Offshore Support Journal April 2019

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April 2019

Subsea: Bold design combines versatility and economy

OPERATOR PROFILE ADNOC targets 70% gains in logistics management

DIVE SUPPORT How DSVs stack up against ROVs

ENERGY-EFFICIENT OSVs Charterers require fuel monitoring

FLEET MANAGEMENT Pooling resources brings life to idle vessels

Contents April 2019 volume 22 issue 3




European OSV Market – special report

8 A raft of well decommissioning projects could bring some much-needed vitality to the flat North Sea OSV market

Operator profile – Middle East


13 Synergy Offshore FZ LLE chief executive Fazel A Fazelbhoy discusses the Middle East offshore oil and gas sector, which remains under pressure from a massive oversupply 17 How ADNOC plans to grow oil production by 70% by 2030

Middle East OSJ Conference preview 20 Omani state-owned National Ferries Co has achieved rapid growth

Autonomous vessel technology

25 While the technology is progressing quickly, regulations to govern the design and use of autonomous vessels are lagging behind


Cranes, A-frames and winches

30 The technology behind Macgregor’s new FibreTrac crane 33 Combatting the risk of dropped objects in the workplace

Dive support vessels

36 Can the DSV market succeed in the face of competition from ROVs?

Bridge systems and electronics


40 The latest in navigation technology, including a look at IMO’s new guidelines for the performance of navigation equipment

Dynamic positioning

44 Creating a bespoke approach to training 46 The role of artificial intelligence and computer algorithms in DP system maintenance and operations

Energy-efficient vessels

49 Fleet tracking systems are now being mandated by charterers to lower fuel costs and reduce emissions

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019

Contents April 2019 volume 22 issue 3

Fleet management

55 By pooling resources, OSV owners can leverage economies of scale and put idle vessels back to work

Subsea update

Editor: John Snyder t: +1 917 886 5192 e: Production Editor: Kevin Turner t: +44 20 8370 1737 e:

61 An influx of offshore construction vessel newbuilds looks set to stifle any gains that may arise from increasing subsea tree installations 62 A new series of subsea support vessels will provide operators with a wide range of configurations

Brand Manager – Sales: Ian Glen t: +44 7919 263 737 e:

Vessel news

Sales: Colin Deed t: +44 1239 612384 e:

64 While a recovery remains elusive, several significant contracts have been won of late for subsea and IMR work

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Main area report: Middle East; Safety; Digital solutions for OSVs; Crewboats and helicopters; Daughter craft and rescue boats

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Offshore Support Journal | April 2019

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Offshore spending recovery will bring safety challenges

T John Snyder, Editor


here’s a slow recovery underway in the offshore oil and gas sector. After years of lacklustre spending, offshore oil and gas majors are set to invest US$208Bn on offshore drilling and oilfield services this year. As a result, OSV operators are preparing for the recovery by reactivating a few vessels and recruiting and hiring new mariners. It’s a welcome sign for the OSV market after many lean years, but it is one that comes with a big caveat. While we often focus on improvements to vessel designs, propulsion systems etc, we should not overlook a vessel’s most important safety system – its crew. What’s interesting to note is that an accident can occur based on a series of seemingly minor errors, all of which are necessary for the casualty to take place. In other words, if just one of the errors had been prevented, the accident could have been averted. Vessel operators might find it helpful to read a maritime safety guidance that was published three years ago by the UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency that covers “The Deadly Dozen”– the most common crew-related factors in an accident and the mitigating actions available to companies, masters and mariners. The 12 factors were compiled based on nearmiss reports from 2003-2015. As outlined below, the “Dirty Dozen” are as follows: • Situational awareness – This was reported in 22.5% of near-miss reports. Operators should build an effective safety culture and encourage their mariners to be aware of the big picture and fine detail, never assuming another crewmember’s intentions. Companies should develop effective policies and procedures with the input from their crews. • Alerting – This was reported in 15.3% of near-miss incidents. Operators should teach mariners to speak up and propose solutions. • Communication – Cited in 13.4% of incidents, companies should build

communication and cultural awareness through familiarisation programmes and assess communication skills as part of the recruitment process. Mariners should make sure they understand instructions clearly. Different cultures can interpret messages differently. • Complacency – Complacency was cited in 12.6% of near-miss incidents. Mariners should never assume everything is okay and procedures should be followed. • Culture – This was cited in 11.4% of nearmiss incidents reported. Your company safety culture should be embraced from top to bottom. Companies should strive for continued improvement in their safety culture. • Fit for duty – This one seems obvious and accounted for less than 1% of nearmiss incidents, but bears reinforcement. Alcohol, drugs, injuries and illness can impair judgment, thinking and cause distractions. • Fatigue – Crew fatigue can be deadly. It should be monitored and managed closely. • Distractions – Distractions can be both personal – a call from home, for example – or business related. • Pressure – Good pressure can lead to improved performance, but too much pressure can lead to overload and failure. • Capability – Is your crew trained properly to handle the task or tasks? Skills, qualifications and training should be checked constantly and reinforced to ensure performance. • Teamwork – The master and crew should work together. Bridge resource management was a key factor in the sinking of the US-flagged cargo ship El Faro. • Local practices – Ensure that your mariners don’t cut corners and adopt “local customs” as normal and always adhere to company policies and procedures. While artificial intelligence and autonomy hold the promise of improving maritime safety, it’s important to keep in mind that your mariners will always be your first line of defense against a casualty. OSJ

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019

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8 | EUROPEAN OSV MARKET special report

Are well decommissioning projects a panacea for flat rates? North Sea tendering activity is up but rates remain flat; is well decommissioning the answer?


ffshore markets have started to inflect, but the pace of recovery will likely disappoint many.” This is the opinion of London-based Maritime Strategies International associate director Gregory Brown, who

feels current exploration plans appear insufficient to drive the market back to the highs of the last cycle. “To date, any increase in demand has been met with the reactivation of tonnage – as with the North Sea last year where demand increased by about 20 vessels but

utilisation was broadly flat,” Mr Brown explains, adding, “We think vessel owners reactivating tonnage without a firm contract are far too optimistic about the broader industry.” Some OSV owners have reported increased tendering activity in the

The North West Hutton platform was decommissioned back in 2009, resulting in some 20,000 tonnes of steel being recycled (image: Heerema Marine Contractors)

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019

special report EUROPEAN OSV MARKET | 9

North Sea. In reporting his company’s FY2018 results, Nordic American Offshore (NAO) chairman and chief executive Emanuele Lauro said he was “encouraged that activity and daily rates for PSVs in the North Sea have increased markedly in the past month, indicating improved fundamentals and boding well for the remainder of 2019.” He said the average utilisation rate for NAO’s nine operational vessels during Q4 2018 was 70%, which was the highest quarterly utilisation during 2018 and much higher than Q4 2017, when three vessels were laid-up and the corresponding utilisation for the vessels trading was 53%. Mr Lauro reported that during Q4 2018, NAO secured long-term charters for two PSVs: “So far in 2019, we are seeing a steady stream of tenders. Although rates are still below levels that are required to be sustainable, rates are generally on the rise compared to last year,” he said. There are currently about 50 PSVs in lay-up in the North Sea. Mr Lauro pointed out that the cost of reactivating these vessels “will demand substantially higher earnings in the spot and term market than what the market is currently yielding.”

Consolidation ahead?

While the OSV market looks ripe for more merger activity, Mr Brown says there are several headwinds to largescale sector consolidation – mostly notably involving sector balance sheets. “The industry remains far more leveraged today relative to the last major consolidation round,” he explains. “That leverage is both preventative – there is a lack of financial liquidity and apparent waning appetite to provide acquisition finance to the energy industry – and prohibitive, [because] potential consolidators have little appetite to consolidate debt.” He goes on to point out that the ‘white knight’ deals seen often through the global financial crises have been largely absent in this downturn, and the industry has instead been forced


to restructure aggressively or been left to hit the wall. “The latter could be a course of future activity, as banks look to recover losses on debt written off,” he warns. On recent evidence, notably Tidewater, it appears that wellcapitalised players are looking to take advantage of the distressed nature of the competition and are able to close such deals. In discussing consolidation in the OSV market, VesselsValue’s head of offshore Robert Day says Scorpio Group only just missed out after its acquisition of NAO, which he describes as a potentially “behemoth” deal. In explaining why the combined Tidewater and Gulfmark merger was so attractive, he says the historic worth was outlined as the most important aspect when looking at an acquisition and highlights the spread of value, taking GulfMark as an example: peaking at US$2.23Bn with 82 vessels in 2013, he observed a US$2Bn spread to Gulfmark’s value today, of US$285M, with 66 vessels. The company’s discounted cash flow (DCF) of US$1Bn was also cited as a stark buying signal; DCF analysis calculates what can be earned in the remainder of a fleet or asset’s lifetime. With market value being lower in comparison, there is potential; Mr Day describes DCF as “sitting nicely in the middle of the best-and-worst case scenario.” He notes that the marriage of geographical coverage between the two OSV owners was almost perfect.

Tidewater’s operations spanning the US Gulf, West Africa, the Middle East and East Asia and GulfMark’s presence in the North Sea ensured a global footprint. The result of the merger is that Tidewater has a fleet of 253 vessels, with combined assets of the deal totalling US$1.143Bn. Mr Day also brought attention to US-based Harvey Gulf International Marine’s recent desire to merge with a European OSV owner. Mr Day speculates that Norway’s Solstad, Bourbon and the UK’s Vroon would be the “most eligible bachelors.”

Following Tidewater’s lead

According to Maritime Strategies International, around 30% of the OSV fleet, or about 1,665 vessels, are currently laid up globally. Around 60% of these are more than 15 years old. “We think it’s increasingly unlikely that these vessels will return to the active fleet, says Mr Brown. “For those younger vessels that are in layup, their potential return to the market depends on the state they have been kept in. We think that the low hanging fruit – those vessels which were kept in good order – has yet to be exhausted but is dwindling as vessels get back to work.” Scrapping of OSVs and mobile drilling units (MODUs) hit record levels last year, according to VesselsValue senior analyst Court Smith. It was the fourth year in a row that vessel scrapping in the OSV sector has risen, with 105 OSVs and 37 MODUs heading to shipbreakers. “There are three main factors that will cause an owner to remove a ship from service,” said Mr Smith. “A higher price being offered by recycling buyers, current, as well as expected, spot market returns and the cost of drydocking a ship at its next yard period.” The dollar per lightweight ton cost of recycling ships is driven by demand in the physical economy and correlates with the price of raw steel. Prices per LWT rose throughout 2017, but most recycling occurred when prices were

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019

10 | EUROPEAN OSV MARKET special report

essentially flat in 2018. “Hopefully, 2019 will see a continuation of this trend in vessel scrapping,” said Mr Smith. The top shipowners selling vessels for recycling were US-based Tidewater, which sent 21 vessels to demolition, followed by South Korea’s Sinokor, which disposed of 11 and NAO, which sent 10 to the scrapyard. Tidewater president, chief executive and director John Rynd made a point to tell delegates at the Annual Offshore Support Conference, Awards & Exhibition in London that his company was going to continue to rationalise its fleet and had plans to sell or scrap another 40 vessels this year. The idea, Mr Rynd said, was to “right size” his fleet in preparation for a market rebound. It was focusing on trimming those older vessels from its fleet that would soon face costly surveys and drydockings. “Let’s get rid of a liability and make it an asset,” said Mr Rynd. Last year, Tidewater activated five vessels and, according to Mr Rynd, has 24 other “Tier 1” vessels staged for reactivation as market conditions improve. The 24 vessels include platform supply vessels with clear deck areas of more than 700 m3 and AHTS vessels with bollard pulls of 80 tonnes or more. All of the vessels are DP2 class and less than 10 years old. “Tidewater’s steely focus on scrapping non-performing vessels should encourage more owners to follow suit,” said Mr Smith. “The benefits of reducing oversupply will be felt throughout the industry and help bring balance sheets back into the black.” However, it is a bitter pill to swallow. Many of these vessels will be sold at levels far below the purchase price achieved prior to 2014 and owners will have to take haircuts on these vessels. In reporting its FY2018 results, which showed a 19.9% drop in adjusted revenues year-on-year – tumbling from €860.6M (US$972.4M) to €689.5M (US$779.2M) – France-based Bourbon said it sold 15 vessels, six of which were scrapped. One of the largest OSV

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019

disappoint stakeholders – older vessels owned by small entities remain in the market and are unlikely to be removed.” “We think this year will see a gradual improvement. On a global scale, we think AHTS vessels should hover between 50-60% this year, before improving to around 65% in 2020. For PSVs we think utilisation will be broadly flat this year at around 50%, but could move higher to about 60% through 2020-21.” Amid increased environmental regulatory pressure, Mr Brown thinks that dual fuel and LNG-fuel vessels will look to capture market share in Northern Europe.

Well decommissioning Gregory Brown (MSI): “There are several headwinds to large-scale sector consolidation”

owners, Bourbon has tried to apply a tourniquet to stop the red ink by selling or scrapping the non-core assets in its fleet. It reported that its “net noncurrent assets decreased by €312.2M (US$352.8M), in line with our will to streamline our fleet by disposing of ‘nonsmart’ and non-strategic vessels.” Bourbon said its results reflected the fourth year of the industry’s cyclical downturn. The silver lining was that for the first time since 2014, its utilisation rates and daily rates stabilised over the last three quarters of the year, showing a gradual recovery in its customers’ activity. Mr Brown thinks that while scrapping levels have increased, they remain insufficient to balance the market. “We remain of the view that due to the fragmented nature of the market, scrapping levels may

One particularly bright spot in the North Sea is the well decommissioning market. Designed to operate for decades, some oil and gas wells have been in the water since the 1970s. Of the 7,800 wells drilled in the UK North Sea, hundreds are now past their original design life and many others are approaching the end of their useful lives. Mr Brown feels strongly that the decommissioning of these wells represents an opportunity for European OSV owners: “We think that OSVs have a real part to play either through the actual P&A campaign itself or through the adjacent markets, such as towing barges, removing mattresses and subsea structures or monitoring requirements. The market is robust and it will be for the long term.” From 2019-2028, MSI estimates that spending in the global decommissioning market will be US$78Bn, with the largest European markets accounting for about for 45% of the total, led by the UK with US$23.4Bn, followed by Norway (US$8.6Bn) and the Netherlands (US$3.1Bn). In the UK North Sea, decommissioning accounts for about 8% of spending as compared with an average of 5% globally. While OSV owners wait for capex in greenfield and brownfield projects to

special report EUROPEAN OSV MARKET | 11

recover, the decommissioning market is real and here. One of the first large steel jacket platforms to be removed from the North Sea was the North West Hutton platform, which had begun producing oil since 1983. Back in 2008 and 2009, BP hired Heerema Marine Contractors Netherlands BV for the decommissioning, removal and recycling and disposal of the North West Hutton platform. Some 20,000 tonnes of steel was recycled as a result of the removal. BP currently has three decommissioning projects underway in the North Sea. “On pure fundamentals alone, plug and abandonment represents an attractive play,” says Mr Brown. He notes that decommissioning activity over the next five years is going to be driven by 240 exploration and appraisal wells that require permanent abandonment, 310 shut-in wells, 44 plugged wells and another 400 wells that were plugged prior to abandonment. He says exploration and appraisal drilling in the North Sea has been in decline since 2008, while development wells have been halved since the downturn in 2015. While there was some fairly robust development activity in 2018, there is not going to be a recovery to pre-2009 activity levels, even in the best-case scenarios. Mr Brown notes that the North

