Rotterdam, 3005-2023In November 2022, impressed by realism of VSTEP’s NAUTIS simulator, KOTUG International rented for the first time the VSTEP simulator to train tug captains and trainers. The simulator’s ability to recreate difficult situations, offer realistic training and shorten training time has helped the customer improve the safety of training and minimize environmental impact by reducing the need for real tug operations. 

KOTUG and VSTEP’s Collaboration 

KOTUG International, a leading maritime service company, has selected VSTEP as a tug simulator provider for their training programs. KOTUG is using the multi-functional NAUTIS tug simulator at VSTEP’s office at Werkplaats in Rotterdam to train their employees as well as many other organizations. The NAUTIS tug simulator provides a platform for KOTUG’s students to navigate challenging situations that are difficult to replicate in real life, leading to more intensive training and shorter training times. 

The customer highlights the simulator’s experiential learning capabilities that allows students to make mistakes, which helps them realize the need for improvement. This, in turn, enhances safety and minimizes the environmental impact of training by decreasing the requirement for real tug operations. 

In addition, the simulator is utilized in a trainer-the-trainer program, where trainers are coached using VSTEP’s solution to provide constructive feedback to trainees. This comprehensive process enables learning by simulation as trainers learn how to enhance the delivery of their message and inspire confidence in their students.  

Our collaboration with KOTUG is truly an honor and a testament to the value that maritime simulation brings to the industry. KOTUG’s commitment to training their tug captains with our NAUTIS tug simulator speaks to their dedication to safety and efficiency in their operations. We are proud to work with such a forward-thinking and safety-focused customer.”

Tije Vos, Commercial Director at VSTEP. 

VSTEP Further Contributes to KOTUG’s Sustainability Efforts 

KOTUG International is known to care about the environment and train in the most sustainable way. NAUTIS simulators have proven to be an excellent tool for reducing the environmental impact in the maritime industry. Simulators produce no exhaust emissions and can be used repeatedly for training and educational purposes, which is highly valued by KOTUG. 

Simulators allow KOTUG International to train their students on how to sail tugs in an efficient and environmentally friendly manner and only practice in a real vessel eco-friendly maneuvers that proven to work on a simulator. With simulators, captains can train in difficult scenarios until they are confident in their skills, reducing the time it takes to properly train someone in the field. While simulators cannot replace real-life experience, they are an essential part of a comprehensive training program that promotes sustainable practices in the maritime industry. VSTEP is excited to play a role in guarding the environment from pollution and reducing the impact by producing quality simulation technology, NAUTIS. 


The NAUTIS tug simulator by VSTEP Simulation is known for its exceptional quality and realism. KOTUG International has noted that the experience of being in the simulator is akin to being in a real tug simulator, enabling highly realistic training. The simulator has proven to be an effective tool in reducing training time while increasing its intensity. Students gain a thorough understanding of the tug boat’s workings and become more confident in their abilities to operate it in real-life situations. This prepares them to transition from the simulator to a real vessel smoothly. 

We are excited to be partnering with VSTEP to provide our tug captains with the best possible training experience. The quality of the NAUTIS tug simulator is superior for tug training, not only in the software itself, but also in the team behind it. The simulator allows our captains to be trained in a more realistic and immersive environment, allowing them to handle difficult situations smoothly. We are confident that this partnership will help us to continue providing the highest level of safety and quality in our tug operations.” 

Daan Merkelbach, Manager Training and Consultancy at KOTUG International.

About Kotug International 

KOTUG International is a leading maritime service provider with over 100 years of experience in the industry. With a focus on safety, efficiency and sustainability, KOTUG provides a range of services such as harbor towage, offshore support, salvage, and emergency response. They operate a fleet of over 70 vessels and have a presence in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas. KOTUG is committed to providing its employees with the best training possible to ensure that they are fully prepared to handle any situation. 


VSTEP creates innovative simulation software for professional organizations worldwide. We are a team of 60 explorers who are always up for challenges. We are not constrained by standards and are flexible in our approach to fulfilling the mission: enable learning by simulation.

We are all dedicated to the same vision: ensure that at least one-third of the maritime industry has obtained their skills through our simulation technology. Hence, we strive to make a great contribution to creating a more sustainable world. We invest in continuous R&D of our software and work passionately as a team to get there.

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