You have been requested by the owner of a Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit to attend their non-propelled self elevating unit. The unit is named ‘UDOM-01’ The unit is afloat in the UK Sector of the North Sea. Access will be by helicopter and egress by ship.
The owner is concerned about the safety levels of the unit and requires to identify safety risks onboard. The primary methodology of doing so will be to ensure compliance with the MODU Code for the Construction and Equipment of Mobile Offshore Drilling Units’.
Also, the owner wishes to ensure that the unit is in a condition which will be satisfactory for the forthcoming annual survey. This is scheduled to take place four weeks after your visit.
As your principle the owner requires you to :
i) Arrive onboard the unit by helicopter, remain onboard for two days and depart by supply ship via man riding basket on day three.
ii) Verify compliance with the ‘MODU Code for the Construction and Equipment of Mobile Offshore Drilling Units’.
iii) Identify areas of the unit which do not comply with the Code.
iv) Report on any items which may prevent the MODU annual survey being endorsed.
The unit carries sufficient life saving equipment for 32 people. When you arrive there will be 32 people onboard (32 POB).
- Detail the preparations you will make in order to conduct such a survey, listing the equipment you would take and, the precautions required for working as a surveyor under these circumstances. (15%).
b) During your survey the Offshore Installation Manager (OIM) advises you that the there are no problems with the unit. You later find that the engineering staff are aware that the fire detection system is not operational. Explain how you would deal with this situation and why the statement of the OIM is now a major concern. (20%).
c) During the survey you find that the freefall lifeboat mounted on the unit is damaged and unusable. The lifeboat capacity of the unit no longer satisfies the requirements of the MODU code and the unit is at sea. Explain how you would deal with this situation. (15%).
d) Produce a typical (fictitious) report based on the above situations which you would provide to your principle. Include structure, systems and equipment which you have surveyed and include five examples of situations where the survey has identified areas that do not comply with the MODU Code.(50%).
Word count target is 3000 words.
Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (MODU Code) – Case Study
The Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (MODU) includes facilities designed and modified for engagement in drilling and exploration activities. The MODU include vessels designed for drilling, submersibles, semisubmersibles, jack-ups, ultra-Deepwater units, conventional ship-and barge-shaped rigs, tender-assist drilling, and fixed-platform rigs among other similar facilities movable without substantial effort (International Maritime Organization, 2001). The efficiency of the equipment is important for successful and profitable exploration. As such, unit modification is critical in the maintenance of MODU. The owner or operator should carry out regular assessments of the facilities to ensure efficiency, minimize risks, and allow the continued effective performance of the drilling or exploration activities. The modification of the facilities includes the enhancement of their effectiveness through review and assessment with consideration of factors such as the age and condition of the facilities. Moreover, the re-assessment determines the extent and impact of the use, repair, and modification of the facilities over time (Polski Rejestr Statków, 2016). The performance of re-assessment is required when the life of the facility or facilities is expected beyond the design life, if there are deficiencies revealed or recorded during operation, or in cases of major modifications with consideration of the age, design life, or condition of the facility/facilities.
Preparations for Conducting the MODU Survey
A self-elevating unit is a unit with movable legs with the capability of raising its hull above the sea surface and lowering it into the sea. The hull of the unit has sufficient buoyancy for the transportation of the unit to the desired location. Once on the desired site, the operator raises/elevates the hull to a predetermined height or position above the surface of the sea on its legs, then supported by the sea bed. The self-elevating unit’s legs are designed in a way that they penetrate the sea bed. Additionally, the application of enlarged sections or footings or the attachment to the bottom mat allows the fitting of the legs and consequently, determine the stability of the whole unit (Australian Maritime Safety Authority, 2012). The analysis of the unit is critical in the determination of what parts to analyze for the determination of risks and the potential of failure.
Preparation should start with date selection and consideration of the principles, rules, laws, risk assessment, and the duties of the surveyor, and the required tools and equipment among others. Date selection allows planning, efficient choice of equipment, and the consideration of the issues of risk and thus is important as an initial activity. The surveyor should give special consideration to the schedule per the terms and conditions of the agreement with the employer (IACS, 2012). As the surveyor, there is a need to clearly outline the laws, regulations, and principles to avoid the development of conflicts. Moreover, it is important to demarcate the roles and duties to be performed to the UDOM-01. The major purpose will be to attend to the non-propelled self-elevating unit, which is afloat in the region’s UK Sector of the North Sea. The process would include the determination of the safety levels of the unit, which will require the identification of the risks onboard. All the procedures will work towards determining compliance with the MODU Code for the Construction and Equipment of MODU.
