Standard boat docking design for offshore energy sector

| Transport

Standardised boat docking design will benefit offshore wind energy safety

Boat landing geometry to be standardised for crew transfer vessel docking at off-shore facilities

Transferring personnel to offshore energy facilities can be a tricky and dangerous process, even when conditions are favourable. One reason for this is the absence of standardised boat landing geometry.

Currently, there is wide inconsistency in boat landing geometry between different wind farms, even those located in close proximity to each other. This inconsistency results in Crew Transfer Vehicles (CTVs) either not having the correct fender configuration to safely undertake crew transfer operations, or having to switch fender configurations when operating between wind farms, which increases health and safety risk.

Now, the Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA), a collaborative research, development and deployment programme between the Carbon Trust and nine offshore wind developers, has recommended boat landing geometry for use by offshore wind developers and CTV owners and operators. The design offers a consistent fender geometry for use on CTVs across different wind farms, reducing the time and cost of changing fenders.

The new design follows analysis of the interaction and impact of CTVs on boat landings during push-on transfers to offshore structures and other vessels, and incorporates better-defined CTV loads, as well as industry feedback and recommendations.

2018 incident data reported 278 incidents and hazards involving vessels, one-third of which were related to turbine access, and in 2016 the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) identified design impact forces for the boat landing as a critical area where data was lacking.

According to Sam Strivens of the OWA, the design recommendations will be of most benefit to the emerging offshore wind markets. “This will have the greatest impact in such markets, where new projects can implement the design from the outset, without need for retrofit,” he concludes.

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