SPC Geoscience Division



Local pilots play an important role in the safe passage of container ships and other large vessels into and out of Pacific ports. Foreign shipmasters rely on pilots for their local knowledge of depths, currents, locations of wrecks, reefs, navigation aids, and other potential obstacles. And now, updated oceanographic studies of Suva Harbour’s sea floor and currents are being used to localise and improve a computer-simulated training for ships’ pilots in the Pacific region.

A recent collaboration between two divisions – the Economic Development Division (EDD) and the Applied Geoscience and Technology (SOPAC) Division – of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) has produced the first simulation of a Pacific Island port.

According to SPC Shipping Advisor John Rounds, the computerised simulator is a critical training tool because it can test a pilot’s ship-handling competence under a variety of challenging wind and sea conditions without the expenditure and risk of practising on actual vessels. ‘It’s like a blown up computer game,’ he says.