Sea oil and gas market reached a tipping point in 2017. “More wells were plugged and abandoned than drilled in the UK continental shelf. There were 163 wells decommissioned in 2017 at a cost of £446M (US$591M) in comparison to 76 abandonments in 2016. We expect considerable growth over the next five years – an average of 200 abandonments per year to 2023.” He said decommissioning these wells is a costly challenge, but one that the industry has accepted and is now getting on with. The average cost of decommissioning a well is falling globally as the market matures. As well as lower drilling rates, this reflects the efficiencies that have been realised through the downturn. In terms of overall spend, 49% is focused on the three main phases of decommissioning: reservoir abandonment; intermediate abandonment; and wellhead and conductor removal. In a typical P&A project, a vessel or mobile rig is mobilised to the well site, the well is killed, tubing is pulled and completion lowered, the reservoir is plugged and the primary and secondary barriers are set. Then the surface plug is set, the upper part of the conductor, wellhead and casing strings are removed and cut,

and finally the site is demobilised. While a semi-submersible rig is typically used for P&A operations, Mr Brown sees real opportunities for OSVs. A riserless well intervention vessel (RWIV) is limited to areas where it does not have to pull well strings or do any heavy lifting; anything that requires section milling or cutting is out of bounds. However, the setting of the surface plug and the upper part of the conductor and the casing strings are very much achievable using an OSV and an RWIV. The unknowns are the biggest challenges when planning a P&A campaign, such as what the inside of the well looks like, collapsed tubing and casing, or inclement weather. Mr Brown thinks that RWIVs can handle the full P&A on low- and medium-complexity wells in shallow waters, but that operators will still prefer to use semi-submersibles when section milling and section lifting are required. There are similar P&A opportunities in the Netherlands and Norway, but on a smaller scale, with the expectation of activity ramping up in 2023. “In Norway, the vast majority of work will centre around Equinor’s infrastructure,” says Mr Brown, adding that given the scale of the work and the operator concentration, there might be the opportunity to perform under a batch campaign. OSJ

LEFT: Helix Energy Solutions’ riserless well intervention vessel, Seawell, operates in the North Sea

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019

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Middle East: Treading water, but in the right direction The Middle East offshore oil and gas sector remains under pressure from a massive oversupply, according to Synergy Offshore FZ LLE chief executive Fazel A Fazelbhoy

Bourbon Gulf vessels are supporting offshore projects in Qatar


peaking to delegates at the Annual Offshore Support Journal Conference, Awards and Exhibition in London in February, Fazel A Fazelbhoy chief executive of Synergy Offshore FZ LLE explained that the offshore market in the Middle East has experienced “some pretty tough days in the last five years,” with offshore losing capital allocation to onshore conventional oil and to shale. “We’re treading water,” said Mr Fazelbhoy. “We’re not taking water on board, but we’re not doing great either.” Oversupply in all OSV sectors – about 100 of the 450 vessels in the Middle East have been repositioned from Southeast Asia – continues to depress day rates and lower contract renewals and extensions. There are 60 vessels stacked and utilisation rates have averaged between 60-65%. OSV owners’ balance sheets have taken a beating and there has been a number of mergers and acquisitions, restructurings and consolidation in the market. The good news is that “day rates have bottomed out and utilisation rates have started creeping up,” said Mr Fazelbhoy, “and there are a few companies claiming utilisation rates over 90%.”

While utilisation has stabilised and is edging upwards, the day rates in the market are not expected to recover until the end of this year and possibly 2020. Taking a closer look at regional activities, Mr Fazelbhoy said the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) plans to ramp up its production to 4 mbpd by 2020 and 5 mbpd by 2030. Over the next five years, US$130Bn will be spent on offshore development, with Italy’s Eni and Thailand’s PTTEP being named as the first awardees of offshore production under Abu Dhabi’s first competitive open block strategy. “These companies are spending 100% of their own money for exploration activities,” said Mr Fazelbhoy. “If the fields prove productive, ADNOC has the opportunity for 60% of the equity in the producing fields. At this point, there is no risk, no loss to ADNOC whether the field exploration is successful or not,” he added.

Besides the offshore oil and gas production work, work is underway on the Hail and Gasha artificial island projects that call for support from 118-156 vessels for a period of two to four years. As many as 71 barges, 12 shoalbusters, 42 tugs, five emergency response and rescue vessels, four survey boats and three crewboats will support the work.

Local content increasingly important

Mr Fazelbhoy also highlighted the increasing importance of local content in projects in the Middle East. Under the In-Country Value (ICV) programme, all ADNOC contractors have a “number” based on the degree of local content. For each tender, the bidder with the highest ICV number is given the opportunity to match the lowest bidder’s price. He noted that he has seen cases where non-industry players

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019


with high local content numbers have won tenders, only to then retender them out. “This is a tremendous advantage to the companies that have invested in infrastructure and content in the UAE,” he said. Investment in Saudi Arabia is also ramping up after it held its own Davos in the desert in November, attracting major contractors interested in developing Saudi fields. It resulted in US$34Bn in 15 new deals. Additionally, the In Kingdom Total Value Add (IKTVA) forum, the fourth such event in the series, confirmed another US$27Bn for 31 commercial collaborations. The goal of the IKTVA forum is to increase local content to 70% by 2021, up from its current 40%. Saudi Aramco plans to spend US$334Bn across the oil and gas value chain over the next six years.

Saudi mega-yard to open

The “big event” in Saudi Arabia, Mr Fazelbhoy said, is the opening of the first phase of the $US5.2Bn Saudi mega-yard. Located at Ras Al-Khair, International Maritime Industries (IMI) is 51% owned by Saudi Aramco, 19.9% by Saudi Arabia-based shipping company Bahri, 20% by Dubai-based Lamprell and 10% by South Korea-based Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI). Divided into four zones, IMI will offer rig fabrication, merchant ship construction, boat building, and general ship repair. Its facilities will include a 490 m x 90 m rig dock, a 550-m long ship dock, a 25,000-tonne-capacity Syncrolift and two massive cranes. The facility has already solved one of the biggest challenges for shipyards: sales. Over a 10-year period, Bahri will place orders with the IMI yard to construct a minimum of 52 different vessels including 20 VLCCs, plus use IMI for most of its vessel maintenance, repair and overhaul requirements. Zone D, its rig fabrication yard, will be operational by the end of this year, where technical partner Lamprell will complete the construction of the first two jackup rigs that will be assembled

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019

at the shipyard. Lamprell will undertake most of the fabrication work for both jackup rigs at its Hamriyah yard in the UAE while maximising work in Saudi Arabia to approximately 15% of the scope of work. Lamprell will also be the technical partner for Zone A, the general ship repair facility that will be open in 2021. Zone C, the shipyard facility, will have a capacity to produce three VLCCs plus 15 other merchant vessels per annum and be operational in 2020. Zone B, the boatbuilding facility, will have a capacity of 15 OSVs per annum and will be operational in 2021. HHI will be the technical partner for both zones. IMI is a cornerstone of the Saudi government’s Vision 2030 programme that aims to diversify the country’s economy, employment and revenue. Local content is going to be a key when competing for work in Saudi Arabia said Mr Fazelbhoy. In June 2017, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain severed diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar, over

Fazel A Fazelbhoy (Synergy Offshore FZ): “The Middle East has remained the bright spot because the activity has remained consistent”


allegations that it supports terrorism, which it vehemently denies. As a result of the trade embargo between the countries, all of the OSVs from Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been terminated by Qatar Petroleum and forced to leave Qatar. As a result, Qatar-based Hallul Offshore Services Co, a subsidiary of Milaha, and Bourbon Gulf have both filled the vacuum. Bourbon Gulf is a joint venture between Qatari entrepreneur Nasser Saeed A. SH AL Hajri and Paris-based Bourbon Marine & Logistics. A large discovery of 80Bn barrels of oil and 13.7 tcf of gas reserves has put Bahrain into the offshore spotlight, said Mr Fazelbhoy. “It currently has production of 49,000 bpd but can reach the potential of 200,000 bpd, which should provide offshore development work for the next five years. “The Middle East has remained the bright spot because activity has remained consistent,” said Mr Fazelbhoy. “There are about 115 rigs operating in the Middle East, which is about 40% of the global contracted supply and rig utilisation is about 75%, compared to the global average of 60%. That has been a good indicator. We’re still treading water, but for the time being, we have a direction and the direction is generally upwards.” OSJ Mr Fazelbhoy will be one of the presenters at the Middle East Offshore Support Journal Conference in Dubai 24-25 April 2019.

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Middle East Offshore Support Journal Conference 24-25 April 2019, Dubai

The changing face of OSV supply and demand in the Middle East The Middle East Offshore Support Journal Conference in Dubai brings the leading shipowners, oil and gas majors, EPC contractors, technology and service providers together to discuss how best to plan for predicted OSV demand in the coming years.

Join us to hear our expert speaker panels discuss:

• OSV supply and demand forecasts • What types of vessels will be required? • What sources of finance are available to vessel owners in the Middle East? • How to adapt your risk management strategy • How digital technologies can improve performance and profits • What does the 2020 Sulphur Cap regulation mean for OSV owners.

Book your place online today at or for more information please contact Rigzin Angdu on +65 6809 3198 or at Sponsors



ADNOC plans 70% gains by improving logistics

ADNOC Offshore oversees the logistics for more than 200 vessels operating in the offshore oil fields of Abu Dhabi

ADNOC has ambitious plans to grow oil production by 70% by 2030, with AI and digitalisation key to this strategy


lready the world’s 12th largest oil producer, the UAE’s Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has ambitions to grow its oil production capacity by almost 70% by 2030. Key elements of that strategy include the increased use of digitalisation and artificial intelligence (AI) in its operations and expanding its international partnerships. In order to align with ADNOC’s 2030 strategy, ADNOC Offshore, its logistics arm, needed to gain better control and have better insight into its logistics supply chain. At last year’s Middle East Offshore Support Journal Conference in Dubai, ADNOC Offshore marine specialist for marine support Hussam F Suyyagh provided a glimpse into how the stateowned oil company was transforming its logistics supply chain, via digitalisation that will allow datadriven decisions in a newly created logistics operations centre (LOC). ADNOC Offshore Hussam F Suyyagh (ADNOC): was formed by the Transforming the logistics supply consolidation of two of chain via digitalisation ADNOC’s upstream oil

and gas companies: Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company (ADMA-OPCO) and Zakum Development Company (ZADCO). Japan's JODCO, the UK's BP and France's Total are all minority stakeholders in ADMA-OPCO, while ZADCO’s shareholders are ADNOC, Exxon Mobil, and JODCO. “As the logistics entity within ADNOC, we need more efficiencies coming from our partners that will make our business model more sustainable,” said Mr Suyyagh. “We are trying to embrace technology by introducing and adopting IT solutions.” He pointed out that improving insight into the logistics supply chain is especially critical when you have hundreds of vessels that are being operated by multiple companies working in your offshore fields. The waters of the offshore oil production area can be a beehive of activity, marked by short, speedy vessel transits. “We have about 206 vessels operating in our fields, of which 93 are under long-term contract and another 113 contracted on a project capacity,” said Mr Suyyagh. “There are another 11 barges on long-term contracts and seven others chartered on a project capacity working in ADNOC concessions,” he added. Responsible for the development and delivery of oil and gas resources in Abu Dhabi waters, ADNOC Offshore’s logistics mandate also covers 33 support drilling rigs, 13 fixed wing aircraft and helicopters and 14 passenger vessels. There are also 350 landing areas for aircraft, two airports, two passenger and cargo terminals and 10 ports on six artificial and three natural islands over six fields in an area of 23,310 km2.

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019


ADNOC’s own fleet has 15 platform supply vessels, four anchor-handling tug supply vessels, three ferries, nine water taxis, four crew and crew utility boats, three multi-purpose support vessels, five emergency response and rescue vessels and two cargo landing craft. Through additional ADNOC licencing agreements with international partners, oil and gas activity and vessel traffic in the region will only increase. In order to advance its plans to grow from its current capacity of 3M barrels of oil per day (bopd) to 4M bopd by the end of 2020 and 5M bopd by 2030, ADNOC is expanding its development in the first phase of licencing through six new concessions, two offshore and six onshore. As a result, ADNOC’s concessions will increase in area by 50%, making improved logistics even more critical. At the time of the conference, Mr Suyyagh said there would be a number of opportunities for OSV owners beyond just oil and gas production. “There’s also exploration and development and infrastructure that needs to be built, which will definitely have a major impact on the industry,” he said. This past February, for instance, ADNOC awarded a US$1.36Bn contract for the construction of 10 new artificial islands and two causeways, as well as the expansion of an existing island, Al Ghaf, to UAE’s National Marine Dredging Company. The land reclamation, dredging and marine construction project is the first phase of the development of the Ghasa Concession, which consists of the Hail, Ghasa, Dalma Nasr and Mubarraz offshore sour gas fields. The project is a key part of the UAE’s plans to become gas selfsufficient and grow to become an exporter of natural gas. The project will take 38 months to complete and will provide the infrastructure required to further develop, drill and produce gas from the sour gas fields in the Ghasha Concession. At peak construction, the project will employ over 3,500 workers.

Increased visibility

With its oil and gas operations growing, ADNOC formed a new logistics operations centre (LOC) to provide better visibility into its expanding supply chain. The LOC controls and coordinates strategic decisions based on data, while

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Offshore Support Journal | April 2019

collaborating with customers, vendors and third-party logistics companies. Mr Suyyagh said ADNOC Offshore is trying to build a common logistics system to fulfil the quality guidelines of international oil and gas companies. The LOC tracks personnel, vessels, equipment and materials through its four units: marine, which coordinates marine traffic, provides real-time vessel tracking and compiles automated vessel utilisation statistics; personnel transportation, the centralised hub for all travel requests via air or water transport; shipping, which controls material handling for shipping for drilling and production; and drilling, which plans all drilling material movement and tracks vessels movements in real time. Mr Suyyagh emphasised that while the goal of the new technology was to increase efficiency and productivity, this would not be at the expense of safety. “One of our mandates is to have critical emergency preparedness,” he said. Logistical preparedness is at the core of disaster planning, allowing transportation planning, reception and distribution of emergency supplies and management of personnel and equipment resources. Mr Suyyah looks at technology as an enabling tool, not a solution: “We rely on our experienced manpower as the driver of our model.” Implementing the technology solutions at the LOC was expected to take about 24 months. Prior to the consolidation into ADNOC Offshore, ZADCO and ADMA-OPCO used different logistics models, said Mr Suyyah. “Now that we are all under the same roof, we saw productivity and operational efficiencies even before introducing technology into the process.” Mr Suyyagh reported that the average monthly nonproductive days for drilling operations have been reduced from 1.16 days in 2016 to 0.29 days in 2017. Productivity also improved on cargo handling, with increased monthly tonnage totals outbound and reduced monthly tonnage totals inbound. Marine productivity time as expressed by vessel utilisation rose from 63% in Q1 2017 to 70% in Q4 2017. Mr Suyyah said there was a need to get a better balance on day rates that is more sustainable for both owners and charterers. “We want to have a healthier relationship with our partners,” he said. That healthier relationship starts with a better understanding of each other’s businesses. “We want more engagement between our company and OSV owners, which will drive the business forward. There needs to be a better understanding of the charter business model and OSV owners. This is how you can review your strategy and build a resilient company. We appreciate long-term contracts,” he said. OSJ Mr Suyyagh, ADNOC Offshore team leader logistics operation centre, will present at the Middle East Offshore Support Journal Conference in Dubai 24-25 April 2019

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Market shifts, new technologies in focus at next OSJ conference OSJ catches up with two of the speakers scheduled to present at the Middle East Offshore Support Journal Conference in Dubai this April to hear what the future for the sector may hold


