The increasing use of offshore access systems that are now routinely used in the offshore oil and gas, as well as the offshore wind industry, has prompted classification society, Bureau Veritas, to publishing some guidelines.
The guidelines have been developed for motion compensated offshore access systems, which are used to transfer various personnel from all disciplines to and from offshore vessels and offshore installations and structures.
Guidance Note NI629: Certification of Offshore Access Systems provides a clear and comprehensive overview of the safety principles and technical requirements for the design, manufacturing and operation of reliable and dependable equipment for the safe transfer of personnel at sea.
Matthieu de Tugny, senior vice-president and head of offshore at Bureau Veritas, said: “Getting people safely onto and off unmanned platforms and windfarm towers offshore has become a big issue. Offshore access systems can provide significant safety, operability and/or cost advantages over more traditional personnel transfer methods such as personnel basket or capsule lifts, step-over from crew transfer vessels and helicopter transfers. We see a lot of new vessel types emerging with these motion-compensated gangways and it is imperative that the industry has a standard against which to assess their safety and to help develop safe new designs.”
Two different offshore access technologies have emerged: passive transfer gangways, which are first connected to the offshore installation and then put in free-flow mode for personnel transfer; and active transfer gangways which remain motion compensated during personnel transfer. The safety issues and critical components, which differ from one category to the other, require special attention to ensure safe and reliable operation.
“With these guidelines the regulatory gap into which personnel transfer between offshore support vessels and offshore installations could fall has been closed,” concluded Mr de Tugny.