Marathon Petroleum invests in mariner safety training in Alaska

Community News

Interior of Simulator

View inside the simulator. File photo from 2018 provided by AVTEC.

Marathon Petroleum continues to invest in maritime safety with a $40,000 grant to the Alaska Vocational Technical Center (AVTEC) funding an oil spill response training module for its state-of-the-art bridge simulator. The module allows for a safe and controlled virtual training environment that includes a small fleet of oil response vessels to plan and execute oil cleanup on the scene of a simulated oil spill. In the fully virtual simulation, students will learn to contain oil on the water’s surface with booms and then recover it with skimmers attached to response vessels.

“Safety and environmental stewardship are core values for Marathon Petroleum,” said Cameron Hunt, general manager for the Kenai refinery. “By helping provide the AVTEC mariners with skills we hope they never need to use, we ensure they are trained to respond and address any crisis situation quickly and safely.”

All equipment is modeled from real-world equipment and simulated in a 3D environment using AVTEC’s simulation system. The simulator provides tanker, tug and ice scout crews an opportunity to practice and learn techniques for operating in heavy ice, extreme weather and high currents in a safe setting.  

“We couldn’t be more excited about this new training opportunity for mariners across Alaska,” said Steve Fink, AVTEC’s lead simulation technician and operator. “Marathon Petroleum has been a great partner for many years, and we are truly appreciative of their continued investment in our facility, marine pilot training and water safety.”

The Kenai refinery has provided multiple grants to AVTEC to support its mission to provide workforce training that is accessible and affordable. In 2017 and 2018, AVTEC received totaling $190,000 to upgrade the ship simulator that provides the highest quality training experience.