MI student tops at IAMU conference
Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Marine Institute student Jacob Jones chalked up a first for MI at the International Association of Maritime Universities (IAMU) conference last month.

His presentation on how to improve the safety of watertight doors on ships was selected one of the top student papers presented during the annual gathering of leading maritime universities held in Barcelona, Spain.

It’s the first time an MI student has received this honour.Jacob Jones - Body 1

“Jacob did a really good job. He was one of only two students to be invited to present to the full IAMU membership,” said Fred Anstey, head of the School of Maritime Studies.

“He went through the accidents and causalities that have been caused by water-tight doors and developed a safety feature that senses the human presence in doorways and stops the door from closing.”

Watertight door safety

A third-year marine engineering student from Barrington, NS, Mr. Jones has spent the past year working on a human detection system that uses infrared sensors to detect a range of human body temperatures. When it does, the system prevents watertight doors from closing until people are clear of the doors.

Mr. Jones said existing technology uses laser sensors to detect people and prevent accidents – working much like an elevator door that detects movement. On a vessel, this technology doesn’t always distinguish between people and objects in doorways.

“If the person or object is not moving, the doors start closing again,” said Mr. Jones. “If it’s not human, such as water, it could detect that as well and stay open – and then it has to be over-ridden manually from the bridge to close the door.

“My idea was to narrow it down and add a little more smarts to the detection system so it could distinguish what might be there. The way I chose to do that was through an infrared temperature sensor.”

“I wanted to develop something that would be safe in the long run with innovation.”

IAMU research grant

Dr. Elizabeth Sanli, an instructor with MI’s Ocean Safety Research Unit, was selected for a 2019 IAMU grant for her research project entitled “Dual-task training influence on performance versus learning of a simulated maritime training task.”

It was one of two winning grant proposals for young academic staff selected by the IAMU.

Dr. Sanli is partnered with MI marine safety researcher, Kerri-Ann Ennis, in the project that aims to improve performance and safety of lifeboat launches during scheduled drills and real-life emergencies.

There is some evidence, said Dr. Sanli, that performing a secondary task during the practice of a motor-skill task improves people’s ability to remember that motor-skill task over time.

“However, it’s unclear if this is true for a complex task such as operating a lifeboat,” she said.‌

Her research project will study the impact of performing a valuable secondary task, such as radio communications, during simulated learning of lifeboat operations.

Dr. Sanli expects to report on the project results at the next year’s IAMU annual conference.

MI’s international database

John Tucker and John Cross, instructors in the School of Maritime Studies, provided an update and workshop at the IAMU conference on an MI project aimed at creating a global database to evaluate mariners during accreditation processes.

“In an effort to standardize the evaluation process around the world, MI has undertaken the project to create a shared evaluation database,” said Mr. Tucker.Jacob Jones - Body 2

Each country’s certifying authority, such as Transport Canada, administers the global mariner accreditation requirements set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations.

Educating maritime teachers

Also attending the conference was Dr. Aaron Peach, a maritime studies instructor who gave a poster presentation on a course she’s developing for the IAMU to educate maritime teachers.

“It’s required by IMO and we have already been approached by a variety of international universities about enrolling their people in our course,” said Mr. Anstey.

“It was a very successful presentation.”

IAMU is a global network of 65 leading maritime universities providing maritime education and training of seafarers for the global shipping industry.