Vivek Seth (Arga Energy Consulting): “The solution to oversupply of the OSV fleet in the Middle East is not in the Middle East”

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019

rom a relative perspective, I still see the Middle East as a bright spot,” says Arga Energy Consulting’s managing director Vivek Seth. “Historically, the North Sea has been a good indicator of the oil and gas industry working globally – from market trends to driving new safety initiatives. Although slightly volatile, this summer they’re talking about the rates picking up and there being a squeeze on the availability of vessels, which to me is a good omen for the Middle East,” he explains. With lower oil production costs, shelf markets like the Middle East experience signs of a turnaround more quickly than deep-sea markets. However, Mr Seth says, even an increase in exploration and production spend in the Middle East’s offshore market will not push day rates up for vessels. The additional demand is likely to be covered by a further influx of vessels from Southeast Asia. “[At the] end of the day, it becomes a level playing field because of the commonalities between the Middle East and the Southeast Asian markets, ie the shelf market, predominantly mid-sized and lower-end vessels,” he says. This is part of the “oversupply conundrum” which Mr Seth will address on 24 April, the first day of the two-day Middle East Offshore Support Journal Conference in Dubai. Currently, around 20% of the Middle East fleet is from Southeast Asia, according to Mr Seth, keeping day rates in the Middle East hovering around what he calls the ‘global

average rate’. He cites the lack of cabotage laws and the traditionally open market of the Middle East as fundamental factors working against rate increases. “In the Far East – Indonesia, Malaysia, etc … they have a relatively more mature industry with respect to their cabotage laws. It’s not so easy to just walk into the Far East and start working,” he says. The same has not been true in the Middle East but there are enough commonalities in the fleet profiles of the Middle East and Southeast Asia that the Middle East became an obvious choice for a haven when the market collapsed in Southeast Asia. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have begun implementing frameworks for contracts that are weighted toward local development. But as Mr Seth explains, they do not mirror the legal protections of cabotage law. Despite this, he believes the Middle East market will ultimately become more closed. “In a few years’ time, there will be a preference for local flags and local classification. The UAE has established its own classification society, so I strongly feel, give it a few more years and they will start creating stronger cabotage laws at least in Saudi and in the UAE,” he predicts. The shift, he says, is at least five years away and its course will be marked by a series of economically pragmatic steps to ensure the offshore oil and gas supply chains that feed the region’s economies are not disrupted. “It’s going to happen in a very


phased manner, while managing integrity of operations” Mr Seth says. In the meantime, the vessels from Southeast Asia are in the Middle East to stay. “Assuming it picks up in the Far East, it’s highly unlikely these owners would go back.” So, the downward pressure on day rates will continue, but utilisation rates are steadily creeping up, which is the first sign of the market turning around, Mr Seth says. In the brownfields segment of the Middle East market, Mr Seth retains the optimism he showed at the 2016 Asian Offshore Support Journal Conference in Singapore. “Subsea, yes, I think that will continue to grow. And the brownfields, effectively, yes. The reason why I say that is because there is a backlog at play. Offshore facilities need to be upgraded or new facilities installed for production. No questions about that,” he says. “The only tricky part is, these subsea vessels are high-value assets, so the question would be finding the appropriate solution to do the work in a cost-effective way.”

Optimisation is key, according to Mr Seth

“Besides just providing vessels, can you do services like survey, engineering, subsea, etc? These are the things that are going to be attractive to the client,” he says, adding that integration of services allows owners to step out of the traditional commodity market in to a more diversified landscape. Ultimately, Mr Seth feels this is the best way to “keep the clients and banks happy.” Digitalisation is another route to optimisation and diversification, and Mr Seth says it is particularly advantageous in smaller markets. “It’s those small markets where becoming more efficient in your operations, your cost management, your safety, will make a big difference between the winners and the losers. Digitalisation and big data

are going to be your differentiators in future,” he says.

A future-focussed industry

It is an opinion shared by Dr Demetres Armanes, senior research engineer at ABS. Systems optimisation and harnessing data through digitalisation are the futurefocussed trends which Dr Armanes believes will shape the oversupplied OSV sector. Dr Armanes, who will speak about smart technology and system design during day two of the Middle East Offshore Support Journal Conference in Dubai, highlights integrated digital solutions as the fastest growing areas among shipyards, architects and designers. “The market has understood the power and benefit of free data onboard – along with secure and safe infrastructure to implement this datahandling functionality – and they are asking us for certification,” he says. Owners see these data-harnessing systems offering benefits to their client base, Dr Armanes says, and as a logical solution to the evergrowing reporting load around tied to compliance requirements. “From that end, I think there will be more uptake and it will become more important in relation to the decarbonisation goals that we need to achieve as an industry by 2021,” he notes. “It will be a logical solution for compliance and also, as of now, it affects the price of the vessel. Historical data can provide health state or fuel consumption performance trends. So, that’s another thing for operators to consider when they are investing in a vessel,” he explains, adding “that data will be a part of the resale strategy.” Of course, the digital kit that currently plays the most significant role in the offshore support vessel sector is the dynamic positioning (DP) systems many such vessels have onboard, systems which Dr Armanes sees evolving to become more customised. “We are starting to see applications


Demetres Armanes (ABS): Creating the capability for the industry to make a leap forward

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019


for remote monitoring tying in themes of health or performance states … specifically for the DP systems,” he says. “I think this is an indication of how most technology can be made more specific to an OSV.” This level of specificity in implementing digital tools onboard is the direction of travel for ABS, as Dr Armanes explains: “Even within the same fleet, each vessel might be quite different, so each individual OSV would be treated by ABS as a unique project. And the functionality implemented on that particular vessel would be viewed, implemented and tested on that particular vessel.” ABS offers support to owners agreeing contracts with third-party technologies and digitalisation providers. It does so to ensure all stakeholders are aware of the technical requirements the systems will need to consider to achieve compliance with various class, flag and other regulations. As a further step to help systems meet safety requirements, ABS also offers what it calls service provider ‘recognition’ and product design assessments prior

to a system or systems being brought on board the vessel. This initial wave of digitalisation is already producing results, but will smart systems one day all join up to operate highly-complex vessels with minimal human intervention? “Some players are proposing autonomous vessels,” says Dr Armanes; “I think this is a reality, perhaps, but not an immediate one.” Why, then, are land-based autonomous vehicles evolving more quickly? “The big difference between land and sea is the communications technology. On land, we have highbandwidth communication systems all over, but in a sea-going vessel’s environment, you must have a step-change [in communications technology] to go from partially autonomous to fully autonomous because that link is not there in the marine areas,” he explains. “I think this is the biggest challenge; we need to actually take a leap when we’re ready as an industry. And I think that is just where we are now – creating the capability for the industry to make that leap forward.” OSJ




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Autonomous vessels: regulations must improve to support safe roll-out


utonomous vessels will undoubtedly play a role in future shipping strategies, and as the technology develops, so the potential for such vessels increases. Current projects and studies underway include applications that range from container ships to workboats, but the missing piece of the puzzle – the elephant in the room – is the absence of a well-defined regulatory scheme to govern their use. Last year, IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) laid the groundwork for such regulations by approving a framework and methodology for a regulatory scoping exercise on Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) at its 100th session (MSC100). Over the first half of this year, IMO’s MSC will analyse and determine the most appropriate way of addressing MASS operations taking into account, among other things, the human element, technology and operational factors. An intersessional MSC working group will meet this coming September to move forward with the process, with the ambitious goal of completing the regulatory scoping exercise in 2020. During the regulatory scoping exercise, the MSC will cover how MASS operations are impacted by SOLAS, collision regulations, loading and stability, seafarer training search and rescue, tonnage measurement, safe containers and special trade passenger ship instruments. But one of the key regulatory challenges is to define what is actually meant by an ‘autonomous ship’ according to Bureau Veritas (BV) global technology leader smart ships Najmeh Masoudi, who explained: “IMO is looking at SOLAS and its other codes to develop a gap analysis to define the criteria

Interest in remotely controlled and autonomous vessel technology is growing, but can international regulations keep up?

Najmeh Masoudi (Bureau Veritas): “There are potential challenges on the horizon when the regulatory regimes transition to business-as-usual commercial operations”

required to provide a definition before developing a regulatory framework for autonomous shipping.” At its session in December, the MSC defined provisional degrees of autonomy for its scoping exercise: • Degree one: ship with automated processes and decision support. Seafarers are on board to operate and control shipboard systems and functions. Some operations may be automated and at times be unsupervised, but with seafarers on board ready to take control. • Degree two: remotely controlled ship with seafarers on board. The ship is controlled and operated from another location. Seafarers are available on board to take control and to operate the shipboard systems and functions. • Degree three: remotely controlled ship without seafarers on board. The ship is controlled and operated from another location. There are no seafarers on board. • Degree four: fully autonomous ship. The operating system of the ship is able to make decisions and determine actions by itself. However, Lloyd’s Register (LR) external relations coordinator Paul Carrett says the degrees outlined by the MSC “are not yet a useful way of comparing vessels or usefully understanding their technical ability.” He emphasises that it is more important for a designer or operator to understand the operational context by which their autonomous vessel will be operated, managed and controlled: “For example, via a full onboard crew, reduced onboard crew, via direct remote control or via remote monitoring – an understanding of this then allows the correct assurance approach to be taken.” Over recent years, the major classification societies have developed

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019

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International guidelines must evolve in tandem with new technology to ensure the safety of seafarers

their own guidelines for autonomous shipping, that outline varying degrees of autonomy. Guidelines for Autonomous Shipping, for instance, from Paris-based BV, provide the basis for a risk assessment of ships using autonomous systems. The guidelines offer goal-based recommendations, setting a minimum level of functionality for essential systems and guidance for improving system reliability, including quality assurance. In addition, BV has provided practical notations and guidance addressing cyber security, a major concern for autonomous vessel operation and control. Of course, the guidelines, like the technology, are continuously evolving and this year, Ms Masoudi said that BV will publish a revision to its autonomous shipping guidelines first published in 2017. And while the guidelines evolve, so too does the terminology, which if not standardised and clear, can result in confusion. Mr Carrett stressed the importance of having consistent terminology throughout the industry, including regulatory bodies, class societies and technology providers.

Remote-controlled OSVs

BV has projects underway in the areas of autonomy, including the Smart Ship Programme, a strategic partnership with Paris-based offshore operator Bourbon which aims to optimise the safety and reliability of vessel operations. “The project focuses on redefining bridge ergonomics, improving dynamic positioning (DP) automation through data collecting and analysis, and protecting ships and the environment,” says Ms Masoudi. She adds: “The aim of the Smart Ship programme is to increase the level of automation by enabling ships to transmit data to engineers on shore for analysis and troubleshooting, thereby reducing the number of personnel on-board.” The first application of the Smart Ship programme involved the realtime verification of the DP operations of the Bourbon fleet. BV is certifying the digital survey systems. and both partners are also addressing cyber security issues. Another pilot project involves Norway's Kongsberg Maritime, a strategic partner of Bourbon. Implemented on the Bourbon Explorer

508, operating in the waters around Trinidad, the project will collect data from the vessel’s DP system, with the aim of facilitating remote DP trials on an annual basis. The project, if successful, will also support the development of decision-making and verification applications for both offshore crew and onshore support teams. The project will also address cyber security threats, helping identify and mitigate risks linked to data collection and communication between Bourbon’s vessels and onshore infrastructure. BV is also engaged in other research and development projects, performing studies for autonomous and unmanned ships, including the Dutch Autonomous Shipping Joint Industry Project. Discussing the successful remote control of the 28 m harbour tug Svitzer Hermod in Copenhagen Harbour in 2017, LR’s Mr Carrett says: “We have been working with [Rolls-Royce] since the start of this project and their predictive maintenance is one of the foundational technologies with regards to autonomy…When the aim is to take people off an asset, you have to find another way to understand the

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019


health of the asset using technology.” The UK-based class society has also certified various onboard systems to its Digital Ships ShipRight procedure, including the energy management system on the 20,000 teu container ship COSCO Shipping Aries and the air handling unit and elements of the navigation, cargo and machinery systems of the LPG carrier Trammo Dietlin.

Why autonomy?

While autonomous shipping has undoubtedly captured the imagination, there will inevitably be those involved in the OSV sector that question exactly how the concept will add value to their proposition. Sea Machines Robotics chief executive Michael G. Johnson can answer that question: “The main reasons for autonomous technology are its ability to provide improved performance and productivity.” The Boston-based company has developed autonomous technology that can be installed in existing or newbuild commercial vessels. “Autonomous technology provides significant value in areas of routine operations,” says Mr Johnson. “A large percentage of OSV work is routine, such as regular transits, tracking or loitering. I don’t see heavy cargo OSVs operating unmanned in

the foreseeable future. What I do see is an autonomous system working on behalf of a captain, mate or helmsman to empower operations with vessel intelligence and to de-risk and elevate overall vessel performance.” Mr Johnson expects some of the first applications of autonomous vessel technology to be in heavily routine or dangerous tasks, such as long-duration data collection by survey vessel, or oil spill response activity. Elaborating on the theme, Mr Carrett says there are numerous benefits to implementing autonomous vessel technology. “Autonomous vessels offer an opportunity to reduce offshore manning whilst maintaining presence. The key benefits are being able to use smaller autonomous and unmanned vessels to deliver capabilities currently provided by larger, costlier manned vessels, which is particularly effective when autonomous, unmanned vessels are teamed with manned vessels.” He says that this allows for the “dull, dirty or dangerous tasks” to be carried out by small vessels capable of operating autonomously, or under the close control of a support vessel. “Initially,” he says, “operators should expect to see benefits through increased productivity, but should not expect to see a reduction in manning due to the support crews necessary to operate and

Boston Harbor Cruises and Sea Machines are collaborating in data collection and system testing

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019

maintain the autonomous, unmanned vessels. Access and bandwidth on communication networks will also be a short-term limitation, which may constrain operations to line of sight or remote monitoring only.” While technology has been a central focus of the autonomous vessel discussion, Mr Carrett cautions against neglecting one of the other key parts of the equation – people. “The human element plays a large part in the safety and viability of autonomous vessel operations – a key requirement is that any human presence should be sustainable.” Ms Masoudi also tried to rein in expectations regarding the development of regulations for autonomous vessels. “Technological change can happen rapidly. Regulatory change, on the other hand, typically doesn’t,” she said. She encouraged the marine industry to work together ahead of regulation. “This is the key to getting regulations right and fit for purpose,” she said. “People should not expect a ‘result’ from IMO in the short-term,” she said. “The IMO has commenced working but the initial remit is not to amend regulations but to understand the impact the introduction of MASS will make to the current regulations. Operators should expect to work closely with local regulators, most of whom are taking a proactive approach.” Ms Masoudi warned that there are still hurdles for the industry to clear when it comes to autonomous vessels. “There are potential challenges on the horizon when the regulatory regimes transition from one-off acceptances for demonstrator purposes to businessas-usual commercial operations and operators should be careful to plan for commercial operations and not just technology demonstrators to ensure safety controls are feasible and sustainable.” She concluded: “We will likely first see test cases of specific systems designed to fulfil a specific purpose, then we will need to address the specific regulations around that specific function, and that will slowly build up, particularly in a regulated environment like shipping.” OSJ



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Fibre-rope crane lifts heavier loads for less A new fibre-rope crane dramatically expands depths to which loads can be lifted

MacGregor’s design team focused on the principal benefit of a fibre-rope crane being a smaller, lighter tool


ibre rope weighs very little in water, meaning that regardless of the length of rope paid out, no additional load is experienced by the crane. Wire rope, on the other hand, is heavier and so as more rope is paid out, the permissible load in relation to depth is reduced. A fibre-rope crane with a safe working load capacity of 150 tonnes can replace a wire-rope crane with a safe working load capacity of 250 tonnes when lifting at depths of 3,000 m and can continue to lift loads at even greater depths.

