Better guidance and more trials of remote dynamic positioning (DP) system testing is required for greater industry acceptance, said experts during Riviera’s ‘Remote DP trials and FMEAs: What the guidelines say. What the guidelines mean’ webinar
Offshore support vessel operators want to introduce more data-centric assurance trials and remotely supported testing. But most energy companies are still reluctant to accept these as replacements for DP tests attended by third-party surveyors, heard attendees at the ‘Remote DP trials and FMEAs: What the guidelines say. What the guidelines mean’ webinar, sponsored by DP & Marine Assurance Norway and Keelson Marine Assurance.
A panel of experts tackled a series of questions covering testing of DP systems on vessels and offshore drilling rigs and analysing failure mode effect analysis (FMEA).
All Offshore director Dan Endersby co-hosted the event alongside Riviera’s executive editor and head of business relations Edwin Lampert. The panel was rounded out by Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) offshore technical advisor Faisal Rashid, Siem Offshore marine superintendent Oystein Killingrod, DP & Marine Assurance Norway managing director Peter Solvang and Keelson Marine Assurance senior partner and marine consultant Mat Bateman.
Panellists weighed in on the extent to which today’s guidelines can be relied upon to provide vessel owners and operators operational and safety assurance. And, in discussing the different types of DP trials, they offered expert review on whether existing guidelines help the industry analyse failure modes and fault tolerance on DP vessels.
Mr Endersby outlined the three main methods of completing DP trials: conducting them on vessels and rigs with an independent consultant in attendance, enabling crew to conduct tests with remote monitoring from shore or using data and records as evidence for assurance tests.
“A data-driven approach should support better decision making, create value and provide insight,” Mr Endersby said, noting a data-driven approach verifies and validates each test configuration and results, in what would be continuous testing.
Mr Solvang said a new report from OCIMF, published in Riviera’s whitepapers catalogue, provides guidance for remote DP testing. But, guidance from the International Marine Contractors’ Association seems “to outlaw remote and incremental trials”.
“Which guidelines should we follow?” Mr Solvang asked. “OCIMF 2020 guidance is close to defining what is or is not acceptable for remote DP assurance tests and data-centric testing.”
Mr Bateman was wary of remote testing and said there are advantages to having independent assessors on board during trials. “Our industry is fragmented on doing DP remote trials,” he said. “More discussion is needed.”
Whether there is enough liability protection for remote testing when there is an issue with a vessel’s DP system, is less certain, he said.
“If there is a DP incident after a remote trial, someone would have difficulty defending themselves. There would be questions why was there not an independent witness. Whatever is done needs to match attended trails with an independent third party, and I am not sure that has been proven yet,” Mr Bateman said.
Mr Killingrod provided a vessel operator’s perspective. In favour of conducting remote DP tests, he said there is enough evidence for acceptance.
“The guidelines will evolve as remote trials evolve – they are here to stay,” he said, noting Siem Offshore has completed five remote trials on its vessels so far and found commercial and professional advantages.
“They are cost-effective; there are less logistics; they are good for when the vessel is idle; and they increase crew competence and ownership,” Mr Killingrod said.
Although OCIMF has guidance, he found energy companies remain reluctant to accept it. Siem Offshore has only conducted remote trials on vessels on long-term charter to clients.
“There is a lack of client acceptance. We will not take a commercial risk with vessels on the spot market,” said Mr Killingrod. “Spot vessels would be dead in the water if the first client does not accept remote testing.”
Speaking for OCIMF, Mr Rashid said all 110 members supported the new guidance on DP assurance testing and FMEAs but only “six members accept remote testing”.
“All our members are accepting data-driven testing, although some accept these for offshore vessels and others just mobile offshore drilling units,” Mr Rashid added, noting there could be more acceptance in time and updates to OCIMF guidance.
“We are looking for feedback from stakeholders in the industry and assurance for our members, and then we can review the guidance,” said Mr Rashid.
When polled, the majority (71%) of webinar attendees said they believe industry guidance fails to clearly define the requirements for performing remote and incremental trials. The remaining 29% said industry guidance does clearly define these requirements.
Among the audience, there was general support for the continued use of remote trials for DP assurance testing. Of those who responded, 67% said they were in favour of remote trials, whereas 33% were not.
In another question, 86% of respondents thought using data to verify and validate trials was achievable, and the other 14% did not.
Attendees were also asked whether digital survey systems were in the same category as remote trials, of which 63% said no and 37% said yes.
Attendees were then asked whether the current scope of annual trials programmes is necessary to prove the performance, protection and detection features required to validate a vessel’s DP ability. In order, they responded:
1 - Not meeting the requirements: 0%
5 - Fully meeting the requirements: 26%
On a scale of 1 to 5, attendees were asked to rate the current system of remote trials, with the vast majority feeling the trials system needed work to fully meet requirements:
1 - not meeting requirements: 17%
5 - fully meeting requirements: 7%
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’Remote DP trials and FMEAs: What the guidelines say. What the guidelines mean’ webinar panel included (left to right): All Offshore director Dan Endersby, Keelson Marine Assurance senior partner and marine consultant Mat Bateman, DP & Marine Assurance Norway managing director Peter Solvang, Siem Offshore marine superintendent, Oystein Killingrod and OCIMF offshore technical advisor Faisal Rashid