There are some areas in the world considered ‘calm seas’ and others ‘rough’. Even though most of us in the oil & gas industry would think that the Arctic or the North Sea have the worst conditions in the world, when it comes to rough and unpredictable waters, there are areas even worse than that.
Some of the toughest waters in the world include Drake Passage (South America), the Southern Ocean, Cook Strait (New Zealand) and the South China Sea1. On the other end of the spectrum are the relatively calm waters such as the Mediterranean Sea or parts of the Atlantic Ocean (with unusually calm areas such as the Sargasso Sea characterised by its calm blue waters and brown seaweed).
Working in an area known for its demanding conditions and rough waters, the crew can be prepared and brace themselves for the difficulties ahead. The challenge may be the greatest when the weather turns suddenly in a region usually considered calm.
The marine engineer can calculate the most extreme sea states and design a vessel in such a way that it can withstand any abnormalities to the standard sea state range. Surviving the once in 100 years sea state is a normal demand for design of ships and offshore structures. However, while the big weather changes can be accurately predicted in advance by meteorologists, any brief sudden changes in environmental conditions cannot. This includes sudden wind blows, swell caused by a moving object or animal, etc. This is where preparedness, following guidance and regulations and using the right equipment can save lives.
The most often quoted reasons for incidents at sea include ‘human error’ and ‘bad weather’. These two very often go together as bad conditions at sea increase the likelihood of human error occurring.
Reflex Marine’s solutions increase the safety at sea, protecting the offshore workers and assets, helping you reduce the opportunities for human error to occur and help you withstand the difficult environmental conditions. Apart from the highly engineered personnel transfer carriers for safe transfer of people at sea, Reflex Marine also provide sea state monitoring technology to help ensure safe and efficient transfer of crew and cargo.
Sea state information is useful for many applications ranging from safety at sea and on the coast, for which real time data are essential, to planning and design of offshore infrastructure. In terms of crew and cargo transfer, real time sea state information can significantly increase safety of the transfer operation as well as expand the operational window and decrease the overall time required to complete the task. HAWK deck motion monitor is an alternative to the traditional methods of measuring the Significant Wave Height. HAWK uses Effective Significant Wave Height to determine safe operating limits clearly displaying the information on a screen. This accurate measurement of deck velocity presents an all-round, real-time picture of conditions to help offshore operators work safer, smarter and longer.
In 2007, DNV carried out field trials to assess the merits of HAWK alongside older wave radar in the Ekofisk field. The results showed that using HAWK created a far wider operating envelope in comparison to wave radar.
HAWK’s personnel transfer module was developed with Reflex Marine’s experts to allow for safe transfer of people between vessels or vessel and platform. It has proven very effective and is adopted by companies such as ConocoPhillips. In the North Sea’s Ekofisk field it is now installed on 21 cranes and eight platform support vessels.
Watch this short video to learn more about HAWK:
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