Aberdeen firm launches marine awareness campaign

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Aberdeen Seacroft Marine has launched a bid to raise awareness of the 500m safety zone offshore.

The maritime specialist has released a new 500m Zone Management assurance and auditing process for offshore installations.

Currenlty 97% of collisions that occur between vessels and offshore installations are with attending vessels on legitimate business at the Installation rather than vessels passing by on other business at another destination.

Michael Cowlam, technical director at Seacroft Marine Consultants, said: “Vessels colliding with offshore installations have long been considered a major risk, and there is a new focus on having more robust and effective procedures in place to address this.

“While collisions are relatively uncommon, there have been a number of incidents in recent years which have led to increasing concern from the HSE and other industry organisations about the potential risks involved.

“As well as a training course, we have developed audit and inspection templates for installation personnel to monitor ships within the 500m safety zone. These complement our training and it is easy to check if the procedures are still being followed.”

The safety zone is the area extending 500m from any part of an offshore oil and gas installation, and is established automatically around all installations. Subsea installations may also have safety zones to protect them which are created by statutory instrument.

The safety zones exist to protect the safety of the people working on, or in the vicinity of, the installation.

Mr Cowlam added: “Our marine operations specialists can advise on the responsibilities of installation operators and provide training to improve safety and continually monitor compliance with such processes.

“The audit and inspection templates for installations complement training we also offer for vessels about the 500m safety zones so that both perspectives are covered. It is crucial to consider monitoring and auditing how the safety zones are being managed.

“As well as this, planning and communication is essential, along with awareness of both good and bad practices. This is where we can help and we would urge any company looking at this aspect of their operations to get in touch with us and find out more.”

The next stage of the project will see a review of potential technical solutions to identify products which can further enhance monitoring of vessel approach speeds, headings and proximity to offshore Installations with more precision using instruments and on-screen displays onboard the installation.