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Bahamas patrol

Simulator boost for Bahamian patrol crews

The crews of patrol vessels in Bahamian waters will be better prepared than ever thanks to a sophisticated new ship simulator that will be able to digitally ‘recreate’ the whole maritime area of The Bahamas.

An agreement has been reached between two Netherlands-based companies – Damen Shipyards Group and the maritime simulator company VSTEP – for the delivery of a NAUTIS full mission bridge simulator with Alphatron Marine equipment to the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDS).

The delivery is part of the Sandy Bottom Project, which involves the RBDS acquiring a range of Damen patrol vessels, upgrading its existing fleet and developing its port and base infrastructure.

VSTEP is well known in the maritime industry for its state-of-the-art Det Norske Veritas-certified simulators, which facilitate training in compliance with all design criteria, class and IMO requirements.

In cooperation with the Damen Services training department, VSTEP will develop four simulated vessels for use in its custom simulator. Pushing the boundaries of maritime simulation, this collaboration will involve the seamless digital recreation of the whole of The Bahamas, an area of 13,878 sq km, including nine detailed ports. All characteristics of the Damen-built vessels will be incorporated in the simulator.


The project will see VSTEP deliver the latest version 3.0 of NAUTIS featuring improved graphics, advanced ship dynamics and increased accuracy and visual fidelity of the sea, allowing for highly realistic training.

Damen sales manager Alan Borde said: “The incorporation of the simulator package was an instrumental part of the overall Sandy Bottom agreement. It will give the RBDF the ability to recruit and train new cadets annually in a professional manner. The synergy between the simulator training, the familiarization training we have already completed and the general commonalities between the different classes of vessel and the bridge systems will provide longevity and increase the patrol capabilities of the RBDF.”

Pjotr van Schothorst, chief executive of VSTEP, said: “The crews of these new vessels will be trained on the simulator for situations which are difficult or dangerous in real life, which makes them well prepared. They can train for ship handling and manoeuvring, and prepare for various operations relevant in their area.”