Maersk Supply Service turned to digitalisation, alternative crew rotations and stockpiling critical parts to overcome Covid-related challenges on its offshore support vessels (OSVs)
The Danish-headquartered OSV owner improved communications and implemented digital technologies on its vessels to reduce travel requirements.
Maersk Supply Service chief operating officer Mark Handin outlined some of the changes during Riviera Maritime Media’s Annual Offshore Support Journal virtual conference and exhibition, supported by platinum sponsor Caterpillar, on 23 March.
These included changes in crewing, relationships with vendors, alternative transport and improved communications with vessels.
“We were faced with huge challenges in crew changes and the supply chain – we needed to take control of our own destiny,” said Mr Handin.
“We turned to local infrastructure, workforces operated as self-contained business units and collaborated across Maersk’s broad pool of resources for crewing.”
To overcome supply-chain challenges, Maersk Supply Service stockpiled spares, strengthened relationships with suppliers and introduced cloud-based ship management and electronic inventory management on its vessels.
Other digitalisation investments included introducing videoconferencing, technologies for predictive maintenance, electronic logbooks, offshore e-learning and permit-to-work dashboards.
Mr Handin said physical and mental health was enhanced on its OSVs including coronavirus testing, travel and onboarding protocols, life onboard protocols and vaccines for seafarers.
“Safety is essential, and in 2021 our focus will be on seafarer health,” he said. “There should also be a focus on mental health.” This includes managing fatigue, stress, situational awareness, engagement and communication.
Mr Handin was joined on the panel by Maritime Strategies International associate director for offshore Gregory Brown and 4C Offshore market analyst Rosie Haworth.
Mr Brown outlined where the main growth areas in offshore markets would be in the next five years. This included growth in the installation requirements for floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) units in deepwater regions off South America.
Deepwater projects generate important demand for OSVs in terms of supporting drilling development wells, subsea construction, flowline and umbilicals installation, FPSO mooring and hook-up, ongoing commissioning work and support through the production lifetime.
Mr Brown concentrated on the anticipated growth in FPSO installations offshore Guyana and Suriname. This region could match Brazil for deepwater investment over the decade as energy companies, including ExxonMobil, Eni, Tullow, Total and Hess will be investing in new projects.
Mr Brown said ExxonMobil expects “production will be 750,000 b/d by 2026 with five FPSOs operating”.
Even more important for long-term growth and investment, Mr Brown said another energy company thinks “10 more FPSOs may be required”. There are six drilling rigs working on development and appraisal wells in the region.
Ms Haworth highlighted the OSV requirements for future offshore windfarm installations, including floating structures. “There are opportunities for foundations and cable installations, and OSVs for supporting site construction and maintaining assets,” she said. “There has been considerable growth in walk-to-work markets as projects are further from shore.”
Ms Haworth said vessels could do supply runs to construction vessels and substation platforms and there would be opportunities for survey vessels for geotechnical work. She said more OSVs could be reconfigured to support these projects, such as installing walk-to-work gangways.
For a floating windfarm project, Kincardine in Scotland, OSVs are required for seabed preparation, export cable installation and trenching, towing structures, installing mooring spreads, hook-up and supporting commissioning. “These are multi-vessel projects,” said Ms Haworth.
Riviera’s Offshore Support Journal Subsea Conference offers a platform for offshore professionals to discuss and debate growth, operations and opportunities. Industry leaders will share their experiences, review the latest industry trends and ensure attendees come away armed for future success and growth. Register here