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Supply vessels - risks associated with unfortunate conditions

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) has learnt of unfortunate conditions in the use of supply vessels as regards the planning of logistics, connection of bulk hoses and in lifting operations. We have now sent identical letters to the players, addressing the issues with the industry in general, and with the companies administering contracts with supply vessels in particular.


Exerpt from our letter, dated 10 March 2004

Supply vessels - risks entailed in deficient planning of logistics, connection of bulk hoses and lifting operations. Implementation of recommendations from Working Together for Safety.

The PSA has learnt of unfortunate conditions in the use of supply vessels as regards the planning of logistics, connection of bulk hoses and in lifting operations.

These issues have been raised in each audit activity, but we would also like to address these issues with the industry in general, and with those companies which administer contracts with supply vessels, in particular.

The PSA has observed that some supply vessels are designed with the connection for bulk hoses at the top of a high bulwark.

When bulk hoses are connected from the installation for loading and unloading, the personnel on the vessel must stand on a narrow walkway at the top of the bulwark.

We question whether the safety of the vessel crew is sufficiently safeguarded during such operations. This is a matter which the users of the vessels - together with the employee representatives - must evaluate as soon as possible and implement measures if this should prove to be necessary.

Furthermore, the PSA has observed that supply vessels on arrival at the installations have too little free deck space to carry out the lifting operations in a safe manner. The vessel crews have not had enough space to hook and unhook cargo in a safe manner. Nor have they always been able to "keep their backs free" and have sufficient escape routes, should these be required.

There are also examples of vessels which have arrived at the installations with insufficient deck space for return cargo. This has led to return cargo piling up on the installations, causing increased risk in lifting operations on the installations. This may often be due to deficient logistical planning.

Through Working Together for Safety, the industry as a whole has put in much work to help reduce the risks involved in using offshore service vessels.

The PSA considers it important that Recommendation 07/2003 - Safe use of vessels with the guidelines: Guidelines for safety in cooperation between an installation, base and offshore service vessel (OLF/NO 061) and Guidelines for safe anchor handling and towing (OLF/NO 061- A) are made known and followed.

We would like to repeat that the implementation date for these guidelines was 1 July 2003. However, we are under the impression that there are companies which have not yet implemented these guidelines fully.

The PSA would ask all operators which administer contracts with supply vessels to please review these issues.

We would also like a reply stating how this will be taken care of and status re. implementation of the above-mentioned recommendations from Working Together for Safety.

The PSA kindly requests a reply within six weeks of the date on this letter.

Contact person in the PSA:
Inger Anda