The rise of offshore wind means specialist vessels are increasing their activity in shallow waters. With this in mind, the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) has released Guidance which aims to support Dynamic Positioning (DP) operations in shallow waters.
Recommended Practice for Shallow Water DP Operations (IMCA M263) expands on topics mentioned in previous IMCA Guidance, offering a broader understanding of DP operations in waters where more fixed assets can be found in condensed work areas and where the increased numbers of vessels can raise the risk of collision. M263 will assist land-based project managers to better understand time scales and processes and adjust expectations accordingly. In addition, it will reduce downtime of heavy lift operations during the installation phase and assist with walk-to-work operations throughout the life of the windfarm.
Whilst not wanting to repeat existing IMCA guidance, the document does stress the importance of having two Dynamic Positioning Operators (DPOs) on watch, dedicated solely to the safety of bridge operations. It also provides brief but essential information when deciding which position reference systems to utilise in shallow water and some of the additional environmental factors that need to be considered.
By bridging knowledge gaps, it aims to empower vessel operators to be able to challenge unrealistic expectations from onshore managers and ensure more realistic timings are applied. This is especially important for Marine operations, which often run a higher risk of collision during simultaneous operations (SIMOPS).