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019

Further, as fibre-rope technology allows a crane to maximise full lifting capacity at any depths, a smaller crane and vessel can be used, enabling owners to bid on a wider range of contracts. And fibre rope lasts longer than wire, further enhancing savings. Using such technology therefore optimises efficiency not just operationally, but also commercially. Presenting at the 2019 Annual Offshore Support Journal Conference, Awards & Exhibition in London, Macgregor’s project engineer and multimedia developer for load handling systems and machine design Scott Garriott outlined the design philosophy behind his company’s new FibreTrac crane, which was officially launched in a two-day event on 13 and 14 February in Kristiansand, Norway. Mr Garriott explained that the company wanted to combine known, tested and certified technologies, while developing a completely integrated control system and liftline management system. It aimed to unite all components and manage them smoothly, acknowledging the importance of accurate rope-health feedback. Finally, MacGregor wanted to work hand-in-hand with a class society to develop a plan for requirements and testing. Mr Garriott said an overarching imperative of the design was the KISS principle, an initialism for “Keep It Simple.” The design team focused on the principal benefit of a fibre-rope crane being a smaller, lighter tool installed on a smaller, lighter vessel. As such, allowing the product to morph into something with extra operational or maintenance complexity would have been a major error, Mr Garriott explained. The rope itself comprises DSM Dyneema fibres with a DM20 XBO coating, which helps reduce the tension required to bend-in the rope, as well as reducing internal heating and abrasion. The rope is produced as LankoDeep rope by Lankhorst in a 12 by 3-strand braid for heavy lifting. The crane has a safe working load of 150 tonnes, and an 88 mm diameter. The current crane has capacity for lifting at depths of up to 4,000 m, which would require the use of a 500-tonne steel-wire crane, Mr Garriott said. The rope is terminated by a specially engineered Applied Fiber socket, which contains individual attachment points for all of the rope’s strands to allow balancing and fitting with strain gauges for testing.


Changing perceptions

While there is a perception that such rope lacks robustness, is prone to salt crystal or grit damage and UV degradation and has poor heat performance, Mr Garriott countered that this rope has been used in many harsh environments, including military, mining and aerospace applications. Further, he noted that testing has proved it can exceed steel in cyclic bend-over-sheave and tension-tension cycles. Mr Garriott went on to cite the example of Skandi Santos, a subsea vessel owned by Avium Subsea that operates a 125-tonne fibre-rope deployment system. The same rope installed on the vessel in 2010 is still in use, and no salt or grit issues have been reported, Mr Garriott said. The crane’s Parkburn Deep Water Capstan comprises twin drums, each driven from one side and co-located, meshing together with fingers to provide a compact tension winch. Numerous contact surfaces make for smooth de-tensioning, avoiding fatigue and fleeting forces. The capstan can accommodate numerous types and sizes of ropes, including twin ropes. The drum’s two halves are offset slightly, providing a V-angle that automatically spaces the rope. They are also offset in the horizontal plane to provide an elliptical rope path. Mr Garriott also detailed some of the technology behind the crane control system (CCS), which incorporates a line-lift management system, an autocooling system and an integrated management system (IMS) to gather data, display relevant operations to operators and also process data for service and maintenance purposes. Information on time, tension and temperature is fed from

Scott Garriott (MacGregor): Fibre-rope allows vessels to do work that traditionally requires heavier vessels and machinery


the crane’s integrated management system into an algorithm that diagnoses rope health and outputs a conservative rope life prediction, not generalised for the rope as a whole, but for every point along the rope. A VisionTek system monitors the lift-line and takes highdefinition images and accurate diameter measurements of all portions of rope passing through it. A baseline is established once the new rope is worked in and can then be conducted at specified intervals, or when there has been a change in rope status or working conditions. This allows the user to build up a database to assess the rope’s condition, based on multiple parameters. The CCS auto-cooling system receives inputs from all over the machine, including real-time temperature measurements taken at dual sensor-sets on the two high-tension sheaves and capstan. If these measurements exceed a set value, the CCS can output an instruction to automatically spray the rope. The system can pick out pertinent data to display to the operator in real time, optimised in a simple traffic-light format. The full database of parameters and rope data that track changes can be accessed by service and maintenance personnel locally, remotely or via satellite, allowing for adjustment of IMS or LLMS parameters to maximise efficiency. MacGregor first started looking into fibre-rope technology in 2010 and launched its fibre-rope range in 2016, developed via a co-operation agreement with UK-based Parkburn Precision Handling Systems, a developer of a fibre-rope tensioning technology. The demonstration in Kristiansand was the culmination of this work. “We are confident that fibre ropes are the future for offshore cranes,” said MacGregor’s vice president for advanced offshore solutions Høye Høyesen. He added: “The market has been reluctant to order the first of such cranes. Therefore, we had to build a fibre-rope crane ourselves, to showcase and prove that the technology works.” The FibreTrac design has been tested, verified and stamped under classification society DNV GL’s ST-0378 Standard for Offshore and Platform Lifting Appliances. It is in the final stages of completing the newly developed standard ST-E407 Rope-Based deployment and Recovery Systems for Designated Service. OSJ

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019

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Equipment designs redrawn to catch dropped-object threat In a bid to prevent equipment and components falling on crew, the offshore industry is taking an increasingly careful look at equipment design


Winches and cranes will come under dropped-object guidance when it is expanded for dynamic drops

ropped objects are dangerous and fatalities frequent in the offshore industry. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, ‘contact with objects and equipment’ was the third biggest cause of deaths in the workplace in the US between 1992 and 2002. The same institute looked at the US upstream oil and gas industry between 2003 and 2014 and found that, of 1,221 deaths, 171 (or 14%) were caused by falling objects. The distress, disruption and expense caused by these incidents is extreme. But although the benefits might seem obvious, it was less than a decade ago that the offshore industry began to look seriously at reducing drops, says ABS director of corporate global business development Demetri Stroubakis. Since then, industry practice has become more standardised, aided by the introduction of ABS’ own dropped object prevention programme (DOPP) in late 2017. “The reason we started looking into this area was because one of the main drilling contractors raised it,” says Mr Stroubakis. “Further conversations with some well-known drilling contractors revealed that they wanted a focus on the equipment side. We found a lack of improvement in equipment

design and a lack of robustness in the design process.” The result was a guide that led to a class notation for offshore utilities. Underlining the role of equipment design, the enhanced notation, DOPP+, requires classification of equipment as well as the asset itself. The guide espouses the idea of ‘inherently safe design’. One good example is the reduction of moving parts. A drill stabiliser unit can have as many as 106 moving parts. With careful redesign, Mr Stroubakis recalls that one supplier made this equipment with just 50 parts, greatly reducing the chance of something working loose and falling. The risk caused by such a situation was cut further by the inclusion of an outer casing, meaning that components would simply fall into the casing, rather than onto the decks below. The applicability of the guide to offshore vessels will be enhanced when it is updated to include dynamic drop risks as well as static ones; while static drops focus on equipment, including A-frames, that can fall under their own weight, dynamic drops occur when moving objects collide with each other. That brings more complicated equipment, including winches and cranes, within the remit of the DOPP guide. “It could include a crane colliding with another crane,

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019


for instance,” says Mr Stroubakis. “It looks at how you set up barriers where there is potential for collisions, including travelling equipment and loads, objects moving at height and in severe weather. These are more destructive incidents potentially and, because they also include the human element, more complicated.” The updated guide will be published in April. Its expansion to cover a wider range of drop hazards and equipment design will mark a further step in improving safety for workers in the offshore industry. Meanwhile, safety at height is preoccupying a Norwegian supplier of offshore lifting equipment. Molde-based Axtech has just delivered initial equipment concept studies focused on windfarm servicing to Norwegian energy company Equinor. For a company that has forged its reputation offering lifting expertise to the subsea market, it is a rare opportunity to look up rather than down. But, says managing director Richard Myhre, the skills and expertise required for this particular problem are very familiar. “Our technology is based on heavy lifting, understanding structures and motion compensation,” he says. “It is not just about what is happening at the seabed. We are interested in the heavy maintenance element.” There is an unsolved challenge in the offshore wind market, says Mr Myhre. When floating windmills reach a certain size, jack-up vessels will no longer work. With some modern turbine designs reaching up to 130 m above the sea, jack-ups would need to be so big that it would be difficult to get close

An enhanced survey regime for equipment with drop potential helps reduce the risk of fatalities (image: OES)

to the installations. Perennial troubles, notably limited weather windows and the need for careful leg planting around subsea cables, would also be magnified for large floating turbines. “How do you lift those heavy blades when the object is big and moving,” asks Mr Myhre. “The market doesn’t have the tools for this.” Over the past year, Axtech has been investigating several ideas about how to safely dismantle or swap 150-tonne components, including awkward shapes like turbine blades, at a height of up to 130 m above the sea. Its concept, called WindWorker, focuses on finding a method of linking the vessel to the floating turbine, both at sea level and at height. To achieve this, the company is studying concepts with two heave compensators. “If you can create the link, you just need to work out how to get a firm grip on an object,” Mr Myhre explains. Whether working on windfarms or offshore platforms, that firm grip is not something that can be taken for granted. OSJ

Are batteries best for offshore lifting? The trend for installing batteries on OSVs is intended, at least in part, to reduce environmental impact. But according to Mr Myhre, that may not be the case when it comes to energy consumption related to lifting equipment. “Batteries are normally installed to support dynamic positioning and vessel operation [and are] not necessarily suitable for heavy lifting,” he explains. “It can be challenging to use stored energy when power demand goes up and down rapidly, as it does for large compensation systems.” A potential solution for minimising power demand involves transferring excess hydraulic power into accumulator systems while at the

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019

same time allowing for ‘back-driving’ of the drives. As an example of their effectiveness, Mr Myhre notes that on a decommissioning boat equipped with an accumulator system, 75% of the energy used by deck equipment can be accumulated energy, with only the remainder coming from the vessel’s installed power. Although electric winch drives are a good solution, they mean that accumulated energy is not always available, so Axtech had to rethink how it increased energy efficiency on a growing number of hybrid vessels. One method involves combining accumulating systems with electrohydraulic drives. These are driven by frequency converters and instantly deliver the correct amount of oil

for the current application. As Mr Myhre explains, “the drives are not standing there hammering power to something that doesn’t need it.” Also, this enables the hydraulic drives to provide active front end (AFE) power towards vessel power grids. These secondary drives have been installed for Axtech equipment on several vessels, including the hybrid subsea construction vessel North Sea Giant, which was converted to host batteries early last year. The vessel houses two Axtech towers, with a particularly advanced energy saving configuration that offers the possibility of feeding hydraulic energy to the accumulators and back into the batteries for electrical storage.





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20/04/2017 11:14


Why DSVs are being challenged by increased ROV usage Disruptive ROV technology is adding uncertainty to a slowly recovering dive support market


fter a prolonged downturn, confidence is returning in the dive support vessel (DSV) market, bolstered by a rise in subsea, construction and IMR activity, coupled with an increase in the scrapping of older vessels in the fleet. “There’s a cautious recovery underway, with increasing utilisation, but rates have not yet followed,” Aberdeen-based subsea market consultancy Archer Knight executive director David Sheret told delegates at the Offshore Support Journal’s Subsea Conference in London. Royal IHC area sales manager Daan Uiterwaal agreed with Mr Sheret that positive signs were emerging in the DSV market, noting the overall

fundamentals are improving. Despite a dramatic drop in utilisation over the last couple of years – according to Mr Uiterwaal about 50% of the fleet was looking for work as of Q4 2018 – IMR work is now on the rise. “You can only postpone IMR for a limited amount of time,” he said. “We see that market picking up and the construction market as well. There is more demand for DSVs; utilisation rates, however, remain low because of the influx of newbuilds entering the market.” Despite the delivery of 15 newbuilds from 2016-2018, more than a third of the DSV fleet is over 30 years old, according to Archer Knight data. Mr Sheret said there are about

119 traditional DSVs in the world fleet; this does not include barges, for example, that have been used for saturation diving. Mr Sheret emphasised that there are 42 vessels that are 31 years or more of age and over the last few months a number of these vessels have been decommissioned. According to Mr Uiterwaal, the vessels that disappeared from the fleet had reached the end of their useful service lives. Still, about 50% of the fleet is stacked or laid up: “Most of those will not return to the market,” he said. “We expect to see a replacement rate for DSVs of about 18% over the next five years. That paints a completely different picture of the

The design of the Seven Atlantic is now playing a role in the development of the next generation of DSVs

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019



Year Built

Deep Explorer


HYSY 285




Kreuz Challenger




MPV Everest


Oceanicasub IV


Rawabi 501


Seven Kestrel


Southern Star


Oceanicasub V


Deep Discoverer




Said Athena


Van Gogh


Source: Archer Knight

market. Demand for newer assets is being driven by the oil majors.” Dive support activity is starting to pick up in shallow water regions in the Asia Pacific, US Gulf of Mexico and Mexican Gulf, Europe and the Middle East; DSVs in Latin America are mostly being deployed as IMR vessels, according to Mr Uiterwaal. “In the past, older assets from the North Sea would cascade down into Asia Pacific or the Middle East. Used to working with higher-end tonnage, local oil majors are now pushing out those older assets. The fleet is a lot younger than it was a few years ago,” he said.

ROVs disrupt the market

While there have been new DSVs ordered – Singpore-based Ultradeep Solutions, for example, recently ordered

three high-spec vessels – Mr Sheret questioned whether retiring vessels would be replaced by new tonnage or by emerging technologies, such as remotely-operated vehicles (ROVs) that are now being utilised for various types of activities. The question posed is: can the overall subsea operational expenditure (opex) market sustain a lack of DSVs, or will more ROV-type activity be incorporated as a cost reduction measure? Mr Sheret noted that private equitybacked operators, such as Norway’s Point Resources and OKEA, Scotland’s Siccar Point and the UK’s Chrysaor, are playing the role of disruptors in the market, taking fresh approaches to subsea operations management. These companies have stolen a march on their competitors, thanks to an increasing use of ROVs, such as autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and sonar-equipped fast-scan ROVs. Further, ROVs are starting to have impact on how IMR is carried out. A new breed of independent contractor has entered the market with innovative ideas on how things can and should be done; how this plays out will have an impact on utilisation as well. The increased use of ROVs in subsea operations has left some owners questioning the very future of saturation diving, which has had a knock-on effect on investments in new vessels, according to Mr Uiterwaal. Additionally, he noted, more equipment manufacturers and contractors are competing for their slice of an eversmaller DSV pie, creating increased competition for shipbuilders.

