On 24 May 2016, the most sophisticated high-voltage device used in the education of seafarers in Croatia was presented. Numerous guests attended the presentation, including maritime professionals and representatives of agencies and shipping companies.

They were greeted by the principal of the Maritime Education and Training Centre Atlantis Alen Jerkunica, who presented the education group consisting of the Maritime Education and Training Centre Atlantis, the Suvremeno učililište in Split and the University College Aspira, which has grown into a respectable group for life-long learning and high-school education in the past 25 years. A wide scope of education programmes was achieved through contacts and cooperation with foreign universities and schools. Principal Jerkunica also pointed out how they were exceptionally proud of the large number of students from renowned companies and that Training Centre Atlantis achieved great progress in the Department of Marine Electrical Engineering and Electronics.

By installing the high-voltage device, Training Centre Atlantis broadened the range of education it provides. In cooperation with Končar Electrical Equipment, Training Centre Atlantis constructed the most advanced shipboard high-voltage device, in accordance with the requirements set out in the High voltage – operational level A-III/1 and High voltage – management level A-III/2, A – III/3 tables of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, STCW 1978.

Alongside educational programmes according to the STCW convention requirements, Training Centre Atlantis also offers retraining programmes for maritime sailors, marine engineering technicians, as well as yacht, boat and cruise industry training. Tailor-made training is also an important part of the range of education programmes. The Maritime Education and Training Centre Atlantis is certified by Lloyd and CRS.

Following principal Jerkunica, Pero Knezović, lecturer at the Department of Marine Electrical Engineering and Electronics took the stand and pointed out how:

“The maritime use of high voltage is increasingly made necessary due to technological and economic progress. Products enabling the safe use of high-voltage devices have recently been introduced. They are most commonly used for the propulsion of large passenger ships and for electric motors used to power pumps and other devices on board special-purpose ships. Maritime high voltage exceeds 1000 V and can be very hazardous to handle, but safe use is possible thanks to technologies available today. The use of high voltage enabled significant savings, especially concerning the space the machinery takes up by making the shaft unnecessary.”

Students attending the course will acquire the knowledge necessary for working with maritime high-voltage equipment, with special emphasis on safety – the procedures to be followed before, during and after working with high voltage. Strict regulations and procedures apply to high voltage in order to maximally reduce the chance of errors that generally have catastrophic consequences, primarily to electrical equipment, but also to human life. The crew coming into contact with high-voltage components of the system must be specially educated and, above all else, aware of the dangers they are exposing themselves to. It is therefore important to follow the rules for safe handling.

Shipboard high-voltage equipment is powered by generators, which are in turn powered by diesel engines. One such high-voltage block may be seen and used at Training Centre Atlantis. Apart from the switchgear, transformers make up the main section of a high-voltage grid. The devices that enable the electric motor to work at certain RPMs are converters. Their purpose is to power the electric motor.

The Maritime Education and Training Centre Atlantis is known for its marine electrical engineering and electronics programme. Training Centre Atlantis first started with the education programme for Electro-technical Officers.

High-voltage training is done according to the STCW convention, with the goal of acquainting students with high voltage and the specific conditions on board a ship.

The high voltage training is intended for engineering officers responsible for standing watch in the engine room and electro-technical officers. Training consists of a theory section taught in classrooms and practical classes conducted in a specialised room, all in a safe environment. The operational level is intended for engineering officers and electricians. During this training, students are familiarised with the basics of high voltage and the operation and maintenance of the high-voltage device.

Apart from the previously mentioned competencies, students work on safety procedures on the management level: risk assessment, issuing the work permit, issuing the licence for testing the shipboard high-voltage facility. The training is intended for senior engineering officers holding command responsibility.

The presented device is the central device for working with high voltage. The block was manufactured in cooperation with Končar and the most up-to-date shipboard equipment by Siemens, ABB and Scheinder was installed inside.

The main component of the high-voltage block is the circuit breaker section, used to cut the power supply. The other component is the busbar section, transferring the electric current necessary for supplying power. The cable section contains cables that are connected to connectors and transformers. All safety and control functions relating to high voltage are integrated into the control or monitoring section. The most important section for the personnel is the channel used to let-off unwanted pressure, electrical arches and flashes.

The equipment tests even included impact, tilting and vibration testing, which are standard tests for shipboard equipment.

The high-voltage vacuum circuit breaker, adapted to work in pairs, was made by ABB. There are strictly defined procedures that need to be observed when working with this device, ensuring a realistic simulation of working with the device.

The accompanying documentation enables fast fault-finding. It is used to repair faults and carry out device maintenance. When working with high voltage it is important to use protective devices, which will be presented at a later time.

The director of Training Centre Atlantis Milivoj Jerkunica closed the presentation, thanking prof. Pero Knezović and harbourmaster Davor Vidan for their help and cooperation. He also thanked Končar director Anđelko Ercegović and others who participated in the construction of the device.

The director thanked the guests from agencies and shipping companies, concluding that the students of the Maritime Education and Training Centre Atlantis are sure to be highly educated professionals, competent to deal with any task entrusted to them.