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Integrity of DP Annual Trials at risk following non-compliance 

Published on 4 July 2024

Following a number of reports of non-compliance with the Code of practice for developing and conducting DP annual trials programmes (IMCA M190), IMCA has shared a new Information Note reminding Members of the expectations contained in its Guidance.   

The Code of Practice creates a framework for the proper documentation of issues identified during DP Annual Trials, which ensure the integrity and safety of DP systems. The correct classification of findings is essential to identifying potential deficiencies which could ultimately impact on future DP operations. 

Commenting on the issues, Jim Cullen, Technical Director at IMCA, said: “Non-compliance with the code could be the result of vessel owners putting undue pressure on the DP surveyor to downgrade findings to secure or maintain pricing in contracts. IMCA is extremely clear on this point – financial pressures should never compromise safety.”  

IMCA Contact

Richard Purser
Technical Adviser – Marine

“We have also been made aware that some Clients are penalising vessel owners whenever an ‘A’ Finding is raised, which contributes to the pressure on downgrading of findings. Clients need to understand the auditing process, and work with vessel operators to ensure safe DP operations on their projects.” 

“Ultimately the downgrading of findings, for any reason, undermines their purpose and could lead to serious safety issues further along the line for everyone involved. We’re using this as an opportunity to remind Members that, as a Code of Practice, we expect the highest level of compliance to our Guidance.”  

The Guidance emphasises the need to see DP Annual Trials as an opportunity to enhance the broader safety of DP-related operations. By highlighting potential risks, DP practitioners, vessel owners, and operators can ensure they are doing everything possible to nurture a culture of transparency, integrity, and safety, with continuous improvement at its core.  

The issue has been discussed with the industry at IMCA’s DP Conference in Amsterdam in May, as well as forming part of the DP Asia Conference programme in Singapore in June. IMCA will also present the issue to delegates at MTS in Houston later this year.  

Richard Purser, Technical Adviser – Marine added: “IMCA M190 guarantees that all findings are reported consistently and accurately across the industry. On a wider scale, it helps the industry to learn and improve.”  

“Skewered results simply hinder efforts to maintain the culture of continuous improvement which the offshore sector has developed over the last five decades. I’d urge owners and operators to view Annual Trials as an opportunity for positive and constructive feedback, which will only enhance the performance and safety of DP operations.” 


Members can login or register with their work email address to view the Information Note or Guidance.