Activity ‘heats up’

Subsea vessel activity is concentrated in the North Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and the Middle East, areas where the majority of DSVs, construction support vessels and ROV support vessels (ROVSVs) currently operate. As a means to improving or maintaining fleet utilisation, subsea support vessel owners have also diversified their market portfolios, working in the renewables, salvage, and

fish farm sectors, observed Mr Sheret. While capex in the UK North Sea fell for the fourth year in a row last year, the UK Oil and Gas Authority said it expected to see the downward trend of UK oil and gas upstream investment halted in 2019, projecting a 4% increase. Oil and gas production in the UK increased by more than 4% in 2018, averaging 1.7M barrel of oil equivalents (boe) per day, according to a Projections of UK Oil and Gas Production and Expenditure Report from the Oil and Gas Authority. In 2018, oil production alone rose to 1.09M barrels per day – up 8.9% on the previous year and the highest UK oil production rate since 2011. This increase can be attributed to over 30 new fields coming onstream since 2015, improved production efficiency and asset integrity, the realisation of enhanced oil recovery projects and the continued focus on associated exploration, appraisal and development commitments in the UK’s offshore licencing rounds. Mr Sheret noted that there is still a significant volume of infrastructure in the North Sea that needs certain types of diving intervention and ROV intervention. In the UK North Sea alone there is an installed network of over 300 platforms, with 20,000 km of pipelines. In the ,US the shale revolution continues to weigh down the offshore oil and gas market, oil majors such as Shell and Chevron are continuing to push their deepwater developments in the Gulf of Mexico, where subsea technology will continue to play a significant role, he said. “Last year there were 17 or 18 brownfield type developments in the UK North Sea that were either in FID or going forward. Those will probably not impact the market until the end of 2019 or early 2020,” said Mr Sheret. While the outlook for North Sea drilling activity is beginning to brighten, multiple challenges remain for DSV owners, including a continued vessel oversupply and depressed day rates. They are at the mercy of operators, who have gained the upper

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019


hand in the control of the supply chain in recent years and will fight “tooth and nail” to keep control of it, according to Mr Sheret: “You could argue over the last year that they are in the best position they have been in a long time.” He also mentioned the emergence of more national cabotage laws and regional protectionism as a factor that could hamper operational flexibility, citing requirements in Brasil, Indonesia and the Jones Act in the US, which requires vessels to be US flagged, US built, US owned and US manned when working on the US Gulf, except under special conditions. “You could argue that there is protectionism in every market in one form or another. There are some legislative barriers like the Jones Act that have to be incorporated into every company’s strategy,” he said.

Rethinking the dive philosophy As a means of developing a portfolio of diving support vessels, with fully integrated saturation diving systems, Royal IHC forged a partnership

Utradeep Solutions’ Lichtenstein has a twin-bell, 18-man saturation dive system

with German safety equipment manufacturer Dräger. This approach benefits vessel owners who no longer need to purchase their diving systems separately from their newbuilds. It also helps the shipyard and owner avoid

New DSV will support North Sea IMR UK-based TechnipFMC has acquired a newbuild diving support vessel, the Deep Discoverer, from Norway’s Vard shipyard. The DSV is currently undergoing an operational readiness programme and will begin work in the H1 2019. London-based law firm Watson Farley & Williams advised Technip UK Limited on a £70.5M (US$93.4M) financing agreement to purchase the Deep Discoverer, arranged by Crédit Industriel et Commercial (CIC) and BNP Paribas. The vessel was acquired by a CIC-owned company, while the financing comprised a French lease (charter by way of crédit-bail) of the vessel from the CIC-owned company and leased to Technip UK Limited. Deepwater Discoverer had previously been contracted by the now bankrupt subsea service provider Harkand Group in 30 December 2013. Vard cancelled the original contract with the Harkand administration to facilitate entering into the new agreement with Technip UK. Based on a Vard 3 03 design, the 121-m vessel will primarily service the North Sea diving construction and inspection, maintenance and repair (IMR) markets. Deep Discoverer has dynamic positioning class 3 capabilities, as well as an 18-person, twin-bell saturation diving system, supporting split-level diving operations to a maximum diving depth of 300 m, in-built air diving spread, a 250-tonne NOV Hydralift subsea crane and a service speed of 14 knots.

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019

issues during the vessel’s design and production process that might result from late equipment delivery, according to Royal IHC. Royal IHC is now developing a new DSV, building on the design of the Seven Atlantic, which was delivered in 2009 to Subsea 7. At the time, the Seven Atlantic was one of the world’s most sophisticated DSVs, with a 24man saturation dive system, dynamic positioning class 3 and 120-tonne active heave compensated crane. Built to Lloyd’s Register class, Seven Atlantic has an overall length of 145 m, beam of 26 m and design draught of 7 m. Its diesel-electric propulsion system incorporates three azimuth stern thrusters and two retractable azimuth bow thrusters. The vessel has a transit speed of 15.5 knots. One innovation Royal IHC is considering for future DSVs involves better control over the diving bell when it is lowered into the moonpool. There is also a possibility of converting an existing vessel, with a drop-in module, noted Mr Uiterwaal. Working with Dräger, Royal IHC would be able to supply an integrated module with the saturation diving system that could be shipped out and installed in a suitable existing vessel. OSJ

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New performance standards to improve navigation IMO is expected to approve new guidelines for the performance of navigation equipment, consisting of improved displays and functionality


ew guidance from IMO is likely to have a significant impact on the performance of integrated bridge systems and navigation aids. This will be of particular value to OSVs that have ECDIS and radar on board for navigation and operations. IMO’s Marine Safety Committee (MSC) will be promoting the introduction of greater standardisation of interfaces and the information used by mariners to monitor, manage and perform navigational tasks. MSC will be working on draft guidelines approved by IMO’s sub-committee for Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR), which met for the sixth time in London, in January. During that meeting, the subcommittee drafted performance expectations for navigation equipment to enhance situational awareness and improve safety. NCSR 6 produced guidelines that apply to Integrated Navigation Systems (INS), ECDIS, radar and other bridge equipment that has an interface. It agreed draft amendments to the presentation of navigationrelated information on shipborne navigational displays, including radar, ECDIS and INS. Revised performance standards are expected to come into force on 1 January 2024. This sub-committee finalised draft

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019

updates to guidelines to cover the presentation of navigational-related symbols on bridge systems to achieve harmonisation across all equipment. NCSR 6 also agreed a draft MSC resolution covering guidance on the definition and harmonisation of the format and structure of maritime e-navigation services. Although this may not affect vessels supporting offshore oilfield infrastructure and drilling rigs, it would have an impact on vessel mobilisation and for oceangoing towage. Currently there is no worldwide e-navigation service; however, there are initiatives to more widely develop regional services.

Kongsberg Maritime’s Sensor Fusion provides better situational awareness to bridge teams

IMO’s e-navigation guidance should ensure that these services are implemented internationally in a standardised format, as opposed to the current situation of regional testbeds. It was agreed that all maritime services should conform with the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) S-100 framework standard, which specifies the method for data modelling and developing product specifications. IMO intends to partner with third parties to further develop and harmonise the structure of maritime services in the context of e-navigation. This is expected to include: • Vessel traffic services • Communication of maritime safety information • Vessel shore reporting • Ice navigation • Search and rescue • Pilotage and tug services • Telemedical assistance • Meteorological and hydrographic information. Not all of this will be relevant to OSV operations, but there will be several elements that are now, or will be in the future. For example, NCSR 6 also approved draft guidance for the design and performance of navigation and communication equipment that is intended for use on vessels operating in polar waters. This will be submitted to MSC 101 for approval in June. This guidance includes recommendations on temperature and mechanical shock


testing, and on how to address ice accretion and battery performance in cold temperatures. This is expected to be an important tool to support the implementation of the mandatory Polar Code, which should ensure that vessels operating in the harsh Arctic and Antarctic areas take into account extremes of temperature and that critical equipment remains operational under those conditions. In January, NCSR 6 also agreed draft amendments to guidelines covering the annual testing of voyage data recorders (VDR) and simplified VDRs. This clarified the examination of float-free capsules, as approved in accordance with resolution MSC.333(90). There will also be new performance standards and tests for float-free emergency position-indicating radio beacons (EPIRBS) that operate on 406 MHz frequency. These standards will be mandatory for devices installed on, or after, three years from the date of their adoption, which is expected to be set by MSC 101. These will require EPIRBs to be provided with an Automatic Identification System locating signal and should improve typeapproval provisions. At the end of NCSR 6, IMO secretary-general Kitack Lim was satisfied with the sub-committee’s progress and the approval of a number of drafts and amendments. “The actions taken and decisions made by this sub-committee are key for the implementation of effective measures for safe navigation,” he said. “This is for improved co-ordination to avoid maritime accidents and [to] ensure a quick and efficient response in case of a search and rescue incident.”

Technology like ChartWorld’s eGlobe ECDI offers ultra-high definition displays

Next generation ECDIS

New IBS unveiled

In response to these upcoming changes in bridge equipment performance standards and technology requirements, equipment suppliers and integrators have introduced new products that exceed current compliance levels. For example, Kongsberg Maritime has integrated

Sensor Fusion into its latest generation of integrated bridge systems (IBSs). This incorporates an array of sensors along with conventional navigational aids, such as radar and sonar, in one system to provide better situational awareness to bridge teams. Kongsberg Maritime senior sales manager Roger Trinterud says this delivers a holistic real-time navigational picture, based on precise data from diverse sensors. Displays on Kongsberg’s IBS present information that should enable effective vessel navigation, advanced manoeuvring, OSV automation controls, energy management and improved safety. Kongsberg has also introduced an all-speed autopilot that combes traditional autopilot and trackpilot functions with joystick and dynamic positioning in one unit. Mr Trinterud explained that this is a single, common control that is active during high-speed transits down to zero-speed anchoring or station keeping. “Our new IBS is designed to meet all IMO and classification society requirements and is all about the integration,” he explained. “It adds significant new technologies to deliver safer and more effective navigation and vessel operations, either as a standalone solution, or integrated with a full Kongsberg vessel delivery featuring automation, data handling and energy control systems.”


For improved vessel navigation, ChartWorld has introduced a new version of its eGlobe ECDIS. It states that eGlobe G2+ is the world’s first ECDIS with 4K resolution for displaying electronic navigational charts (ENCs) in ultra-high definition. ChartWorld chief executive Steven Schootbrugge says the higher definition should improve visibility of ENCs on ECDIS and enhance the route planning capabilities of ECDIS. “ENCs and ECDIS are at the heart of modern navigation,” he says. “One of the great advantages [of this system] is our ability to navigate more accurately and

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019


update charts quickly, as more detailed information becomes available.” He highlighted that ECDIS displays become less effective as more information becomes available, which is why higher definition displays are required. eGlobe G2+ has a 32-in touchscreen for clear chart presentation and navigation functionality. This means ECDIS is ready for future vessel navigational requirements, says Mr Schoorbrugge. “There will be more information to process, from more sources, and with far greater detail on route planning, route checking, and vessel efficiency,” says Mr Schoorbrugge. This information will be displayed to bridge teams on banks of high definition touchscreen units. As a result of these requirements, display manufacturers introducing ultra-high definition displays to their ranges. Hatteland Technology has released a 43-in version of its Series X MVD product family. This is a 4K panel computer and display with 3840 × 2160 pixels, compared to the 1920 x 1080 on full high definition displays. According to Hatteland Technology president and chief executive Trond Johannessen, ultra-high definition displays “gives technology developers a more dynamic platform to deliver new solutions that help vessels to operate safer and more effectively.” These displays can be used in all light conditions and visual angles. They can display real-time information and multiple navigation tools, such as


Offshore Support Journal | April 2019

Tidewater leads in bridge software and digitalisation Tidewater is employing Poseidon Navigation Services’ software on its vessels to managing electronic navigational charts (ENCs) and navigation updates. Tidewater will install Poseidon’s Challenger e-navigation software on the voyage planning stations at the back of bridges on up to 100 OSVs that are operating offshore Africa. Navigators will receive the latest navigation information, weather and hazard warnings and updates to ENCs through this program. They will be able to plan routes using ENCs and the latest data from the UK Hydrographic Office’s Admiralty services. Vessel masters will be able to better manage onboard holdings of ENCs, corrections and updates on the latest navigation hazards.

ECDIS, chart radar, automatic radar plotting aids, sonar and be used for propulsion and thruster control. They can also be used for applications such as dynamic positioning, crane and deck machinery controls.

Radar evolution

Furuno has introduced new versions of its DRS X-class of radar antenna that it says has improved short-range detection of different types of object while keeping its long-range capabilities. These radar have a minimum detection distance of 20 m and can range out to 95 nautical miles (NM). They have fast target tracking, which means they can display up to 30 targets simultaneously and show heading and speed information for each one. DRS X-class also have new gearbox pedestal units that are 20% lighter than previous radar series, and low-noise motors. Furuno has also added more

Poseidon will provide training on the use of this software to Tidewater’s bridge teams. Challenger software provides updates for Admiralty charts and publications, the vector chart service, information overlay, notices to mariners and e-NP digital products. It has an in-built route planner and list of NavArea warnings. Software, alerts and ENC updates are synchronised between ship and shore via a web-based portal or through a weekly email service. The project builds on work conducted in 2018, when Tidewater signed a contract with UniSea for digitalising business processes related to HSEQ and operations. Under the terms of that contract, Tidewater will implement UniSea modules for procedures and manuals, incident reporting, environmental and fuel consumption reporting, risk assessments, international ship and port facility security codes, permit to work and audits, among others.

functionality to target tracking. For example, the DRS6A X-class can disseminate echoes of birds from other nautical targets up to 5 NM. It can distinctly separate birds from a nearby vessel in motion because vessels show a straight and clear echo trail, while bird echoes are identifiable by their random motion. DRS6A X-class has a power rating of 6 kW from a power supply of 24 V of direct current and 4 A, and comes with an antenna of 1,016 mm, 1,255, or 1,795 (3.5, 4, 6-ft). Furuno has added two more class of radar that are more powerful and provide better target definition at longer ranges to this series. DRS12A X-class emits 12 kW of power and needs a power feed of 24 V and 4.5 A, while DRS24A X-class emits 24 kW from a feed of 24 V and 5.6 A. These come with 1,255 mm and 1,795 mm antennas. OSJ


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A tailored approach to DP training Emergency ship-handling courses, specialised DP simulators and innovative training ships are reducing DP incidents, improving safety and increasing efficiencies across the OSV sector


GE SeaStream's DP system was ordered for a training vessel by Pukyong National University in South Korea

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019

espoke training courses provide a practical means of reducing incidents and accidents during dynamic positioning (DP) operations. Training will improve the competence of DP operators, while simulators can test their ship-handling skills, essential in cases of DP system failure. In 2018, The Nautical Institute introduced an emergency ship-handling course for OSVs which has significantly improved the competence of operators, according to chief executive Capt John Lloyd. Talking at Riviera Maritime Media’s European Dynamic Positioning Conference, he explained that 30 seafarers have completed the course, which trains crews to handle vessels during DP failures, notably “where there is a risk of a loss of position.” “Training means DP operators can maintain their competency and preparedness for work and develop new workplace skills,” he said, adding that he expects more seafarers to complete the emergency ship-handling course in 2019. Also in 2018, The Nautical Institute introduced refresher training courses

for DP technical personnel; more than 400 technical staff have now completed this training across various centres. Vessel owners clearly recognise the importance of improving the emergency ship-handling skills of DP operators and, to that end, are beginning to invest in simulator-based training courses. In one example of this innovative approach to training – and prompted by an increasing number of reported DP incidents – oil and gas industry contractor Saipem turned to Kongsberg Maritime, which operates the Kongsberg Maritime training centre in Kongsberg, Norway. Here, seafarers are tested on a tailored DP emergency scenario training course. A series of 10 courses are held, which are “comprehensive courses allowing our DP operators to carry out corrective actions in simulated DP scenarios and [to] consider the potential consequences,” says Saipem training centre manager Roberta Tamburro. She adds: “The simulator exercises enable [crew] to self-assess their emergency responses in a stressful environment.”

