27 Jul 2023

World-class simulation training is helping North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP) marine pilots stay at the top of their game more than 950 kilometres from their home ports.

NQBP’s pilotage team joined terminal operators and tug masters to test their limits at the Queensland Government’s Smartship Australia facility in Brisbane using virtually recreated ports of Hay Point and Mackay.

NQBP Acting CEO Belinda Kenny said the port industry collaboration saw stakeholders undertake state-of-the-art shipping simulations over two days.

“Working with Maritime Safety Queensland including the Regional Harbour Master, terminal operators, and towage operators, we explored our operational limitations in a safe environment without any disruptions to trade,” Ms Kenny said.

“This simulation training leads to real-world improvements to our port operations.

“The simulations brought to life the berthing of virtual vessels up to 300 metres in length in all types of weather conditions and loading capacities.

“Navigating ships in and out of our ports is a complex and specialised job. Our pilots handle more than 2,800 shipping movements a year. So, it’s vital to be able to hone their skills alongside port stakeholders,” Ms Kenny said.

“NQBP continues to lead the way in pilot competence and safe pilotage integrating innovative approaches to their professional development including simulation training.”

Smartship Australia Director and Principal Instructor Captain Peter Listrup said modern marine simulation systems played a key role in improving safety and efficiency outcomes for port operations.

“Simulation provides a zero-risk training environment for marine pilots to develop and enhance their piloting skills,” Captain Listrup said.

“Smartship Australia welcomes working with forward-thinking organisations like NQBP.”


NQBP marine pilots are responsible for the safe navigation and manoeuvring of ships at the ports of Hay Point and Mackay. They are highly skilled and experienced mariners that provide local knowledge to the ship’s masters.

Smartship Australia operated by Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) within the Department of Transport and Main Roads, is based at the Brisbane Airport and provides world-class marine simulation services.

Images for download

Image 1: NQBP marine pilots Willliam Woest, Captain Ben Ranson and Tony Gofton undergoing world-class training on the bridge of a ship simulation.

Image 2: Smit Lamnalco Mackay Tug Master Dean Beynon joined NQBP pilots at the Smartship Australia simulation facility.

North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation contact:

Amanda Blines | Senior Advisor Brand and Communications
0439 703 330 | ablines@nqbp.com.au