had previously worked at sea was specifically not invited, but everyone else was strongly “encouraged” to attend! We set up the course over 2 separate days, so that each department could send 50% of their staff to the course without interrupting daily operations.
We had great fun over the 2 days, but also learned a lot. Our day started with a tour of all the impressive college facilities, followed by classes led by the very competent Captain Conor Moynihan (ex. Seahorse Master). We looked at marine engines from all sides, we started batteries and we had great fun testing our knowledge in the 3 simulation rooms. The 320 degree simulation room was fascinating for all of us, as we carefully berthed the Mainport Pine at Ringaskiddy deepwater berth. Some people did manage to crash our ship when berthing in New York, so we are all glad that it was just a simulation!
We learned how to correctly use fire extinguishers, and we were given an interesting lecture on the parts of a ship, the different contracts available for ships and different types of ships. We had an excellent one hour presentation from Port of Cork (Captain Mike McCarthy the first day, and Captain Paul O’Regan the second day) on the future plans for the Port of Cork. Then we received the news: we were told we would have to go swimming in storms and lightning. Fun.
We changed into the old clothes, donned the immersion suits and looked apprehensively into the deep waters of the simulation pool.
The lights dimmed, the wind start howling, waves appeared out of nowhere, and lighting started crashing. It was in these conditions that we had to jump in and quickly swim to the inflated life raft. I am proud to say that we left no one behind! Relieved and tired, we thought we were finished for the day, but there was one more suprise in store for us. We had to jump 3 metres into this same water. Now this was different. The attached photos tell the story better than I ever could!
Overall, it was a great day and our sincere thanks to all in NMCI, particularly to Head of College Conor Mowlds and Jim O’Byrne, who did his best to frighten his old Mainport colleagues. We now have the certificates to prove we did the course, and a much greater appreciation of the marine industry!