The owner should provide the various equipment for effective surveying. Necessary survey equipment will include the tools for thickness measurement such as ultrasonic test equipment, equipment for accessing water ballast tanks and void compartments such as boats/rafts, movable platforms such as lifts, passages connecting structures, and temporary staging among others. Additionally, the process demands equipment for fracture detection such as radiographic, ultrasonic, dye penetrant, and magnetic particle equipment or any other acceptable techniques (IACS, 2015). The choice of the equipment should be done with consideration of their efficiency and applicability in the MODU survey. The initial preparation allows effectiveness in surveying. The process should be preceded by the sufficient cleaning of equipment to reveal corrosion, fractures, damages, deformation, and any other structural deterioration.
Additionally, various variables and issues must be considered before transferring appliances, materials, or persons around the site (Polski Rejestr Statków, 2016). The consideration of safety concerns in the course of transferring materials, appliances, and persons within the sites is of great importance. The management and persons in charge of the MODU should ensure that operational transfers do not commence until the materials or loads for transfer and the emergency procedures are met. The emergency procedures and meeting the standards of material or load transfer in terms of mass and safety considerations. Moreover, the surveyor and other staff in charge should ensure that during the transfer operation there is a clear line of efficient communication in the MODU. Such communication can be through handheld VHF/UHF portable transceiver devices or hand signals used by the management, the supervisors, surveyors, or the operators of the cranes used for the transfer and movement of the people, materials, or appliances (International Maritime Organization, 2001).
As a surveyor, there is a need to ensure the effective movement of people and transfer of materials/appliances within the unit. The transfer and movement operations must be in accordance with the MODU operating manual. For instance, if the transfer or movement occurs using a crane, the operators of the MODU and the management must ascertain the safety of the persons transferred. Every person should have the necessary safety equipment such as wearing a life jacket, anti-exposure suits or immersion suits (IACS, 2015). Moreover, to guarantee safety and minimize risks, the surveyor should consider and ensure that the personnel transfer crane or other devices meet all the safety and other requirements. For instance, it should be certified as suitable for the performance of the duties for which it is used for by a recognized organization (DNV, 2014). Additionally, while the management should ensure that the equipment is regularly serviced, there is need for the surveyor to ensure that the transfer device is in good condition. The servicing and maintaining the device includes inspecting for possible defects before use. Most importantly, the device should have the control line attached and should be load tested and inspected by a firm authorized or approved by a recognized organization to ensure the effectiveness. All the measures and principles improve serve a significant role in the maintenance of safety and the improvement of efficiency of operations in MODU. While using on-site cranes, it is important to ensure that the cranes do not transfer more than four persons at once (International Maritime Organization, 2001). Apart from the cranes, a basket, net or cradle designed for carrying one person can be applied for the transfer of the surveyor throughout the infrastructure for the performance of his/her duties.
Arrival at the MODU using a helicopter comes with various considerations. The MODU safety management system or operating manual specifies the number of persons near the helideck. The persons should have sufficient training about rescue and emergency/risk management. Their skills range from firefighting and rescue duties to emergency health provision. Moreover, they have the necessary equipment and are dressed in accordance with the guidelines and standards offered by the safety management system or the MODU’s operating manual (Renewable UK, 2013). The main purpose of the team is to rescue the persons aboard in case of an accident or fight any outbreaks of fire. While travelling to the MODU, there was a need to ensure that apart from the rescue and firefighting team and the team aboard no other persons were allowed into the helicopter.
The firefighting system of the MODU is a critical component. According to the Offshore Installation Manager asserted that there was no problems with the Unit. However, the engineers were aware that the fire detection system was not operational. There was a need to engage on a comprehensive survey to analyze the functionality and effectiveness of the entire firefighting system. The survey included a testing of the water firefighting system which includes fire pumps, the Unit’s fire mains, hydrants and the system’s hoses among others (Polski Rejestr Statków, 2016). Additionally, there was a need for the analysis and verification of the portable and non-portable fire extinguishers and the portable foam applicators (Australian Maritime Safety Authority, 2012). The survey identified major flaws in the system, which were a major cause of concern about the entire MODU. Moreover, there was a need for the analysis and examination of the fixed fire-extinguishing systems and the fireman’s outfit and paraphernalia. Surveying the fire detection system showed that the system was flawed and needed immediate corrective measures. There was a need to engage the owner and the leadership by informing them of the issue and offering the guidelines for the replacement of key parts of the system. Further, recognizing the misrepresentation of the state of the fire detection system by the OIM demanded a further review and survey of the general alarm system and the communication between the control stations to improve fire detection and prevention. The survey was critical for the identification of areas that would deny the company certification.