Taking control

When DP is active, it automatically manages a vessel’s heading and position via computer-controlled inputs to the ship’s thrusters and propellers. It has proven invaluable in more than 50 years of use for all types of offshore operations, particularly for cable and pipe laying, diving support and drilling. However, when issues arise, DP operators must swiftly take control of the vessel, but human frailties can significantly impair decision-making and communication in emergency scenarios. The International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) keeps abreast of reported incidents and issues with DP systems. IMCA technical adviser Andy Goldsmith believes the reporting of incidents and station keeping events can improve safety across the offshore sector. “It provides management with important feedback on issues and helps to steer training for improving DP operator competence,” he says. Mr Goldsmith notes there had been


increasing numbers of companies involved in this initiative and therefore more incidents are being reported. The majority of incidents reported have been due to issues with propulsion, DP control computers or loss of position reference, the kind of issues that Kongsberg’s training has helped Saipem employees identify, and consequently improve their situational awareness and implement appropriate measures. Prior to starting Kongsberg’s four-day course, Saipem’s employees complete a 40-question DP system knowledge test, which pinpoints shortfalls in competence and DP system understanding before the training begins. During the course, Saipem’s crews used Kongsberg’s DNV Class A K-Sim Offshore simulator and role-playing scenarios to replicate procedures including emergency manoeuvring and close-proximity emergency station keeping. The course begins with a one-day familiarisation session on the K-Pos DP operator interface and cJoy joystick control system. Crew then take control of the K-Sim Offshore simulator, using a program based on operations on Saipem’s pipelaying vessel, Castorone. They carry out stress-testing critical activity mode of operation (CAMO) and activity-specific operating guidelines (ASOG) riskmanagement methods. Simulator exercises of this nature provide instructors with an overview of individual responses and their potential effect on team dynamics and incident outcomes. “Debriefs after each exercise and open discussions throughout cemented the view that the course represented a fully rounded and deeply beneficial learning experience,” says Ms Tamburro. Kongsberg Maritime DP instructor Ole Aleksander Ottesen says his team received positive feedback from Saipem and he expects more offshore vessel operators to send their employees on bespoke DP training courses. Kongsberg Maritime won Offshore

Support Journal’s Dynamic Positioning Award its long-range relative positioning sensor technology.

Real-life training

John Lloyd (Nautical Institute): “Training means DP operators can maintain their competency and develop new workplace skills”


No doubt simulator-based training is creating new ways of safely training crew and measuring their abilities in stressful situations with minimal risk. However, that should not detract from the importance of training DP operators on real ships. In February, Pukyong National University (PKNU) in Busan, South Korea, ordered a DP system from GE’s Power Conversion business for its training ship. This 3,990 gt, 97-m vessel was built by Dae Sun Shipbuilding & Engineering Co with capacity for 160 people. GE was selected to supply its SeaStream DP system to enable cadets to control the vessel’s horizontal movement and hold its position against harsh wind in adverse sea conditions for a long period of time. “GE’s technology will contribute to us adding the largest and best-equipped new vessel to our fleet,” said PKNU ship training and operations centre director Lee Jong-Gun. The training vessel will be the 14th in PKNU’s fleet. SeaStream DP will contribute to the ship’s overall efficiency and operational effectiveness as it can be operated in an energy-efficient mode to reduce fuel consumption. It includes predictive software that anticipates position variations and can limit thrust changes if the vessel is predicted to remain within a predefined inner tolerance band. If the vessel is predicted to move outside of this window, the system develops optimum thrust to remain within the defined window. Algorithms help SeaStream DP optimise a vessel’s heading to further reduce power consumption and limit thruster and machinery wear and tear. GE studies have demonstrated that fuel savings in this mode could be up to 10% and associated NOx emissions are reduced up to 20%, depending on environmental factors and operational profile. OSJ

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019


AI brings safety and reliability to DP Artificial intelligence (AI) and computer algorithms are likely to play an increasingly significant role in DP system maintenance and operations

Arnstein Eknes (DNV GL): “Information can be used for more predictive forecasting and advice on maintenance”


endors must prepare to seize the opportunities that digitalisation and machine learning offer, according to DNV GL segment director for offshore service vessels Arnstein Eknes. He explained to delegates at the European Dynamic Positioning Conference in London, in February, how offshore vessel owners can make greater use of these technologies. “Operations have not changed much, but the mission of ships and the support systems that help operators is where we are seeing a revolution,” he said. “It is about connecting everything, all components and systems, on board to be monitored and trended.” This connectivity will enable internal problems and weaknesses to be identified earlier and before something goes wrong. AI can help systems run self-diagnostics to identify problems and inconsistencies and detect non-compliance.

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019

“Systems could do self-checks and self-validation, so operators can then focus on the reality of the job and prepare for emergencies,” said Mr Eknes. He noted that AI can be used to support DP operators in their operational decision making and to enable more remote support. Information can be fed into digital twins “to forecast what is happening one or two minutes ahead and what happens when weather changes,” said Mr Eknes, explaining this would “provide information to operators upfront before they meet it in reality.” “When things are connected, this information can be used for more predictive forecasting and [to provide] advice on maintenance,” he continued. Vessel operators may also deploy internet-of-things (IoT) technology to adopt conditionbased maintenance strategies, instead of basing them on time periods and estimations. “We can use models that are recalculated using facts and real sensor data, [making systems] safer and using less resources, while emitting less emissions to produce the same amount of work,” said Mr Eknes. However, there are challenges that must be addressed to achieve these goals, the key one being the effective exchange of information between all stakeholders, particularly vendors, involved across DP systems. “There are a lot of vendors [who need to] establish these systems, and it depends on the power, function and properties of the ship,” explained Mr Eknes. “If there is a power failure, this can lead to a lack of control. If there is a failure in other parts of the system, then this could mean a failure in the DP.” A solution to this challenge may involve developing an open platform that can be a collaborative space for vendors to exchange information and agree interfaces. “We want transparency, to establish standards for which information needs to be exchanged with our systems as a precursor for this to work,” said Mr Eknes. If these information exchange challenges can be overcome, Mr Eknes anticipates a revolution in DP operations and systems. OSJ


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Charterers look to fleet tracking systems for improved operational insight Oil majors are making fleet tracking systems a prerequisite of their charter agreements to help lower fuel costs and reduce emissions


nternational oil companies are asking OSV owners to equip their fleets with fuel monitoring systems and remote sensing equipment to better understand, and decrease, fuel consumption and emissions. In many instances, charterers are making such demands part and parcel of the tendering process. Such systems offer better insight into operational costs, potential contract cost reductions, vessel performance and handling, emissions and fuel consumption and can also help protect against fuel security issues. “Fuel is a huge cost,” says Havila Shipping deputy managing director Olav Haug Vikebakk. “Our client needed a system to provide better insight into fleet operations to improve logistics and vessel fuel consumption and we did, too.” Norway-based Havila Shipping reviewed several systems before settling on the Energy Management System (EMS) from Rolls-Royce Commercial Marine. Fuel monitoring systems were familiar to the OSV owner, which had previously used similar technology from another vendor in the 92.8 m PSV Havila Charisma. EMS has been installed on over 50 vessels since its introduction in November 2017. Havila installed the first EMS on the 92.4 m UT527 multipurpose standby response and rescue vessel Havila Troll. An additional eight vessels will be

The ERRV Havila Troll was the first Havila Shipping vessel to be equipped with a Rolls-Royce EMS (Credit: Havila)

fitted with EMS over several months as they become available.

Crew friendly

Rolls-Royce sales manager, ship intelligence Kristian Kleiveland says one of Havila Shipping’s key specifications was that the fuel monitoring system had to be easy to use, with a “proven ability to optimise vessel operations.” Havila required “a system that simplified the tracking of its vessels’ fuel consumption, while not adding to the already high workload for its personnel,” explains Mr Kleiveland. “It’s really an easy system for the crew to understand,” notes Mr Vikebakk. “The real challenge in the digital age is for shoreside

management because there is a huge amount of data you can collect and analyse. You can drown in data. You need to focus on the right things.” Using EMS, the crew can see in realtime the impact of operating machinery on fuel consumption and make the necessary operational adjustments. The system’s sensors assess fuel consumption against, among other things, vessel speed, electrical load and the relationship between propeller pitch and engine rpm. Existing dynamic positioning (DP) sensors are also used to calculate the external forces – wave and wind speed – acting on the vessel. It also shows how the vessel’s operational parameters are influencing fuel consumption. The data collected from the sensors

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019

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is then available on a dashboard display on the bridge or any connected device, such as a tablet or computer, and is securely encrypted and processed. The required reporting data is transmitted to a secure Rolls-Royce-hosted web portal, where more detailed analysis and comparisons can be carried out by shoreside management. “Fuel savings will vary from vessel to vessel and depend on whether it is on a fixed route, maintaining a certain speed and schedule, or if it has some operational flexibility,” says Mr Vikebakk. “That is where there are some potential fuel savings. If a vessel has to go from point A to point B at a certain time and along a certain route, there’s not much you can do about that.”

Not about punishment

Mr Kleiveland points out that “ship managers can also use the information to compare the performance of different crews and all the vessels in a fleet.” Mr Vikebakk elaborates: “We will be able to set benchmarks for certain types of operations. It is about creating good behaviour for the crew and the shoreside management. This is not about punishment. If we see vessels that are operating outside the normal parameters, we can have a discussion between the crew and shoreside management and get a better understanding.” Mr Vikebakk also acknowledged this, saying that in many respects it is the logistics department that decides how much fuel is used: “You can’t criticise the captain if he is just doing what he’s told.” Using a dashboard, shoreside management can analyse an individual vessel or the fleet’s data. The fleet’s location is displayed on a map, in addition to aggregate fuel consumption. The system can be integrated with the Rolls-Royce Health Management system, which assesses the performance of a ship’s equipment, enabling energy management and equipment health monitoring to be viewed together. A cloud-based portal enables fleet

EMS enables a data-driven performance management and decision-making approach across fleet management operations”

managers and operators to compare actual performance data with historical benchmarks, as well as evaluating trends over chosen time periods. With EMS, performance indicators and baseline analysis create the potential for further improvement and help enable a data-driven performance management and decision-making approach across fleet management operations. To reduce the bandwidth utilisation, smart compression algorithms are used before transmitting the data to shore. Rolls-Royce general manager intelligent asset management solutions Marco Camporeale says vessel owners can use operational data to show charterers and other stakeholders what they are doing to reduce the impact of vessel operations on the marine environment. “The Rolls-Royce EMS allows all parties to fully understand the performance of their vessels,” he says. “The technology is applicable to any vessel-type operating equipment from any manufacturer.” While it is too early to evaluate the operational and performance data for the Havila Troll, Rolls-Royce said vessel owners have reported annual fuel savings of up to 20% by using EMS. “Once we get some lessons learned with this system, I expect that going forward we will implement more of these types of systems across our fleet,” concludes Mr Vikebakk.

Leveraging IoT

Vessel charterers are also looking to leverage the Internet-of-Things (IoT) for vessel tracking and fleet optimisation purposes. One such remote monitoring system is being

employed as a cloud-based, data analytics platform by 10 affiliates of Total Exploration & Production for operations in Western Africa, the North Sea, South America, Asia and the Middle East. France-based Opsealog said its MarineLog Solutions & Services platform is being used to assist in optimising offshore vessel operations by improving logistics flows, reducing fuel consumption and monitoring and minimising emissions. MarineLog Solutions & Services’ platform makes it possible to collect and integrate data from various sources – vessel tracking, weather parameters, electronic fuel monitoring systems, and other operational data – through onboard software and through web applications used directly by the customers. According to Opsealog, one advantage of the system is that it does not require installation of any hardware on board the vessels. Since Opsealog is a data integrator platform, it is remotely connected with other compatible vessel tracking or electronic fuel monitoring systems, such as Royston Diesel Power’s enginei and Nautical Control Solutions’ FuelTrax. As a means of continuous improvement, key performance indicator (KPI) trends are reviewed during regular efficiency meetings between Opsealog consultants and customers. All data from the system is accessible online in bespoke dashboards. Opsealog chief executive and co-founder Arnaud Dianoux said the company’s business analysts have maritime backgrounds allowing them “to understand the reality of offshore supply operations.” The system has been deployed by charterers to track more than 200 vessels.

Fuel monitoring for 20 Malaysian OSVs

Elsewhere, Houston-based Nautical Control Solutions (NCS) has secured new contracts for its Fueltrax fuel monitoring systems, with a major oil company operating in Malaysia. Major oil companies have increased their

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019


Opsealog's cloud-based platform integrates data to provide clear insight into the logistics supply chain

scrutiny surrounding fuel consumption and accurate reporting is needed for fleets operating in Malaysia. Increased accuracy benefits both vessel owners and the oil companies chartering these vessels, by bringing new transparency to once opaque processes. Globally, Fueltrax contracts extend to four additional operating regions, across 150 vessels for this oil company. Fuel consumption is monitored, measured and reported in real time by the Fueltrax system. The data is sent, GPS-stamped, every 15 minutes by satellite to the Fuelnet online data repository, where it is accessible to customers and archived indefinitely. Fueltrax has been deployed on about 500 workboats and commercial vessels worldwide. “The transparency of the fuel data allows charterers and OSV owners to make real, cost-saving changes to their operations based on accurate and timely data,” said NCS chief executive Anthony George. It enhances their control over decisions

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019

which affect their compliance and performance goals.” Charterers and vessel owners have reported fuel consumption savings of up to 10% following the implementation of Fueltrax across their entire fleet, according to NCS. A Singapore-based boatbuilder, Penguin International Limited, is also incorporating electronic fuel monitoring systems in two classes of high-speed crewboats that will be used in anti-piracy operations in offshore Nigeria and chartered for operation in Southeast Asia. UK-based Royston Diesel Power reported that its advanced enginei fuel monitoring systems have been specified for high-speed armoured security vessels for anti-piracy operations off the coast of Nigeria. Three Caterpillar C32 main engines are installed in each of the 40 m crewboats that can accommodate up to 12 security personnel and 23 passengers and reach speeds of up to 28 knots.

A series of 42 m multi-role crewboats that will be chartered in Southeast Asia will be able to carry up to 80 passengers and reach a top speed of 30 knots. Royston’s local distributors for the Malaysia region, CAN Traders and Service Pte Ltd, will supply the enginei systems Corolis meters for the main engines and generators are packaged with the enginei units and are expected to help reduce fuel and operational costs, while providing crews and operators with detailed real-time engine performance data and other missioncritical information. Using sensor technology, enginei will monitor engine fuel consumption that will be tracked against GPS data, voyage details and operational mode. The data is collected, processed and relayed to bridge and engineroom-mounted touchscreen monitors to enable the vessel’s master to adjust vessel speed and take corrective actions to reduce fuel consumption. OSJ

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Pooling helps tackle challenges of reactivation

Douglas Lang (Anglo-Eastern): “The best strategy for smaller owners is to collaborate so they can punch above their weight”


By pooling resources, OSV owners are better positioned to find employment for idle vessels


s the offshore oil and gas sector begins to improve, OSV owners large and small will be looking to return their assets to work. In doing so, owners need to consider pooling their resources and outsourcing vessel management to a third-party to enable them to concentrate on their prime objectives. Anglo-Eastern Group managing director for offshore Douglas Lang, speaking at Riviera Maritime Media’s

Annual Offshore Support Journal Conference in February, noted that owners with large fleets have the finances, capital and asset portfolios to meet the requirements of energy companies that are assessing which vessels to employ on term charter or from the spot market. However, those owners of smaller fleets are disadvantaged in being unable to afford to reactivate vessels in cold, or even warm, layup. To compete with the major operators, Mr Lang suggested these smaller owners should outsource the marketing of their OSVs, whether they are ready for operation or in warm layup, to take advantage of any upturn in demand. “The best strategy for smaller owners is to collaborate so they can punch above their weight,” he said. “This has not yet

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019


been done, perhaps because of a lack of trust, because owners would not want someone else to market their vessels.” However, he thinks owners with small fleets – and there are around 400 owners with fleets of less than seven vessels – can only compete with the larger companies it they are prepared to pool their resources. By doing so they could reduce common operational costs and increase the likelihood of gaining charters, as a bigger pool should have a best-fit vessel to offer. Owners could consider income and cost-sharing structures to facilitate pooling arrangements. “A collaboration of owners would be complex, but it offers market presence,” said Mr Lang. “The best strategy is for smaller owners to mimic the behaviour of the larger players if they intend to stay in offshore oil and gas.” Mr Lang explained that owners with large fleets also have the ability to mobilise vessels between markets and requirements: “Larger players can afford swing vessels, but smaller owners struggle with the costs. Owners need to be looking at term chartering. They need a business case as it is a big undertaking to take vessels out of layup.” Mr Lang went on to discuss how vessel reactivation costs are increasing, in tandem with layup expenses, which owners still incur if they plan to bring their vessels back to market. But as the anticipated market recovery remains elusive, more vessels in warm stack are slipping into cold layup. “It is now harder to return OSVs to service,” said Mr Lang. “It is also becoming less valuable to consider decommissioning and demolishing vessels.” He pointed out that the Hong Kong Convention on ship recycling is having an increasing impact on scrapping costs and on those European owners that thought they had residual values in their vessels. OSV values continue to depreciate and recycling is becoming more expensive because vessels need to be

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019

cleaned before they are scrapped, Mr Lang explained.

