offshore support vessels a pratical guide

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OFFSHORE SUPPORT VESSELSA PRACTICAL GUIDEby Gary Ritchie Master Mariner, BA(Hons) MNIPublished by The Nautical Institute 202 Lambeth Road, London SE1 7LQ, England Telephone +44 (0)207 928 1351 Fax +44 (0)207 401 28127 website: First edition published 2008 Copyright The Nautical Institute 2008

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews. Although great care has been taken with the writing of the book and production of the volume, neither The Nautical Institute nor the author can accept any responsibility for errors or omissions or their consequences. The book has been prepared to address the subject of multi-purpose offshore support vessels. This should not, however, be taken to mean that this document deals comprehensively with all of the concerns that will need to be addressed or even, where a particular matter is addressed, that this document sets out the only definitive view for all situations. The opinions expressed are those of the author only and are not necessarily to be taken as the policies or views of any organisation with which he has any connection. Readers should make themselves aware of any local, national or international changes to bylaws, legislation, statutory and administrative requirements that have been introduced which might affect any decisions taken on board.

Cover picture courtesy of Huisman Itec

Typeset by J A Hepworth FNI 1 Ropers Court, Lavenham, Suffolk CO 10 9PU, England Printed in England by Modern Colour Solutions 2 BullsBridge Ind Est, Hayes Road, Southall, Middlesex UB2 5NB, England

ISBN 1 870077 88 1 ii


FOREWORD 1by Mr S. A. McNeill CEng MRINA Vice President Vessels and Equipment Subsea 7


s the development of oil and gas fields heads in to ever deeper water and more hostile environments, there has been a dramatic rise in the demand for new vessels, equipment and technology capable of operating in this dramatic arena. The scale, complexity and innovation of the solutions required to solve the constantly evolving challenges of deepwater offshore construction are rarely paralleled in human history. Offshore Support Vessels operate in the harshest working conditions known to man and their reliability is of paramount importance to protect their crews, the environment and the infrastructure of the fields where they operate. In such an exciting and complex field of engineering there is very limited reference material and so I was very pleased to read Gary Ritchie's new book that seeks to advance the reader's understanding of this subject. At a time when there is an unprecedented boom in the construction of new Offshore Support Vessels, with a corresponding peak in the demand for new personnel to join the industry, such a book could hardly be more timely. For the student or newcomer to the offshore subsea construction industry this book provides an excellent starting point and an invaluable introduction to the principles, equipment and vessels utilised in the offshore subsea construction environment. For those already in the industry, who may have learnt the hard way, this book may also serve them well if they are seeking to expand their knowledge. For other professionals, who need to gain an understanding of the offshore construction industry and its unique terminology, this is a valuable guidebook. This book focuses on the basic principles of some of the cornerstone technologies in offshore subsea construction and should be of assistance to those either planning operations or specifying and designing new offshore support vessels. Topics covered include Dynamic Positioning Systems, Pipelay Vessel Operations, Remotely Operated Vehicles and their host support vessels. In addition Saturation Diving Vessels, Diving Equipment and Diving Operations are discussed at length. Saturation Diving is one of the original foundations of subsea construction activities and is still very relevant today, since, at the time of writing, more new diving vessels are under construction than at any time in the past. Finally, but most importantly, the author introduces some of the key international legislation and principles governing the safe, secure and environmental operation of Offshore Support Vessels. There are many different solutions to the numerous novel problems posed to Offshore Vessel Operators as we advance into this frontier science. It is essential that all are carefully assessed, making best use of sound engineering principles, to ensure we make the right choices to protect ourselves and the environment as we sail cautiously forward. I believe that this book is a valuable contribution and hope it will provide you with a good headstart on your journey into the deep.




have known Gary Ritchie as a work colleague for more than a decade now and have always admired his dedication to his craft, his great attention to detail and his thorough knowledge of offshore support vessel operations gained in a great part from practical experience. It is this great attention to detail and thorough knowledge which leads me to believe that there is no one better suited to compile a book on offshore support vessel operations.

The offshore oil and gas operators depend upon various different types of offshore vessels to provide the support required to enable their particular workscopes to be performed. Although in the past there have been books written on certain types of offshore support vessels, this is the first time that such a comprehensive book covering many various different types of offshore support vessel operations has been available. In fact, there is no other book in existence which contains such a comprehensive text on up to date offshore support vessel operations. I would recommend this book to both offshore and onshore personnel involved in offshore support vessel operations including those who are new to the industry together with those who are new to certain vessel types. This practical guide to Multi-Purpose offshore support vessels is a very valuable book containing information equally valid for offshore personnel as well as others involved in the industry and can provide valuable reference to onshore management enabling them to gain an insight into particular issues offshore. Captain Gary McKenzie Master Mariner, MNI, MIOSH, M.Inst.Pet October 2007




he Offshore Industry is a varied sector within which many vessel types operate, performing numerous different tasks with often unique systems and equipment. These vessels can range from purpose built specialised ships which may, for example, only perform diving operations, to vessels which have been repeatedly converted from one vessel type to another as the nature of the business changes. As such, the subject of Multi-Purpose Offshore Support Vessels covers a very broad spectrum of vessel types and vessel operations and it is therefore very difficult to provide a definitive overview of the subject matter. However, there are many standard features, systems and operating practices that are applicable across the industry. It is these generic features that this book therefore proposes to introduce, whilst particular reference is made to a number of specific vessels in order to illustrate the diversity and complexity of the systems involved. It is hoped that by presenting a general overview and introduction to Dive Support, ROV Support, Construction Support and Pipe Lay Vessels, the text will provide an insight to this specialised sector, not only for anyone planning to transfer or commence a career within the industry, but for those already established within such a diverse business.




he author wishes to thank the following who kindly provided valued assistance in the preparation of this book: Captain Gary McKenzie, Steph McNeil, Dave Dobeson, Jackie Doyle, Elaine Percival, Alex Main, Allan Cameron, Paul McBurnie, Denis Johnstone, John Patterson, Chris Fletcher, Derek Gray, Bruce McKenzie and Bob Barr for their valuable assistance and comments. Keith Phillips at Guidance Navigation Limited for providing details and images relating to the RadaScan DP Reference System. These are reproduced by kind permission. Mark Prise of Scotgrip (UK) Limited for providing details of Scotgrip safety products. Images in section 13 are reproduced by kind permission. Mark Williams, Human Element Development Manager, Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The images in section 13 are reproduced with permission of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. All material remains the worldwide copyright of MCA / Crown and may not be reproduced without written permission. Hugh Williams of the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) for allowing permission to use the IMCA Safety Posters 'Manual Handling' and 'Slips, Trips and Falls'. The posters are reproduced here under kind permission, courtesy of IMCA. Figure 1.6 is reproduced by kind permission of Fuglefjellet. The majority of the photographs contained within this book are reproduced by kind permission of Subsea 7 from their extensive database. All due care has been taken to only include photographs available from this database and any failure to correctly identify the copyright holder is unintentional. Thank You Whoever You Are (h, Steve, Mark, Pete and Ian). For Linda, Ewan and Calum.



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