After investing heavily in its training programmes and facilities, WSS can boast a global network of skilled technicians that can ensure the highest levels of safety and compliance.

As a leading provider of safety products and services to the maritime industry, WSS customers expect reliability and full compliance with the very latest safety regulations. To ensure, it can meet these expectations, WSS has established four state-of-the-art training facilities and a comprehensive programme of training courses for its technicians.

“We want to secure a uniform high level of service globally,” says Mats Hestmann, international service manager – safety, WSS.

“The training centres are an excellent way of ensuring we meet the required competence level we have set ourselves, and that our training meets the latest international requirements, such as set by the IMO.”

The four training centres are located in Antwerp, Belgium; Fujairah, UAE; Houston, USA; and Shanghai, China (with a satellite facility in Singapore). Each centre offers the same courses in order to ensure consistency, as well as real operating systems and equipment so that trainees can learn in real conditions. Overall, around 50 different courses are offered, from introductions to apprentices, to the most advanced safety training. The courses are also continuously updated according to new regulations and laws.

WSS has also established defined competence levels for its technicians, and is in the process of mapping competence levels globally. The required training can then be put in place when gaps between WSS’s wanted position and current competence levels are identified. Furthermore, a monitoring system is in place to keep track of certificate expiry dates, so that technicians can be retrained when needed.

“No one in the industry provides this level of training,” says Hestmann. “We have defined requirements for all our employees, and we have been recognised as best in class in the industry by the class societies that have certified us as service providers. Currently WSS Safety Service holds a global DNV GL ISO 9001:2008 certification, and is approved as a Service Provider by DNV GL, Lloyds Register, ABS, Korean Register and RINA.”

The training is mandatory for all WSS technicians, and is also open to contractors and customer service representatives.

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Distress aid kits

The growing number of refugees attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea presents another potential safety hazard for sea vessels. To ensure Wilhelmsen crews are better prepared for potential rescue missions, vessels are being equipped with distress aid kits.

distress aid kitEurope’s refugee crisis shows no signs of decreasing anytime soon, and Wilhelmsen vessels and crews need to prepare for the very real possibility of encountering refugees in distress. In 2014, over 170 000 refugees arrived in Italy after making a risky and perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea – and even more are expected to make an attempt in 2015.

“Both legally and morally we have a duty to assist anyone in distress out at sea,” says captain Filip Svensson, vice president, marine operations, WWASA. “The distress aid kits will help our crews provide the necessary aid to help those in need, including children and the elderly.”

Each kit includes non-perishable food rations, water canisters, disposable plates and cutlery, and blankets. It also includes protective equipment for crews to ensure their safety and the security of the vessel. The distress aid kits are being equipped on all vessels passing through the Suez Canal.