SEPTEMBER 15, 2014, New York, NY – Today in New York Morton S. Bouchard, III and many local maritime dignitaries officially opened The Bouchard Transportation Co., Inc. Tug & Barge Simulation Center on the campus of the State University of New York (SUNY) Maritime College.
Captain Robert Glas, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at Bouchard Transportation made the traditional ribbon cut with the comically sized pair of scissors, as Morton S. Bouchard, III, his two sons, US Congressman Joseph Crowley, RADM Michael Alfultis, USMS, Ph.D., President of SUNY Maritime and a host of industry executives and dignitaries looked on.
“The contribution is to, first and foremost educate the cadets that go to school here (SUNY Maritime), to give them a good foundation when they graduate to come and be employed in an industry that is booming and lacking qualified employees right now,” said Morton S. Bouchard, III. “The way it came about was really simple: we always had a simulator in New York Harbor, and the company that was operating that simulator moved it down to Houston. So we partnered with SUNY Maritime to build a first-class simulator on campus that would not only benefit cadets, but would benefit our employees. We’re going to do our training here with our captains and mates.”
The simulation center is the latest in Kongsberg’s Polaris Bridge Simulation technology, and it was funded by a gift from Bouchard Transportation, the largest independently owned ocean-going petroleum barge company in the Unieed States. It offers full mission bridge simulators, instruction stations and a de-briefing area, where instructors can discuss topics regarding navigation, seamanship and bridge resource management.
While the simulation center was funded by Bouchard, features replica simulation models of the Bouchard fleet and will serve to train and maintain Bouchard seamen, the center is open for business industry companies and professionals. SUNY Maritime continues to invest in the latest simulation technologies for its students and corporate clients, and the new center will be augmented in early 2015 with a new Engine room Simulation Center and a new Liquid Cargo Handling System Simulator.
As Bouchard III is a fourth generation owner of the venerable company, he put in perspective for MarineLink.com the value of training and education in today’s maritime industry. “Training and education is 200% more today. You cannot be profitable in this industry unless you are safe,” said Bouchard III. “You cannot be safe unless you train, but that’s not only in the simulator, it’s every day on these vessels. The captains in our company are held to the highest standards to be safe, and that is the only way that you can be profitable.”
The opening of the new Simulation Center was the pinnacle of the 15th Annual Towing Industry Forum hosted at the New Academic Building on the SUNY Maritime Campus. The day’s program included several presentations, including:
- “The Legal Consequences of 46 CFR Subchapter M” by Dan Fitzgerald, Freehill Hogan & Mahar LLP;
- “Hiring and Retaining Safe Mariners in the Towing Industry” by Grace Lee, PHD, APTMetrics, and
- “STCW and the Towing Industry” by James Cavo, Marine Credentialing Program Policy Division, United States Coast Guard.