Improving crisis management

Nord University and colleges in Lofoten and Bodø cooperate on safety and emergency response training. Together, we can contribute to saving lives and the environment in the High North.

Cooperation: Students Mathias Karlsen and Joakim Wiland Helgesen, Bodin Maritime College and Professor Odd Jarl Borch, Nord University (centre).

Every second counts when a ship is in trouble. Saving lives is a priority. Containing oil spills and other harmful emissions is nevertheless a very real concern.

In this kind of emergency, fast, effective action is decisive. Expertise and training are key.

Now, Nord University and the maritime colleges in Bodø and Lofoten are working together to improve emergency response.

Common simulator centre 

Over time, we have built a common simulator centre, where participants can train in realistic situations.

The partnership is formalised in Maritime Campus Nord, comprising Nord University, the maritime colleges and safety training centres in Nordland and Trøndelag.

– We have now acquired state-of-the-art equipment, worth tens of thousands of kroner, says advsior Hege Christin Stenhammer at Nord Business School. 

The investments include vessel bridges in Bodø and Lofoten, as well as vessel and emergency management equipment at Nord University.

PhD student Johannes Schmied: Studies interaction between systems and organisations.

Aground at Værøy

Recently, the partners simulated the grounding of a ship on the approach to Værøy. The crisis management team at Nord University led the response. 

During the simulation, Nord University's team assumed the role of the Rescue Coordination Centre and the Coast Guard's emergency response division.

The team was tasked with saving lives, as well as acting to restrict environmental damage from the resulting oil spill.

The rescue effort was coordinated by mapping the ships movements on screen, while maintaining radio communication with the wreck. The Coast Guard, rescue vessel and other vessels in the proximity were put on alert. 

Nord University's team included students and researchers, advisor Hege Christin Stenhammer and Professor Odd Jarl Borch.

We have most of the same equipment at school, so this is really about getting the opportunity to participate in training where organisation and crisis management are the top priority, say students Mathias Karlsen and Joakim Wiland Helgesen.

Expertise in case of accident

Professional practice: PhD student Ensieh Kheiri Pileh Roud appreciates the practical experience gained from training.

– We can conduct similar simulations at school, but here we participate in the team and learn more about crisis management, says Joakim.

Both students have their sights set on careers as ship's officers, and a future at sea.

– This learning is a definite advantage in the event that we experience a real emergency at sea. We know more about the possible course of events, and how to respond to the situation, says Mathias.

Reinforces education at Nord

PhD candidates Ensieh Kheiri Pileh Roud and Johannes Schmied, as well as course coordinator for the planned master programme in emergency preparedness and response, Associate Professor Natalie Andreassen, also participated in the simulation.
– How important is crisis management for you?

– As a researcher, the simulated events allow me to get closer to the real action, which completes an otherwise theoretical approach, says Ensieh.

Johannes Schmied says he is interested in the complexity of crisis management. 

– It is in training that I really have the opportunity to study the complex interactions between systems and information that should and must work in a crisis, he says.

– For this new master programme, which is planned for autumn 2018, this lab is incredibly important, says Natalie Andreassen. 

– And other academic communities at Nord, such as those within health sciences, have much to gain from this academic arena, says Hege Christin Stenhammer.