Skip to content

How CPD can help reduce DP incidents

Published on 18 January 2024

IMCA’s Technical Adviser – marine, Graeme Reid, explores how recent changes to Nautical Institute requirements will improve industry performance in an article originally published in Offshore Support Journal.

A new Dynamic Positioning (DP) DPO and DPVM CPD Standard has been introduced by the Nautical Institute (NI). In 2023, the NI shared that certified DP Operators and DP vessel maintainers would need a continued professional development (CPD) requirement to update certificates.

There are now two options, alongside at least 150 days of sea time: one is to attend a five-day onshore NI DP Refresher course and subsequently complete the online NI examination; another is to enrol in an NI-accredited CPD programme, such as IMCA’s Key DP Personnel CPD App, and complete the online NI exam close to the point of revalidation.

Registration to IMCA’s scheme has been extremely positive, resulting in over 18,000 individual courses being completed in 2023; over 3,500 were completed in November 2023 alone.

IMCA will soon launch the fifth module. This considers the complex subject of network storms, the importance of DP configuration, introduction of sensors and takes a deep dive into anemometers, power management systems and DP logs and checklists. The module will also consider mission-specific vessel types, including accommodation and drilling vessels.

IMCA Contact

Graeme Reid
Technical Adviser – Marine

But why is there a need for CPD? Put simply, these are learning experiences that develop and improve professional practice. They can focus on a person’s strengths and provide personal development opportunities where there are gaps in knowledge and understanding. This would apply to almost any role in any sector.

For those working in a complex and fast-changing environment such as DP, it ensures that everyone is aware of current Codes of Practice and Recommended Practice.

Analysis of IMCA DP events shows that human factors are the one of the most significant triggers, or root causes, for DP events. While the impact of electrical or mechanical failures can be lessened through better maintenance and process, human factors are by their very nature more complex to address. This is where CPD can have a positive impact.

Looking in more detail at the reasons why DP events occur, it becomes clear that CPD can play a key role. Commercial pressures can lead to poor decision-making, unfamiliarity with different OEMs and system manufacturers, unfamiliarity with vessels or mission types, a lack of access or unawareness of guidance, knowledge and skills fade, and a lack of decision support tools.

IMCA’s solution to this, the Key DP Personnel CPD App, has been designed to address these issues. Taking content directly from the most up-to-date recommended practice and codes of practice produced by IMCA and drawing on the lessons and learning opportunities from our unparalleled DP database and reporting scheme, it satisfies DP personnel requirements for CPD, according to IMCA guidance M117 and the NI standard.

Unlike other options, it is not built around a profitability model. IMCA has made a significant investment in the App, which grows with each module development, and as the scheme matures, we have committed to reducing the end cost to the user. In fact, the cost per module will be reduced by 10% in January 2024. CPD forms a key part of IMCA’s approach to improving safety in DP and diving, and we will continue to support and develop our offering in this space as we strive to reduce incidents.

This article was originally published in Offshore Support Journal.