Regional requirements

Owners also have other challenges to tackle, which outsourcing vessels and crew management can assist with. “Many facets of OSV design has changed over a short space of time,” said Mr Lang, highlighting different regional requirements, such as the use of spot charters in the North Sea and term contracts in the Middle East. Charterers have increased their requirements by tendering for vessels with dynamic positioning class DP2 and demanding new technology, such as higher levels of automation and digitalisation. There have also been changes in offshore oil and gas field developments, facilitating the increasing use of subsea completions.


Mr Lang noted that OSV demand has changed since the previous upcycle, with rigs needing fewer anchor handlers for positioning and mobilisation. PSV and anchorhandler design requirements have also evolved, meaning 10-year-old vessels are unlikely to compete with modern vessels. “A refitted newbuilding from a Chinese shipyard makes more sense than reactivating a 10-year-old OSV,” said Mr Lang. Elsewhere, decommissioning opportunities are being limited by project schedules and a reluctance on the part of energy companies to shut down facilities if they can still be operated economically, or as subsea tie-back infrastructure hubs. Opportunities in renewables are also limited as vessels are mainly

needed during the construction phase, according to Mr Lang, while windfarm maintenance strategies are quickly moving to a mother/daughter vessel solution. Owners could consider converting their vessels for the inspection, repair and maintenance (IRM) market, where Mr Lang pointed to increased activity, although even here there is a caveat: “The backlog of maintenance means IRM activity levels are getting higher, but not the rates,” he said. Other possible options for deployment include aquaculture and LNG bunkering, although Mr Lang conceded that “there are unlikely to be significant opportunities.” Therefore, vessel operators will need to continue down the path of offshore oil and gas. However, options to vessel owners in that market are effectively limited to selling, scraping, layup or merging the company. “Scrapping positively reduces the overhang; stacking temporarily reduces vessel numbers; but the other options do not reduce the over-supply situation,” he said. Therefore, owners with vessels in warm layup need to bid for tenders for term and spot requirements if they can realistically bring their assets back

THE BIG CHALLENGES V Group chief commercial officer Martin Gaard Christiansen believes the main challenges faced by vessel owners and managers in the current climate include: • Regulations • New crew centres • Crew welfare • Onboard safety • Connectivity • Environmental efficiency • Ship intelligence • Fuel diversity • Electric ships and systems • Harsh environment operations • New business models • Ship design flexibility • Advances in automation • Data analytics.


Martin Gaard Christiansen (V Group): “Owners and managers need to navigate future challenges with confidence”

into service, and that is costly. Which is why Mr Lang feels that smaller owners need to look at term charters for business instead of the spot market, where potential opportunities can quickly dissipate when more vessels become available. “If owners want to remain in offshore oil and gas, then they need to update the capex and opex of vessels to determine what it will cost to be operational again and to bid for term prospects,” said Mr Lang. Owners can reduce these costs by combining resources through a pool that could be operated by a third party, such as a shipmanagement group.

Tackling digital technology

V Group chief commercial officer Martin Gaard Christiansen also recommends OSV owners should consider partnering with shipmanagement companies to tackle future challenges. Mr Christiansen told delegates at the Annual Offshore Support Journal Conference that OSV owners and managers must ensure vessel operations remain safe for crew and clients while maintaining regulatory compliance. Owners need to focus the latest crewing issues, including rising

David Darling (Tidewater): “It is important to find out what seafarers need and retain employees through a merger”

demand for better connectivity and adopting digital functionality and applications. To tackle these challenges, owners should form partnerships with shipmanagement companies that have global scale and the ability to mitigate cost increases. Mr Christiansen believes owners must “operate safely and compliantly [while] responding to market changes, optimising vessel performance, reducing running costs and innovating to improve.” As such, Mr Christiansen says OSV operators need trusted partners that understand the challenges that owners face and are able to manage the risks to maximise client returns. The challenges Mr Christiansen refers to may be exacerbated when companies are merging or being acquired. Tidewater merged with GulfMark in 2018 and Tidewater vice president for human resources David Darling explained at the OSV conference how it managed the human resource challenges that arose during this corporate restructuring. He said internal and external communications were vital in engaging with the workforce: “Silence is the enemy,” he exclaimed. “It is important to find out what seafarers need and

retain employees through the merger.” During the above merger, many changes occurred, including office closures and Mr Darling acknowledged the process was “a shock to the system.” As such, he said, it is important to explain to staff why the merger makes sense and why it is happening. One of the main challenges faced by companies undergoing a merger involves the effective integration of the individual cultures and processes of the previously separate companies.

Fundamentals remain bad for business

More generally, Anglo-Eastern group managing director Douglas Lang feels lower demand and higher supply remains the key challenge for OSV operators. Since 2013, the number of active rigs has fallen from 738 to just 474 last year. During this time the number of platform supply vessels (PSVs) and anchor-handling tug/supply (AHTS) vessels had risen from 3,321 to 3,583. He calculates the demand for these vessels to meet rig requirements has fallen from 3,321 vessels in 2013 (assuming 4.5 vessels are needed per rig) to 2,133 vessels. However, mooring and dynamic positioning technology,

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019


slot sharing and better shore-side scheduling have actually reduced the average number of vessels needed per rig to four, which means there is demand for just 1,896 vessels. If this requirement is lowered to 3.5/rig, then vessel demand drops to a mere 1,659. Mr Lang said there had been a slight improvement in vessel

utilisation, which has led some owners to consider returning vessels from warm stack. “A few vessels are back to work and have come out of lay-up, but a few came off-hire. It is about where owners operate in the market.” He acknowledged the size of an owners’ fleet was an important element for determining whether

Is onboard connectivity a dangerous distraction? How can fleet managers ensure that new communications technology and digitalisation works for and not against them? As the industry teeters on the brink of a technological revolution that will see enormous changes required to remain competitive, owners and operators need to understand the fundamentals of new technology to ensure their upgrades are beneficial across their fleets. Thome Group chief marine human resources officer Hanus Mikkelsen says that digitalisation can have positive and negative consequences on seafarer

Hanus Mikkelsen (Thome): “Connectivity exposes seafarers to the risk of depression and frustration”

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019

wellbeing and crew management. He highlights instances where upgrades to communications on vessels have resulted in an increased use of social media and similar platforms. While he believes this can improve the welfare of seafarers, he cautions that it may also result in them becoming a greater safety risk, with reduced onboard productivity. “This is a double-edged sword for our seafarers,” says Mr Mikkelsen. “On the one hand, [such technology] allows seafarers to keep in contact with their loved ones and updated on what is going on back home. On the other hand, connectivity also exposes seafarers to the risk of depression and frustration, when they feel helpless because they are unable to be present to help in case of emergency situations at home.” On-board digitalisation and the creation of more off-duty entertainment choices can also have an adverse impact on crew welfare, says Mr Mikkelsen: “This is because each crew member may unconsciously become enwrapped in their own world of online entertainment in their own cabin and neglect social interactions with other crew members onboard.” While crew on OSVs increasingly expect the vessel to be fully connected, with entertainment facilities, online communication, and

vessels can be found and maintained in work. The majority of owners have small fleets of less than 10 vessels and around 400 operators worldwide have an average of 6.3 vessels. “Approximately 70% of PSV and AHTS vessels in the market is made up of owners with between one and six vessels,” said Mr Lang. OSJ






social media, they may not be aware of the negative impact of these tools and this is something that fleet managers need to address. “Shipmanagers need to recognise the importance of a crew’s mental health and educate the management team onboard their vessels to identify and assist crew members who may be struggling with these issues,” says Mr Mikkelsen. “Deliberate efforts must be made to engage the crew through regular [team] interactions as well as via one-on-one communication, so that hopefully such issues will be brought forward and addressed properly.” Mr Mikkelsen says that shipmanagers must understand that a seafarer who is mentally preoccupied with personal issues “may mistakenly overlook safety consciousness, which in turn greatly increases the risk of accidents.” Therefore, he says, shipmanagers need to effectively manage onboard connectivity and access to online media to provide appropriate welfare for their crew.





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Subsea tree installations rise; OCV utilisation rates subdued Subsea tree installations will pick up substantially over the next five years, but an influx of offshore construction vessel newbuilds will stifle utilisation levels


ubsea tree installations are expected to grow by an average of 8% per year for the global offshore industry over coming years, as operators boost expenditures substantially on subsea equipment and installations. An influx of offshore construction vessel (OCV) newbuilds into the fleet this year however, will keep utilisation rates from recovering until 2021, according to analysts at Oslo-based energy research firm Rystad Energy. Activity levels fell to only 240 subsea trees installed globally in 2017, the lowest level since the turn of the century. However, Rystad Energy forecasts that over 350 subsea trees will be installed per year starting 2021. The market for subsea trees – so-called Xmas trees – is expected to grow by 8% per year in the period 2017 to 2023. The UK and Norway will drive growth through 2021, after which South America will take the lead. “As the oil price has recovered since 2016, the subsea market has shown clear signs of improvement,” said Rystad Energy analyst Henning Bjørvik. “Subsea tree installations can be seen as a main driver for this growth. We expect a substantial increase in demand in coming years,” said Mr Bjørvik. Global demand for oilfield services is projected to hit US$642Bn in 2019, of which the subsea market will account for 4%. “The real driver of vessel demand over the next year will be installation of subsea equipment, but we also see a significant increase in subsea umbilicals, risers and flowlines (SURF) installation,” said,” Mr Bjørvik. “Especially for North Sea, we see a lot of subsea tie-back projects coming in from 2019 and this will increase the demand for rigid-reel lay vessels in the coming years,” he noted. With regards to the offshore construction vessel market, Rystad Energy forecasts a continued low utilisation rate up to 2022-2023. Mr Bjørvik said: “Even though we foresee the

demand will pick up from 2019, we still expect the supply side to continue to grow into 2019, with newbuilds coming into the market now more than four years after the oil price collapse. We therefore expect the utilisation to remain at around 50% for the next two years before picking up.” Rystad Energy expects the subsea market to increase significantly in the years to come, with an average annual growth of 10% in exploration and production (E&P) spending for subsea equipment and installation from 2018 through 2023. Much of the growth is expected to come from the subsea equipment market (up 12% per year) and the SURF market (up 11% per year). “We now see a new wave of subsea developments in the coming years, supported by effective cost cutting measures and co-operation between suppliers and E&Ps,” Mr Bjørvik said. Norway and the UK benefit from having well-established offshore infrastructure. Many marginal fields can draw advantages from their close proximity to existing facilities and can become commercially viable through subsea satellite developments. Over the next four years in Norway and the UK, Rystad Energy expects 53% of the offshore greenfield E&P expenditure to be for subsea tie-back projects. This is a significant increase from 30% in the 2010-2018 period. Norway-based oil major Equinor, which is the second largest operator of subsea trees after Brasil’s Petrobras and has a large subsea portfolio, is expected to increase its subsea expenditure significantly during 2019, with as much as 93% of spending being for projects on the Norwegian continental shelf. The majority of this expenditure is projected to be for subsea tie-backs. OSJ

Subsea construction vessel Rem Saltire was mobilised at Damen Shiprepair Vlissingen for work in the US (image: Damen)

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019


Flexibility key for Maersk subsea support vessels A new series of subsea support vessels have been engineered with versatility firmly in mind, offering operators economical access to a wide range of configurations


n 2014, Maersk Supply Service ordered four advanced subsea support vessels in a market very different to that of today. The driving concept behind the development of the Stingray-class subsea support vessels (SSVs) was to create a series of vessels that would be flexible, supporting a broad range of operational requirements while offering reliability, efficiency and economy. “When we started this project, it was very clear that these vessels would be operating for the next 20 years,” explains Maersk Supply Service (MSS) head of technical organisation Peter Kragh Jacobsen. “Since we weren’t building these vessels for a specific contract, we wanted to make them attractive for a wide range of work scopes.” Starting with Marin Teknikk’s MT 6027 as a base design, the Stingray-class SSVs evolved into a “Swiss Army knife” frame, according to Mr Jacobsen; one that can be transformed with minimal intervention to a specific client task or requirement. Built by COSCO Dalian Shipyard in China, the four Stingray-class SSVs are the Maersk Installer, Maersk Involver, Maersk Inventor and Maersk Implementer. The SSVs combine an energy-efficient propulsion train and

Maersk Inventor, one of four new Stingray-class subsea support vessels, owned by Maersk Supply Service

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019

dynamic positioning class 3 (DP3), with a 400-tonne Huisman active heave compensated crane. Six large thrusters provide the vessels with a high level of manoeuvrability. Complementing this capability are two work-class remotely operated vehicles capable of operating in up to 3,000 m of water, with the option of being deployed over the side or through an internal moonpool. The vessels also have a free deck area of 1,850 m2 with a large number of sea-fastening features for project cargo. A new hybrid design, Huisman’s highly flexible rope luffing knuckleboom crane has a number of advantages compared with a conventional unit. Chief among these is that it maintains the knuckleboom functionality – providing a low suspension point, which is essential for offshore construction activity – without the disadvantages of conventional knuckleboom cranes, such as a heavy boom that affects a crane’s load curves and adversely affects stability. Since it is mainly electrically driven, the hybrid crane also does not experience the same kind of idling losses as a conventionally powered crane and it eliminates the possibility of potential environmental damage from hydraulics on deck. The vessels have accommodation for 120, all in single cabins, which was “high on our list,” according to Mr Jacobsen. “We wanted our crews and clients to have a good experience onboard. The vibration and noise level on our vessels are just below cruise-line standard.” With a year and a half operational experience since the first vessels were delivered, Mr Jacobsen says: “The market has received the vessels very well. The Stingray vessels have performed subsea construction work, decommissioning, walkto-work, as well as light well intervention operations in APAC, Europe, West Africa and Mexico. They can also be used in IMR, ROV, firefighting, rescue, salvage and are prepared for flexlay operations. We intentionally made these platforms flexible and attractive to a wide range of clients, which so far include oil majors and tier 1 and 2 contractors. The references of the jobs we have done have proven the design concept,” he said. Currently, three of the four I-class vessels are engaged in light well intervention operations in deep, as well as shallow, water. “Although class requirements for well intervention are very demanding, the base design has made it very simple for us to be able to do the necessary modifications to obtain the required notations,” noted MSS senior chartering manager Thomas Danielsen. OSJ

