Since 1991 dynamic positioning (DP) station keeping incidents have been reported on annually by the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA). The association has now published its annual review of DP Station Keeping Incidents for 2007 (IMCA M 198). Sixty seven incident reports were received during the period under review. These can be under five categories: incident, an undesired event, down-time, near-misses or hazard observations. In fact there were no reports that could be categorised as down-time, near-misses or hazard observations.
“For the year 2007 a total of 67 reports were received from vessels operated by 22 members,” explains Hugh Williams, Chief Executive of IMCA. “The year being reported on sees a continued increase in the number of incident reports received and analysed. However, this trend may be as a result of increased use of DP rather than increased reporting alone. Whatever the reason, the increased number of reports is welcomed.
Reports were submitted by 49 vessels giving an average of 1.37 reports per vessel. If any conclusion can be drawn from this, it is that, as in previous years, the average remains between one and two although some vessels reported three or four incidents. The number of members’ DP vessels operating, according to data supplied by members in 2007, was 365, but now stands at more than 700. If the incident rate of 2007 was to be repeated throughout this fleet, there should be around 950 reported incidents in 2009.
It may be that the majority of the fleet is operating without any incidents happening. However, it is felt that under-reporting is still occurring. The revision of the station keeping incident reporting system currently being undertaken by IMCA aims to address this issue in order to produce a more meaningful analysis. It is hoped that these changes will also encourage more reporting so that a comprehensive overall picture of these incidents, their causes and the lessons learnt can be presented.
IMCA has maintained the database of DP incident reports from dynamically positioned vessels for over 20 years. Each year, the reports are collated and an anonymised analysis of the incidents is issued. This helps establish trends in incidents for discussion with vessel operators, equipment suppliers, training establishments and others to address particular issues. The results have helped keep the DP fleet operational, safe and acceptable to authorities by feeding into improvements in designs, procedures and training.
Copies of the new publication are available from www.imca-int.com