This week V.Group, the provider of marine support services, has announced it will unveil a new app for seafarers as well as an upgraded training centre in Manila as progress accelerates on Project Embark, a programme designed to transform the way the leading supplier of independent ship management and related marine services handles crewing for its pool of 44,000 seafarers.
The app will enhance the seafarers’ experience, while enabling V.Group to utilise regularly updated seafarer data to improve crewing performance and assist in planning. The app will provide a seamless experience to support professional development, performance appraisal, training, and documentation uploads throughout the vessel mobilisation process, including travel arrangements. The app tackles issues stemming from the fact that most crew paperwork and certification is still paper-based, and as such, transferring from one job to another can be a time-consuming and frustrating process for seafarers, often involving expensive journeys and long wait times. This eats into valuable time ashore and affects the ability of managers to plan effectively.
For customers, the data from the app enables Project Embark’s goal of using innovative technology and data-driven insights to provide best-in-class service to meet our customers’ needs in an ever-demanding market.
At the same time, the training facilities at the Manila seafarer centre have been significantly enhanced, reflecting V.Group’s growth in the cruise industry, and the need to train crew in the latest technical developments in today’s fleet. The new facilities will include an exact replica of a cruise cabin used to train the hotel staff in housekeeping duties, and an enhanced engineering simulator. They will also offer a full mission High Voltage Simulator, LNG bunkering simulator, electronic MAN ME and RT Flex Engine models, and hydraulic, pneumatic and electro technology training stations.
Allan Falkenberg, Group Managing Director, crew management at V.Group, said: “Project Embark is about providing an effective, simple and globally connected experience for our seafarers, offering the opportunity for career development with V.Group. Through the app, we’re making the experience of searching for assignments, signing contracts, and managing documentation as functional as booking a flight or shopping online. We’ve come to expect a lot of technology in our daily lives, but until now, seafarers have just had to accept being stuck decades behind when it comes to arranging their next contract.
“This is what we’re working to change with Project Embark; embracing advances in digitalisation to transform crewing. The app is just one part of this. Enhanced training, which we are also rolling out in Manila, is another, as is an improvement in the planning and reporting services we offer our customers.
“At the same time, our integrated approach to crewing provides our customers with a one-stop shop for crew management and crew services; from recruitment and training to travel and catering services. The initiatives we’re rolling out as part of Project Embark will ensure that we can always provide crew who can deliver excellent vessel performance, built on expertise, trust and value.”
Project Embark forms part of V.Group’s growth strategy of investing heavily in recruiting, developing and engaging the best maritime talent, and contributes to the company’s ambition to transform the industry and become the leading global provider of crew management services. This month, V.Group will open a new crew management centre in Mumbai, showcasing how digital technologies can be deployed to enhance the seafarer experience, and allowing shore-based staff to focus more closely on problem-solving and interacting with crew to deliver the highest level of support.