Reflex Marine was the first EU based company to receive accreditation from the Directorate of Ports and Coasts (DPC) for a personnel transfer carrier in Brazilian waters. Reflex Marine's FROG-6 carrier has been officially homologated by the DPC for use in offshore Brazil since 2014. This followed the Brazilian Navy witnessing the FROG-6 undergoing immersion, load, vertical and lateral impact tests, amongst other testing criteria, in December 2013. The FROG-6's design and specification were incorporated into several provisions of Annex 4-A when it was formulated. Reflex Marine were pleased to see the DPC carrying out pioneering work on personnel safety in the Americas and are proud to be supporting the work of the DPC in that respect.
In December 2016, the DPC altered the Maritime Authority Standards for the Approval of Material (NORMAM-05/DPC). The changes included an alteration of item 0408 (Personnel Transfer Basket) and insertion of Annex 4-A (Rules Governing Personnel Transfer Basket). According to the DPC, the purpose of the alterations is to help to safeguard human life in offshore operations and to fine tune the safety technical requirements for the manufacturing of personnel transfer baskets - a concern of the Public Prosecution Service for Labor issues, which wants to improve worker safety in transfers between vessels and platforms. Annex 4-A contains details of the new design recommendations and testing requirements for personnel transfer carriers.
The changes prescribed under Annex 4-A were initially intended to come into effect on 1st July 2018, but the time for compliance was extended to 1st July 2019.
The FROG-6 had received a renewed approval certificate in April 2016. At the time the regulations were changed in December it was the only personnel transfer carrier or basket on the market that was noted by the DPC as complying with all of the changes to NORMAM05/DPC introduced in Annex 4-A.
Since Annex 4-A was announced, operators in offshore Brazil continued to introduce or increased their existing FROG-6 fleets under the renewed 2016 DPC certification. During this time, new carriers from other manufacturers have also been introduced to the market and approved for use by the DPC.
When Reflex Marine submitted the second renewal request ahead of the expiry, the DPC requested that further testing be carried out in order to confirm that the FROG-6 was compliant with all aspects of the new requirements mandated in Annex 4-A.
The FROG-6's 2016 DPC certificate expired on February 10th, 2019. The design and underlying principles of operation of the FROG-6 have not changed, and the expiry of certification has no impact upon the safety of passengers.
During a meeting with the DPC, we went through a comparison between the FROG-6 and Annex 4-A. The FROG-6 has 98% compliance with the recommendations of Annex 4-A, more than any other personnel transfer carrier available on the market. Reflex Marine have had excellent collaboration with the DPC throughout the renewal process and analysis of the technical safety requirements of Annex 4-A.
Following from further meetings with the DPC, a date was set for testing of the FROG-6 on Tuesday 16th July 2019. One of the test requirements was a 24 hour immersion test, so the entire test process took place over 48 hours.
The validity of any new approval certificate for the FROG-6 will be five years. As there have been no design changes, a new approval certificate will be applicable to all FROG-6 carriers currently operating in Brazil.
As part of the homologation process, Reflex Marine have produced a range of informative resources for the DPC, which we are happy to share with our Brazilian clients upon request.
The information used in the original design of the FROG-6 carrier has also been analysed by a Brazilian naval architect at the Instituto de Ciencia Nauticas (ICN), and his findings shared with the DPC. The ICN report concludes that the FROG-6 is designed to safety standards in excess of those mandated in Annex 4-A.
We hope this is helpful and provides additional formal information to the status of the DPC re-certification for FROG-6. We will provide further information on the progress of re-certification as soon as we have any updates. Please contact us if there is anything else we can do to support you.