The statement recorded by the Offshore Installation Manager raises concerns over the entire Unit, the management, and persons in charge of various systems in the Unit. That the OIM gave a false statement depicted the possibility that every statement given by the management concerning the system might have been wrong. There was a need for an extensive and articulate survey of the MODU. Even when the inclusion of reports from overseeing engineers and persons in charge of different systems within a unit plays a critical role in developing an efficient survey, the inability to report operational inefficiency within the fire detection system deters the application of engineers’ information, any information given by the engineers or the management of Offshore Installation was henceforth treated with doubt. As such, there was a significantly great need for surveying all the systems of MODU to ensure accurate and credible information concerning the systems. Moreover, measures should be taken to alleviate care systems failure to function and minimize ineffectiveness and promote efficiency (IACS, 2012; International Maritime Organization, 2001). However, there was a need to recommend different areas that require repair or replacement.
Surveyed Systems and Equipment
The survey focused on reviewing and analyzing the external openings, which influence the efficiency of the MODU significantly. The openings are non-watertight and play a critical role and must be situated in a way that its lower edge does not submerge upon the inclination of the MODU to the first intercept (Australian Maritime Safety Authority, 2012). The openings follow the 1979, 1989, and the 2009 MODU Code (DNV, 2014). The survey focused on the ventilator, the ventilation outlet/inlet, the air pipe, the doorway, and the non-watertight hatch. The various parts of the external non-watertight openings were found to meet the requirements for effective operation under the MODU Code. Moreover, the watertight external opening, which submerges when the MODU experiences a breakdown or is damaged was also found to function effectively without any significant damages. As such, all the parts of the external openings of the MODU were perfectly functional in accordance with the MODU Code.
Surveying Hazardous Area
The survey focused on the hazardous area of the MODU by testing various equipment and systems. The major areas surveyed included the ventilation systems, where they were function-tested through emergency stop systems and the application of alarms for lost ventilation (IACS, 2015). Additionally, survey was done on the alarms, shutdown functions, self-closing airlocks and gastight doors, gas detection equipment, and prevention devices for combustion engines among others. These equipment were function-tested to determine their levels of effectiveness and whether they adhered to the MODU Code (DNV, 2014).
The Fire Detection System
The fire detection system plays a critical role in the management and prevention of risks associated with fire breakouts. The detection system offers fire precaution and includes various equipment and processes (Polski Rejestr Statków, 2016). The survey tests the functionality of the firefighting system including the pumps, hydrants, and hoses, the different types of fire extinguishers, the outfit, and the alarm system among others. The determination of whether the system followed the MODU Code was critical in the processes (International Maritime Organization, 2001) (IACS, 2012).
Survey of Electrical Installations
Survey concerning the electrical installations focused on different components of the electrical system. The examination of the main electrical power source with respect to the fire hazard, personnel safety, and the general condition was of great importance. Additionally, the survey examined the automatic start and the connection to the system’s switchboard of the generator and further inspected the insulation monitoring devices for the distribution systems. Further, the survey examined the cable installations, emergency source of power, and the check if the system is regularly modified and effectively managed or maintained (International Maritime Organization, 2001).
The survey included the examination of the spaces for the MODU and the machinery therein. Such machinery like boilers, incinerators, and other equipment were examined with attention being placed on other concerns such as fire and explosion hazards. The examination of the components of MODU such as the jacketed high-pressure fuel-injection piping system, shielding of the flammable oil piping system, and the insulation of hot surfaces, inspection of incinerators and the performance of boilers among others were critical for testing the safety and function of the equipment (IACS, 2015).
Monitoring and Control Systems
The survey of the control and monitoring systems for the auxiliary machinery focused on the steam generation, the electrical power generation/distribution, the thermal oil heating, and the oil/gas burning equipment on the incinerators (International Maritime Organization, 2001). Further, the survey focused on other components such as the safety functions, the alarm functions, automatic and remote control functions, the mechanical and electrical conditions, the fire protection systems, and the communication systems. Additionally, the survey on the control and monitoring systems inspected the control panels, emergency lighting, and the communication systems among other critical components (DNV, 2014). The analysis of the different functions and system elements allowed the identification of the shortcomings and non-compliance with the MODU Code.
Examples of Non-compliance with the MODU Code
The examination and inspection of different systems and equipment during the survey outlined various examples of non-compliance with the MODU Code. According to the International Maritime Organization (2001), the fire system of the MODU should comply with the MODU Code. For instance, various components of the firefighting system of the MODU were found not complying with the MODU Code. The survey found that the fire detection system was not operational despite the IOM asserting that it was operational. Additionally, the fire hose, which was supposed to be efficient and working in accordance with the MODU Codes did not meet all the requirements of the International Codes for Application of Fire Test Procedures (ICAFTP) (International Maritime Organization, 2001).
Secondly, the MODU electrical system does not entirely meet the MODU Code. The Code demands that every MODU constructed after June 2000 have a reference to 55V according to the 1979 MODU Codes and 1989 MODU Codes and 50V according to the 2009 MODU Codes. The defection of the MODU’s electrical system makes it defy the MODU Codes and operate with the purpose of achieving increased productivity and profitability without considering the dangers and risks of operating outside the Codes (Australian Maritime Safety Authority, 2012).
