Rotterdam, 11 October 2021 – VSTEP is delighted to step in to create an identical experience for STC’s students so they can practice on a simulator before they get to train on the Ab Initio ship.

Ab Initio: What & Why? 

STC Group owns two Inland training vessels, Prinses Christina and Prinses Beatrix, that became expensive to maintainoperate and keep compliant because they are getting fairly outdated. As an innovative school that strives to teach their students on modern vessels, STC (read more about STC here) took the initiative to build the Ab Initio ship together with Concordia DAMEN. Ab Initio will comply with the CESNI requirements and be built in line with the latest industry standards. The vessel will be commenced by autumn 2022 and replace both ships. 

At STC, they take education seriouslyand it’s rarely the case that a student would go on to an internship without having steered a vessel. On Ab Initio, students will put theory into practice. Getting on an actual vessel gives them purely realistic experience, including running an engine room and working shoulder to shoulder with other students. This way, students will be fully equipped and prepared for their future jobs.

VSTEP: Unique Value Proposition or Waste of Time? 

At VSTEP, we argue that having a real vessel and a simulator is not mutually exclusive but complementary. We were delighted to be able to step in and challenge ourselves to create an identical experience for STC’s students, which includes reproducing the graphics and behaviors of Ab Initio. 

In our opinion, it’s not only advisable but also necessary to train students on a simulator beforehandand Joep BontenSenior Project Manager at STC, agrees with us: 

“At STC, training on a psychical vessel and a simulator goes hand-in-hand. First, our students practice on desktop simulators, which is extremely time-efficient because then a few students can operate the vessel at the same time as opposed to one student operating a real vessel. Secondly, on a simulator students can be fully trained for emergencies whereas in the real world, a supervisor will obviously have to intervene not to let too dangerous situations happen. At a job involving navigating a ship, it’s surely useful to know in theory what to do when an incident occurs, but in practice, a lot of things are at play, including human factors… Students can simply get nervous and start panicking. So, for us, as an educational provider, it’s at foremost importance to prepare our students for emergencies and doing it on a simulator instead of a real ship is the safest, most effective and economical way.”

Joep added:

Given the high realism of NAUTIS Simulatorsadditional visualization system, value for money and CESNI compliance, of course, NAUTIS Simulators turned out to be the most economically advantageous offer. 

Besides being intrigued by the technical challenge and being able to help the customer, at VSTEP we also excited about the environmental aspect. Both STC Group and VSTEP are environmentally-conscious and will take the necessary steps to minimize the environmental impact. 

The Ab Initio is an exciting project, and we are glad to be a part of it! Our extensive expertise will serve as an intermediate step between theory and real-life practice at the Ab Initio. We will create an identical experience for students, which will prepare them for their future careers and give STC Group a unique edge in the maritime education arena.” 

  Kimberly Stolk, Business Developer at VSTEP 

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VSTEP’s Commitment

NAUTIS simulators are one of the most advanced maritime simulators available in the market and VSTEP team is always committed to developing the most efficient, innovative and user-friendly maritime simulators, which are not only compliant to industry standards but can also be adapted to comply with local rules and regulations.


VSTEP makes sure that you are prepared for real-life situations with our leading solutions for simulation and virtual training. Our state-of-the-art products allow you to train your skills for every scenario possible in a practical, cost effective and sustainable way. We are a Dutch based and ISO9001:2015 certified company. Stay up-to-date about the developments at VSTEP by subscribing to our newsletter or follow us on Linkedin.