San Jacinto College Maritime hosts Port of Houston research projects

Mar 25, 2020Melissa Trevizo

The San Jacinto College Maritime Technology & Training Center in partnership with the Houston Pilots is enabling some of the industry's most respected names to conduct research through the use of high-tech maritime simulation.

Through a $1 million donation from the Houston Pilots, San Jacinto College houses three state-of-the-art, full-mission bridge simulators featuring 65 hydrodynamically accurate vessels that can be operated in 10 regions worldwide.

"Our Konsberg simulators are hydrodynamically accurate," said John Stauffer, Maritime Technology and Training Center associate vice chancellor. "This allows an organization to come in to conduct waterway research and rely on the technology to react in the same way the water and vessels would in the real world."

Not only do the Houston Pilots conduct their research at the center, but the Port of Houston, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as companies like the Maritime Pilot's Institute and Waterway Simulation Technology Inc., have utilized the facility.

"The facilities at San Jac are great," said Larry Daggett, vice president of Waterway Simulation Technology Inc. "It is important to have three simulators so that we can run two tug simulators interacting with large ship simulators. We can adjust situations as needed, and it has been a great help to our research."

Daggett, former chief of navigation with the Army Corps of Engineers — in conjunction with George Burkley, executive director of the Maritime Pilot's Institute — have worked together on the Port of Houston's expansion projects, running feasibility studies on widening and deepening the Port to allow two-way traffic.

"San Jacinto College simulation has been central to research and operational success of emerging energy export projects such as Louisiana's Cameron LNG export facility, Texas' Freeport LNG export facility, and utilization of VLCC crude carriers for oil export out of Texas City and Corpus Christi," said Burkely. "These simulation tools enable advanced team training of ship pilots and tug operators in projects that propel America's capacity to export energy."

With research continuing in the Houston region, San Jacinto College expects to continue welcoming researchers to its Maritime Center.