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The ‘Human Factor’ is at the heart of a new offshore research programme

With more complexity and increasingly stringent safety standards, it is vital to focus closely on the human element in an offshore operation. With this in mind, MARIN launched an ambitious research programme in 2017 with the objective to improve human factor integration into our products and services. Dimitri van Heel,


t MARIN we have performed many studies for offshore facilities over the years. Using our model test basins and engineering tools we support companies all over the

world with their designs and operations. Of course, if you look at offshore operations you can’t leave out the human element. Therefore MARIN already started to operate ship simulators for nautical studies and training purposes back in the early seventies.

And with simulation techniques evolving, the training of personnel involved in coordinated offshore operations was a logical next step in our services. In the last decades we have provided training for many different offshore operations, ranging from mooring master training for tandem offloading, side-by-side and towing operations, to the more complex installation jobs.

Bridge simulator sessions MARIN’s new human factor research programme looks at ways to involve the human operator in an early stage of the design of a ship or an operation. It is important to include stakeholders and especially the operational

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users in this phase in order to design a ship or operation that is suited for the future task. An effective way to do this is organising workshops involving bridge simulator sessions, in which different concepts can be tested. Task analyses and serious gaming are other ways to integrate the human factor in the design process.

Another element of our research programme looks at measuring the task performance and the factors that influence it. In our Simulator Centre we want to be able to study the human factor and to answer questions like: “What information is required to conduct a safe operation, and what are the distractions? Which situations cause stress and can we measure this? How does one react to a sudden emergency after a long eventless watch, or how does an operator perform when an automated system suddenly requires intervention?” In a series of experiments we look at what tools and techniques are suitable to answer these questions. In the end we will use a combination of subjective measures, bio-behavioural measures and objective operator and system performance indicators to determine the

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