Rotterdam, 25 June 2019 – VSTEP Simulation is excited to announce that NAUTIS Inland simulators are now fully compliant with the new European Standard for Qualification in Inland Navigation (ES-QIN 2018) Part IV, adopted as Resolution CESNI 2018-II-14. This compliance demonstrates the maritime simulator’s capabilities to quickly adapt to new official training requirements and accommodate changing market conditions.

Changing shipping landscapes

Inland shipping

Inland shipping plays a critical role in the logistics and transportation of goods in Europe. Hundreds of cities and industrial areas across Europe are connected by 40,000 kilometres of waterways. Inland transportation on these waterways is a great alternative for more standard ways of shipping. While road and rail transportation often encounter problems such as congestion or capacity issues, inland waterway transport is praised for its energy efficiency, reliability and high capacity. In addition to these benefits and evolving automation processes, inland shipping will become a standard carrier choice for transportation of goods in Europe.

Now, more than 13,000 active inland vessels sail through European waters. This emphasizes the importance of maintaining high levels of readiness among inland vessel crews with stringent safety standards. Until a few years ago, the Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine (CCNR) was the main organization in Europe to address all inland navigation related issues including the creation of the regulations. In 2015, the CCNR adopted a resolution establishing a committee for the creation of common standards in the field of inland navigation (CESNI). The new committee engages in connecting experts and associates from EU member states and the CCNR as well as members of various international organizations with interests in inland navigation.

The purpose of CESNI is to simplify procedures in the field of regulating inland navigation, so that the experience acquired by the CCNR can be made fully available to all the institutional partners and stakeholders concerned. In November 2018 CESNI adopted the resolution containing Standards for technical and functional requirements applicable to vessel-handling simulators and radar simulators, which proposes January 2022 as the date for entry into force in accordance with article 10 paragraph 2 of CESNI’s Rules of Procedure.

Experts in the field

VSTEP has actively contributed in the EDINNA working group Platina 2 to develop technical simulator standards and facilitate for development of teaching aids and the use of simulators for education, assessment and examination.  EDINNA is officially recognized as a non-governmental organization in 2011 by CCNR participating in various working groups, and one of the participants to the various meetings and working groups organized by CESNI since 2015.

Combining the knowledge of CCNR requirements and field expertise, VSTEP delivered inland simulators to the Maritime Academy Holland training centre for simulator training in full accordance with standards drafted by CCNR, which recently became the CESNI ES-QIN 2018. VSTEP representatives Floris van Gessel, Master Mariner and NAUTIS Product Manager, and Willem van den Esker, Project Engineer at VSTEP, were active participants in the Platina 2 working group and played a major role in the development.

CESNI European Standards will affect numerous parties involved in inland transportation, which includes inland students and professional inland skippers. The 30 inland waterway navigation schools and training centres (EDINNA network) in Europe must ensure that their training methods are always up to date and meet these new official requirements. Many of these schools and training centres have already started to invest in advanced training equipment such as simulation training. It is therefore important that simulators maintain the latest official standards and requirements in order to adequately prepare both students and professional inland skippers to navigate the inland waterways.

Adherence to high standards

Erasmus Bridge Rotterdam

VSTEP always strives to ensure that NAUTIS simulators are in line with industry requirements and standards. Being the first maritime software developer that can already offer inland simulators that are fully compliant with CESNI standards demonstrates this aim perfectly. It shows the strength of the system’s capabilities and the company’s fast reaction to changing industry standards. At the start of 2019 VSTEP signed a contract with CEFA Inland school in Huy, Belgium to deliver the first CESNI compliant NAUTIS full mission inland simulator. This configuration will enable students to improve their skills in an immersive, safe and controlled environment.

NAUTIS inland simulators allow for a wide range of education and examination options for inland radar navigation, communication, visual navigation and vessel handling. Each set up uses the same software for vessel dynamics and outside view as a base, and includes the most important instrument displays, an inland navigation radar with same functionalities as a type approved radar according ES-TRIN, as well as an inland ECDIS on larger setups. Four different, fully ES-QIN compliant set ups are available to fit individual training needs.

“As contributing party to and early adopter of upcoming standards, NAUTIS Inland Simulators are developed with primary focus on inland radar navigation, visual navigation and vessel handling particularly on inland waterways. Phenomenal visual and behavioural realism in a close to real wheelhouse are the results of using latest techniques in simulation, emphasized by experience in navigating European inland waterways.” – explains Floris van Gessel, Master mariner and NAUTIS product manager at VSTEP.

To learn more about each set up, visit our Inland page.


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.

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