Two recent publications from the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) make useful discussion tools for key dynamic positioning (DP) personnel.

IMCA M 258 Dynamic Positioning Station Keeping Review – Incidents and Events Reported for 2021 assesses events reported during last year; and the first DP Event Bulletin for 2022 looks in detail at three anonymised DP case studies, the importance of being soliton-aware; and provides a template for DP emergency drill scenarios.

IMCA M 258 reports that during 2021 150 DP station keeping reports were received from 122 different DP vessels giving an average of 1.2 reports per vessel. The main cause was identified as ‘thruster/propulsion-related’ with ‘electrical’ and ‘computer’ topping the list of secondary (root) causes. All events have been analysed and are included in the report with its summary of causes; station keeping event summary tables; comparison of actual loss of DP capabiltiy (DP incidents) and DP undesired events/ observations; and overall conclusions. More reporting is urged by IMCA. 

As Richard Purser, Technical Adviser - Marine at IMCA explained: “If the rate of 1.2 reports per vessel was repeated throughout the global DP fleet of approximately 1,800 vessels, there should be a much higher number of reported DP station keeping events. We urge all owners/operators to report all events, whether or not they are IMCA members, for the good of the global industry.

“The reports are used by IMCA primarily to inform the DP industry of lessons to be learnt, therefore contributing to the safe and efficient operation of DP vessels. There is no ‘finger wagging’, all reports are fully anonymised.

“Our latest DP Event Bulletin highlights case studies chosen in order to create discussion points for all key DP personnel, obviously the events have already taken place, but what could have been done differently? Hindsight is a wonderful thing but these cases allow us to stop and think and hopefully learn lessons that can be carried and applied into future DP operations.”

Members of the IMCA DP Committee have contributed to each of the studies adding their knowledge and experience. Each case study provides an overview of the event and goes on to determines a conclusion summary; and lists the IMCA guiidance that is relevant to each situation covered.

Richard Purser adds: “Every DP incident reported during 2021 could have been avoided if IMCA Guidance had been followed, but for some reason it is not being applied to all DP operations. All employees of IMCA member companies can individually register on the IMCA website using their company domain email address and have direct access to the ‘members area’ including all guidance and publications, so if you have a Bridge, ECR or Rank email onboard your vessel, staff can have that vital direct access and the discussions can begin. Needless to say, this is a topic that we will return to at the IMCA DP Conference 2022 being held in Amsterdam 31 May-1 June. Registration is open at www.imca-int.com/calendar/imca-dp-conference/.”

To assist understanding and promote the use of IMCA DP guidelines, the Nautical Institute (NI) and IMCA have collaborated in a joint venture to provide continuous professional development (CPD) to Key DP Personnel. The scheme is a web-based application managed by the NI and technical content supplied by IMCA. It is designed to satisfy vessel owner/operators that their crews meet CPD requirements according to IMCA M 117, which, by default, is also an IMO requirement. The scheme also promotes safe DP working practices for the benefit of all in the DP community.

Further information on IMCA and its work on behalf of the global offshore marine construction industry is available from www.imca-int.com with specific information on the Marine Committee and its sub committees at www.imca-int.com/committees/marine/ and the DP Committee details are at www.imca-int.com/committees/marine/dynamic-positioning/.