Overhaul Energizes Houston Center

Oct 4, 2010
With major upgrades and refurbishments, the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) strengthens its commitment to mariners at its Houston, TX Center for Maritime Education. During a three-day showcase surrounding the annual Maritime Training Benefit Luncheon on October 20, SCI capitalizes on the renewed vigor at the facility, hosting five simulator demonstrations and a high-level industry roundtable discussion on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
 
New Simulators
 
SCI’s Houston Center for Maritime Education’s ten-year-old simulators required updates to remain on the cutting edge of training. According to Eric K. Larsson, Ph.D., Director of the Institute’s Center for Maritime Education, the major upgrades SCI has made to its Houston simulators, “supply mariners with sophisticated and adaptable simulation possibilities.” Improvements place the technology on equal footing with the equipment used in SCI’s Paducah, KY Center, surpassing that technology in some areas for deep sea training.
 
Benefits include enhanced training capability for various modes of transportation with superior graphics and visual systems. New simulators in Houston incorporate the latest technology, and new geographical databases for the area surrounding the Port of Houston allow simulating multiple events in different areas of the Port. 
 
Larsson sees other advanced skill development applications combined with SCI’s 20 years of multi-bridge interactive training experience. “These upgrades introduce a path for future groundbreaking training,” he says, “including safety and security exercises and oil spill scenarios.”
 
Five Demonstrations
 
SCI explores unlocking the power and potential of these upgrades in five simulator demonstrations from October 19-21. Focusing on the improvements the technology offers to towboat training, interactive fleet work, security-based events, oil spill simulations, and other likely uses, SCI invites maritime industry professionals to witness the Institute’s new resources and explore opportunities for training at SCI–Houston.
 
Refurbishments 
 
In addition to the simulators, SCI also made updates to the Houston Center’s physical plant. The Institute equipped classrooms with better, more functional floor plans, superior AV equipment and projection screens, and new furniture. The common areas of the Center received new life, too, including a large open-plan area for students. Throughout the Center, new large-format photos by noted maritime photographer Gregory Thorp revitalize the space, adding what Jennifer Koenig, SCI’s Associate Director of Development, calls, “a story of real mariners in their everyday lives.”
 
Professional Roundtable
 
On Thursday, October 21, SCI hosts “Life Beyond the Crisis,” a roundtable discussion following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. This invitation-only, closed-door event provides neutral ground for discussion of the regulatory and commercial changes that might emerge following the incident. The roundtable involves decision makers representing key stakeholders like USCG, oil majors, marine insurers, maritime attorneys, ship operators, and classification societies. The roundtable maintains the regularly occurring thought-leader forums sponsored by SCI, described by one former US maritime authority official as “ideal for open, candid dialogue among colleagues from across the spectrum of interests in our maritime industry.”
 
Maritime Training Benefit Luncheon
 
On October 20, SCI hosts an annual benefit luncheon at its Center for Maritime Education in Houston, TX, featuring Keynote Speaker USCG Rear Admiral Paul F. Zukunft, Assistant Commandant for Marine Safety, Security & Stewardship. For attendance and more information on this event, contact Carrie Christensen, Special Events Coordinator, cchristensen@seamenschurch.org or telephone 212-349-9090 x244.