According to the MODU Codes, the persons in charge of the operations of the MODU must be competent and well-acquainted with the system’s characteristics, possess the ability to direct emergency procedures, and work effectively without compromising operational efficiency (DNV, 2014). The engineers and the Offshore Installation Manager do not possess these traits and thus are non-compliant with the MODU Codes. They know the fire detection system is not operational but do not take interventions to deal with the concern. Moreover, they also lie about the process putting the operations of the MODU and the lives of everyone onboard at risk.
The survey identified the non-compliance of the gas detection and fire protection systems with 2009 MODU Code. According to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (2012), the systems must comply with the MODU Code regardless of whether or not the MODU Code applies to the system or the MODU. The examination and inspection of the gas detection and the fire protection system identified non-compliance with the MODU Code. The Code points out that all life-saving appliances and the gas/fire detection and protection systems must comply with the MODU Code even when Codes does not apply to the MODU.
Additionally, the lifeboat does not meet the requirements set by the MODU Codes. According to IACS (2012), a lifeboat must always be operational and effective to tackle cases of emergency and save the people onboard. The MODU should have sufficient lifesaving equipment and the boat should meet the specification in terms of the number of people it can accommodate and the facilities therein. However, the freefall lifeboat onboard is damaged and unusable. Its capacity does not satisfy the MODU Code requirements and thus the need to focus on dealing with the issue. Immediate attention is required to deal with the matter. For instance, as a surveyor, there is a need to recommend the disposal of the lifeboat and the acquisition of one that is operational, efficient, and meets all the requirements of the MODU Codes. The management of the MODU must focus on replacing the lifeboat with immediate effect. The MODU should not commence operations without an operational lifeboat.
The maintenance of condition after the survey is critical. The owner of
the MODU must work towards the implementation of corrective action required by
the survey report. The corrective action must occur within the time specified
in the report. The determination of the fact that some parts of the MODU do not
comply with MODU Code for the Construction and Equipment of Mobile Offshore
Drilling Units demands corrective action. The report identifies areas that do
not comply with the MODU Code and that pose a critical challenge to the
achievement of the Unit’s goals. These areas may prevent the endorsement of the
MODU annual survey and thus inhibit operations or operate at a reduced level of
efficiency. As such, there is a need for the persons in charge to implement the
survey and ensure compliance of all parts off the unit with the Code for the
Construction and Equipment of Mobile Offshore Drilling Units. The
non-compliance with the Code makes the parts of the Unit unfit for the
engagement in operations due to the danger and risks associated with poorly
maintained drilling equipment. The failure to comply with the guidelines
offered in the survey may not only limit the profitability of the Unit and
endanger lives but also may attract strict liability offence. Adherence to and
ensuring compliance with the Code enhances operational readiness, efficiency,
and improves the quality in operations. The management of the persons in charge
of the MODU should ensure that all the fire protection and firefighting systems
and gas detection systems comply with the Code and are efficient in the
performance of the duties. Additionally, the persons in charge should ascertain
the efficiency and compliance of the lifesaving appliances of the MODU with the
MODU Code. The consideration of these concerns among other identified issues
identified during the sur vey should be considered and met for the MODU to
attain certification for operating in the UK North Sea. The consideration of
Acts concerning the exploitation of natural marine resources and the
requirements for the satisfaction of the MODU guidelines are issues of great
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[Accessed 19 April 2016].
DNV, 2014. Rules for classification of self-elevating units. [Online]
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[Accessed 14 April 2016].
IACS, 2012. Requirements Concerning Mobile Offshore Drilling Units. [Online]
Available at: http://www.iacs.org.uk/document/public/Publications/Unified_requirements/PDF/UR_D_pdf149.PDF
IACS, 2015. Hull, Structure, Equipment and Machinery Surveys of Mobile Offshore Drilling Units. [Online]
Available at: http://www.iacs.org.uk/document/public/Publications/Resolution_changes/PDF/UR_Z15_Rev1_pdf2517.pdf
[Accessed 13 April 2016].
International Maritime Organization, 2001. Code for the Construction and Equipment of Mobile Offshore Drilling Units. London: International Maritime Organization – Publication.
Polski Rejestr Statków, 2016. Rules for the classification and construction of Mobile Offshore Drilling Units. [Online]
Available at: https://www.ufpe.br/engnaval/images/pdf/Classificadoras/BV/Offshore_2010/partavol01_si.pdf
Renewable UK, 2013. Guidelines for the selection and operation of jack-ups in the marine renewable energy industry. [Online]
Available at: http://www.renewableuk.com/download.cfm/docid/9B115920-FDC7-47E2-82EC19C36D7B2152