IMCA establishes open forum for cross-industry input to key guidance documents

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A number of guidance documents produced over the years by the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) have been open during the consultation stage to views from across the wider industry. Now to make input easier an open forum has been added to the IMCA website where all with an interest in documents being currently being written or revised can play an active role.

“The first two documents subject to our new ‘open forum’ consultation stage approach are IMCA M 103 – ‘Guidelines for the design and operation of dynamically positioned vessels’; and IMCA D 016 – ‘Underwater air lift bags’ which is being retitled ‘Open Parachute Type Underwater Air Lift Bags’, both are currently being revised and we genuinely want input from all with relevant experience and information,” explains IMCA’s Technical Director and Acting Chief Executive, Jane Bugler.

“Opting for an ‘open forum’ approach means that all who would like to voice their opinion have access to the document in draft form, and those involved with revising the two documents have ease of access to comments at any time of the day or night, and with our global membership, this is important! It is already proving to be a much more effective tool than sending out draft documents to anyone who has expressed an interest in them, and collating all comments after a set amount of time, and then delivering them to the author, or authors.”

Those eager to take part in the consultation on M 103 or D 016 can find the forum by using the link They will then be presented with a login screen and can either use their existing IMCA member login, or registering with a valid email address. To access the relevant document and then post comments it is initially necessary to click on the document name in which you are interested, and then permission will be granted by the moderator for you to both see it and post comments. All comments are subject to moderator approval and then posted under the relevant topic.

Revision of M 103

IMCA M 103 ‘Guidelines for the design and operation of dynamically positioned vessels’ is undergoing a major rewrite as the last revision was in 2007. IMCA has determined that consideration should be given to the separation of the areas of design and operation into two sections (with the section on design based on IMO Circular MSC 645). The revision will see additional guidance for new vessel types; expand the guidance on training and experience of DP personnel and include guidance on manning and watchkeeping arrangements; and reference existing guidance available from other organisations.

The draft which is available for consultation now includes generic design and operational guidance, as well as vessel type-specific guidance for seventeen representative vessel types that utilise dynamic positioning in support of the offshore oil and gas and offshore energy industry.

The design guidance focuses on the methods for creating fault-tolerate DP systems based on the principles of redundancy; and the operational guidance focuses on current good industry practice and draws from existing operational guidance from industry.

Revision of D 016

D 016 addresses the initial and periodic examination, testing, certification and maintenance of open parachute type underwater air lift bags used to lift submerged objects. It also addresses the operational use of these lift bags and the safety precautions that should be taken during their use.

Planned changes encompass
General small editorial updates
Major revisions to those sections dealing with the use of inverter lines and hold-back rigging
Major revisions to diagrams
The objectives of the ‘Open Parachute Type Underwater Air Lift Bags’ guidance are to provide clear lit bag guidance on:
Fitness for purpose
Examination and testing criteria
Maintenance which should be carried out to ensure the continuing integrity of each bag between its periodic tests
Operational considerations
Safety precautions to be taken into consideration during their use