Maritime Cyber Risk Management Forum 25 June 2019, London

How prepared is the maritime industry for future cyber-attacks? Recognising and addressing the risk Cyber security will only get the organisational attention needed once attitudes align to acknowledge cyber threat as a business risk. Ship operators should be questioning how vulnerable their vessels are. The 4th Maritime Cyber Risk Management Forum provides answers and offers an unrivalled opportunity for key industry stakeholders to analyse the industry’s cyber security preparedness. Gain exclusive insights from an unparalleled line up of experts as they tackle the issues that matter to your business now and prepare you for what’s coming next: from cyber risk management regulations and compliance to how to prevent cyber-attacks from happening. Don’t miss this interactive programme for a chance to learn, collaborate and discuss the actions that need to be taken to counter cyber threats. Topics will include: • Understanding the magnitude of cyber risk • Identifying cyber security roles and responsibilities • Insurance cover for damage arising from a cyber incident • How to effectively get compliance right • Protecting your infrastructure from cyber crime • Staying one step ahead of cyber criminals • The threat to cyber security in ports • The importance of crew awareness to reduce cyber risk • How to test the cyber security of ships’ systems. Book your place online today at or for more information please contact Paul Dowling on +44 20 8370 7014 or at

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Big contracts keep coming despite fleet oversupply Despite a challenging market, several significant contracts were won for subsea and IMR work in early 2019 Osbit’s Scion 240 will plough trenches to lay subsea cables in support of offshore wind


OF Subsea and its subsidiary DOF ASA has reported an order intake of more than Nrk1Bn (US$115.4M) in the subsea/IMR project segment, securing utilisation for several vessels and ROV systems. DOF Subsea chief executive Mons S. Aase, CEO, said he was “pleased with the magnitude of the contract awards and our global organisation's ability to secure utilisation for the group's assets in a challenging market.” Among the contracts awarded was an eight-year charter by Brasil’s Petrobras for the Brazilian-flagged flexible lay and construction vessel Skandi Olinda, owned by a 50-50 joint venture formed by TechnipFMC and DOF. Skandi Olinda has a 340-tonne vertical lay system tower capacity, a 2,500-tonne underdeck carousel, and two workclass ROVs, allowing it to lay flexible pipes in water depths

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019

up to 2,500 m. Skandi Olinda, along with its sister vessel Skandi Recife, were constructed by Vard Promar Brazilian yard. Under the TechnipFMC/DOF joint venture agreement, TechnipFMC will manage flexible pipelay, and DOF will be responsible for marine operations. TechnipFMC president subsea Arnaud Piéton said: “We are delighted that the Skandi Olinda is joining our fleet of specialised vessels. This new charter contract with Petrobras reinforces our commitment to the development of the Brazilian market and our extensive ultra-deepwater pipelaying experience. We are looking forward to seeing the vessel delivering projects in the field.” Mr Aase added: “Taking final delivery of Skandi Olinda and commencing the contract with Petrobras marks the successful

conclusion of the newbuild programme of the joint venture, which now has six vessels.” The Norwegian Mapping Authority awarded DOF Subsea a months-long contract to conduct hydrographic services for the MAREANO 2019 programme using its specialised survey and IMR vessel Geograph. DOF Subsea will deploy the construction support vessel Skandi Constructor under a contract awarded by Siemens on the Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm Project in the North Sea.

Subsea plough to reduce offshore wind costs

UK-based subsea engineering company Global Marine Group (GMG) has contracted for an advanced multi-function pre-lay and backfill subsea plough. Described as “a step change” technology, the plough reduces the cost of offshore wind by minimising operational risk and the time required to install subsea cables. The plough, named Scion 240, delivers boulder clearance and pre-trenching up to 1.7 m wide in a single pass and will be supplied by UK’s Osbit, which has secured four major trenching system contracts in two years. GMG director of engineering Martyn Drye said: “The Scion 240 plough is an exciting new subsea tool for our business; offering boulder clearance and pre-trenching in a single pass is an industry-first.” Mr Drye added that GMG engineers worked closely with Osbit, to develop the system, which “delivers not only for our significant inaugural project, but also for the long term, meeting the needs of our customers in multiple sectors.” GMG will receive the plough in Q2 2019 and begin work this summer. Using control technology that incorporates Osbit Integrated Logistics Support (OILS) asset monitoring, the plough system is fully subsea adjustable and features an extensive surveillance suite for accurate route tracking and effective trenching. The Scion 240 can also be reconfigured for backfilling using the same control and surveillance suite to monitor the cable and trench profile, ensuring the safety of the cable at all times.

Fugro acquires IMR vessel for work in Southeast Asia Netherlands-based geophysical survey company Fugro is clearly happy with the offshore IMR vessel Rem Etive, which it has had on charter for 12 years. Now, it can call the vessel its own, following a deal to purchase the vessel from Norwegian owner Solstad at conditions which it says are significantly more beneficial than a renewed charter agreement. Built to an MT 6016 design from Marin Teknikk by Norway’s Kleven Maritime, Rem Etive has been operating in Southeast Asia for Fugro under a charter agreement since 2007 and is mobilised with a comprehensive range of Fugro equipment for specialised subsea inspection and field support projects. Fugro says the acquisition of the vessel will support a portfolio of IMR contracts being executed by the company in the Asia Pacific region and is expected to strengthen the

REM ETIVE IS A SIGNIFICANT ELEMENT IN THE DELIVERY OF SERVICES FROM FUGRO’S MARINE ASSET INTEGRITY BUSINESS LINE” company’s position in relation to future subsea inspection business in the area. “We are excited to secure the Rem Etive and to continue her deployment for our clients in the APAC region,” said Fugro divisional director marine and board member Mark Heine. “With three multi-year IMR contracts already in place, two of which were awarded in recent weeks, this vessel is the best fit with our fleet to enable us to continue our delivery excellence and efficient performance in subsea IMR projects.” Rem Etive has an overall length of 93.5 m, beam of 19.7 m and clear deck area of 800 m3. The vessel is a significant element in the delivery of services from Fugro’s marine asset integrity business line and is capable of supporting a comprehensive range of services throughout the lifecycle of a subsea development. Meanwhile, Solstad reported that the platform supply vessel Normand Service has been contracted to GeoSea for a period of 180 days firm, plus up to seven months of options to support turbine installation operations at the Moray Firth East Offshore Windfarm, located about 40 km off the northeast coast of Scotland, starting Q2 2019. Solstad also disclosed that two PX 105 design PSVs, Sea Spear and Sea Supra, have been fixed to an undisclosed client for three months each, plus options, with commencement in Q2 2019. The Sea Spear was due on a charter to Saipem in the Mediterranean starting in February 2019 for a period of 45 days firm plus options.

N-Sea lands long-term North Sea IMR charters

Supported by its Aberdeen base, Netherlands-based subsea integrated service provider N-Sea has been awarded two longterm contracts for IMR work in the UK North Sea by two oil operators. One is for a three-year contract by an international operator to support a number of the operator’s UK North Sea assets and includes air diving inspection, repair and maintenance, in addition to light construction requirements from its diving support vessels and dive daughter craft. The second contract, following an initial framework contract award in 2018, will see N-Sea undertake a two-year project for another North Sea operator, comprising IMR on two of its North Sea assets. Commenting on the awards, N-Sea chief operating officer Roddy James said: “Given that the North Sea market is still in recovery phase, we are delighted that we continue to build a genuinely robust orderbook within the region. Both contract awards will see N-Sea utilise two dive support vessels for up to 250 days in 2019, which is a great place to be at this point in the year.” N-Sea specialises in subsea services for the renewable, oil and gas, and telecom/utility industries, as well as for civil contracting communities. OSJ

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019


The fate of rates is a matter of scale FPSO Aoku Mizu is attracting AHTS business in the North Sea


he North Sea OSV market in January 2019 was very much a charterer’s market, as rates fell to the £5,000/ day mark (US$6,600) and owners tried to influence the market by warmstacking vessels. By mid-February this was beginning to have an effect and brokers reported that on some days not enough vessels were available, leading to a doubling in rates. The average charter rate for February for >22,000 bhp AHTS was close to £15,000/day (c. US$20,000) nearly double that averaged in February 2018. This has been taken as an encouraging sign and the expectation is that rates will continue to rise in March. Reported charters include that of two PSVs: the 2014-built ST-216 North Cruys and the 2012-built STX PSV 06 LNG Olympic Energy; the charter is for 380 days from August 2019 to DEA Energy. Olympic Energy also has a 60-day charter before the DEA Energy business. The 2011-built STX (Vard) PSV 09 CD Troms Capella has won a two firm wells/three wells option in the North Sea to support Ocean GreatWhite, the world’s largest semi-submersible drilling rig. Also in the North Sea, the PSV Grampian Sovereign has been chartered for one year to support

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019

The acquisition of GulfMark by Tidewater must be the tip of the iceberg if charter rates are to become sustainable

the FPSO Aoku Mizu. The PSV Brage Trader and ERRV Esvagt Celina have also been fixed for three well contracts with Hurricane Energy. Solstad reports a range of charters for its vessels. The PSV Sea Spear has 45 days work in the barmy Mediterranean for Saipem before heading off to the rather less barmy Kara Sea with Sea Supra for three months work for Gazprom. DOF has won a 21-month or more contract with Chevron for the 2003-built PSV Skandi Star. DOF PSVs Skandi Buchan, Skandi Foula and Skandi Neptune have been booked by Saipem for work in the Liza field in Guyana. These charters can be seen as indications of a recovery in the offshore market, but there are other fundamental factors at play. The AHTS market is under threat from an increase in the use of position mooring systems on rigs, which actively reduce tension in

individual lines or assist the position mooring system’s winches in moving the rig from one location to another. The use of these systems acts as a swing supplier into the AHTS market, absorbing demand that has in the past been the remit of these vessels. Westshore Shipbrokers offshore analyst Inge Moy spelt out the impact on the AHTS fleet at the European Dynamic Positioning Conference on 5 February 2019. Mr Moy said the use of DP on drill rigs has had a significant impact on the AHTS vessel market worldwide. As of 2004, 29% of the drill rig fleet operating worldwide were fitted with DP systems; as of 2013, this had increased to 59%. As of 2019, 74% of drill rigs have DP systems and, as Mr Moy explained, some regions have 100% or close to it. When AHTS are required it is a charterer’s market, and particular specifications notwithstanding, this is generally predicated on age. This was aptly demonstrated by Tidewater’s fleet clear of older units after its all-equity acquisition of GulfMark last year, scrapping or selling 41 older vessels in 2018 and targeting another 40 vessels this year. Tidewater is now the largest OSV owner, with a fleet of 253 vessels, a market capitalisation close to US$1Bn, and an OSV fleet with an average age of 10 years old.


Extraordinary consolidation required

with their customers. The value of a fleet is of course not the same as the market cap, but in an asset-heavy industry like offshore, there should be a close correlation between value and market cap. On this basis, an OSV company with something like the market cap of Saipem would have the scale of Edison Chouset, Tidewater, Solstad, Sovcomflot, and Bourbon combined – an unlikely scenario given the different ownership structures and cultures involved, but an indication of the task facing the industry. Which brings into play the next stage of consolidation – the role of the outside investor. The OSV sector exhibits dislocation, be that VesselsValue’s online OSV and MODUS valuations dislocating the traditional service of the S&P broker; digitalisation of vessel management

The Tidewater consolidation model could become a template for the market. According to AlixPartners analysis, 34 of 38 OSV companies that it analysed had Altman-Z* scores of less than 1.8, indicating a high likelihood of bankruptcy in the next 12 months. Market capitalisation is one of the key indicators here, both in the Altman-Z ratio and as an indicator of investor sentiment in a company. Unsurprisingly, this is now one of the main issues impacting the OSV market. Through the GulfMark merger, Tidewater is now a US$1bn market cap company, but this is a quarter of the size of Saipem, one of the charterers mentioned above. Other OSV operators simply do not have the scale to engage on a level playing field

and technical functions; or customers taking away the service providers through position mooring systems. Stitching together the best elements of this change into a multi-billion dollar market cap entity would not only offer the scale to attract investors to an IPO, it could also alter the structure of the OSV market in the operators’ favour. OSJ *Altman-Z score: the Altman-Z score is an academic predicter of bankruptcy based on five financial ratios that can calculate from data found on a company's annual 10-K report. It uses profitability, leverage, liquidity, solvency and activity to predict whether a company has a high probability of failing. A score of 1.8 or below indicates a high risk of bankruptcy and a score of 3 or higher indicates a high level of solvency.





Brasileira de Offshore

POSH Fleet Services Pte

Esvagt AS



GulfMark Offshore

SEACOR Marine Holdings


China Government



Maersk Supply Service



Nam Cheong Int’l Ltd

Starnav Servicos Maritimos


Bram OTM




Harvey Gulf Marine



Vroon Offshore Services


Solstad Offshore

Tidewater Marine


Edison Chouest Offshore


Swire Pacific Offshore




Hornbeck Offshore Services




900 792.44

Value (US$M)




LEFT: For an OSV operator to reach the market cap of a modestsized client would require extraordinary consolidation

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019


Helping freelance staff demonstrate their competence IMCA technical adviser for competence and training Andre Rose discusses the organisation’s freelance competence e-portfolio scheme


he IMCA freelance competence e-portfolio is a computer-based framework for the freelance professional to build, maintain and control their own individual competence portfolio. Initially, in early 2018, the scheme was provided for Survey freelancers, but in November 2018 was expanded to include ROV freelance professionals. The scheme is provided free of charge by IMCA and full details can be found on the IMCA website. The e-portfolio includes an introductory guidance document, competence tables for survey and ROV, covering all the appropriate levels, template record and testimony assessment documents, along with worked examples of these documents. The documents are designed to be used by the individual but can also be utilised by agencies and contractors requiring a template. There are no central registration or application processes and IMCA does not participate in any assessment of competence or certification. These roles are owned by the contracting company or agency member. The scheme is designed to be paperless and uses e-signatures. Each document can be filled in, signed and forwarded electronically but, if there is a requirement for a paper copy, can also be printed out.

Why do we need it?

The freelance professional has long been a vital resource when manning offshore projects, whether we are considering diving, marine, survey or ROV. Without the freelancer, contracting

Offshore Support Journal | April 2019

Andre Rose (IMCA): The freelance professional can demonstrate they have been assessed and verified to the same standard as full-time employees

companies would have to recruit and retain many more staff, along with the associated costs. Utilising freelance personnel allows a contracting company the flexibility to cope with rapidly changing market conditions, unforeseen short-term project fluctuations and illness. However, to ensure the safety, efficiency and standardisation of the workforce and assure client confidence, it is of paramount importance that the competence of the freelance professional is assessed and verified against the same criteria as those used for full-time company employees. The freelance competence e-portfolio scheme ensures that all team members are working to the same standards and are assessed and verified against those standards. The scheme benefits everybody

involved in the competence process. Client companies can be assured that their contractor workforce, both permanent and temporary, has been assessed and verified as competent against established criteria. The contractor company can be confident that the freelance professionals they engage from agencies, are proven to be as competent against the standards as their own staff. Agencies can be assured they are supplying appropriately trained, knowledgeable and experienced freelancers to the contracting company. The freelance professional can demonstrate that they have been assessed and verified to the same standard as full-time employees and they can easily move from company-tocompany using the e-portfolio system.

What next?

The move to a digital competence scheme creates the potential for the further development of the scheme. Other IMCA committees are currently investigating the scope and feasibility of Continuous Professional Development (CPD) schemes, and how they can be utilised with other training and certification methods to provide an integrated skills portfolio, where the individual can own and maintain a ‘living’ document detailing all areas of their skills and knowledge. This CPD would not necessarily be restricted to professional career information, and could be expanded to include new skills, knowledge and experiences gained from activities outside of work, such as learning a new language or taking up a new hobby. OSJ

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