Two IMCA presentations at OSJ Annual Conference

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Two presentations being given by the International Marine Contractors Association at this month’s Offshore Support Journal Conference in London, graphically demonstrate the association’s wide range of interests.

IMCA’s Chief Executive, Chris Charman, will be speaking on 18 February in the panel discussion ‘Developing guidelines and standards for the European offshore wind industry’ at the pre-event day on ‘Cost reduction strategies in the offshore wind industry’. The following day Emily Comyn, IMCA’s Technical Adviser Regulatory Affairs will be speaking in the Regulatory Framework session at the main conference on ‘MLC: Six months on’

“Our members are increasingly involved in the rapidly developing and expanding world of marine renewables, and we are on hand to ensure that they – and the wider industry – benefit from our long-established guidance which has one main aim, to ensure ever-greater levels of safety in offshore operations,” explains Chris Charman.

“We have long talked of ‘zero incidents’ being the ‘holy grail’ of offshore contracting in the offshore oil and gas sectors; and this goal is equally important in offshore wind and the wave and tidal sectors. We are working closely with key organisations to help them understand the guidance to which marine contractors have been working for many years. Transfer of such guidance to the offshore wind sector is designed to produce the same results meaning no ‘reinvention of the guidance wheel’ is required.

“Typical of this is our lifting guidance, which is highly relevant to all forms of marine lifting. Sometimes of course we have to slightly amend our guidance documents to ensure they are 100% relevant to marine renewables – a typical example is our guidance on the transfer of personnel between vessels and other offshore structures; and a revision of this guidance (first published in 2010) sees the addition of relevant offshore wind information and the title expanded to include”and structures” signifying offshore wind turbines. I am looking forward to talking about relevant guidance during the panel discussion on 18 February.”

MLC: Six months on
The International Labour Organization (ILO) Maritime Labour Convention (MLC, 2006) entered into force on 20 August 2013. The MLC sets out global standards for the living and working conditions of personnel employed on board ships. Starting from 20 August, governments that have ratified the Convention 12 months beforehand are now legally entitled to inspect visiting ships for MLC compliance, even if the ship’s flag state has not signed up to the MLC.

“The Convention presents particular challenges for the offshore sector, because of its very broad definition of ‘seafarer’ and the shipowner liabilities,” explains Emily Comyn.”The new requirements could have implications for all parts of the supply chain, including shipowners, charterers, personnel agencies and even the oil company clients. Despite hopes that port state control would take a fairly lenient approach, only a few months in, there have already been a number of MLC-related vessel detentions, and companies should therefore ensure they know what they need to do to be in compliance.

“My presentation on 19 February will provide an overview of implementation progress, how different governments are dealing with the offshore sector, lessons learned from the first six months, and expected amendments to the Convention. In particular, I aim to address whether MLC is a meaningful sanction or a paper tiger; provide a detailed look at instances of non-compliance, and at exemptions and waivers; and also look at MLC version 2.0.”