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    IMCA involved in developing standards/practices for offshore wind industry

    Organisations and Associations // January 11, 2011

    Developing standards and practices for the offshore marine contracting industry has proved vital in ensuring consistently high levels of safety and risk management.

    At the inaugural Offshore Wind Support Journal Conference (15 February), Hugh Williams, Chief Executive of the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) will be exploring the possibilities for ‘knowledge transfer’ between the traditional offshore energy sector and the rapidly emerging offshore wind industry.
    The importance of the rapidly expanding industry is confirmed by the increasing involvement by a wide range of IMCA members. This in turn led to IMCA holding a renewables workshop with ‘Safety in Marine Operations’ as its theme in Amsterdam in October 2010.
    “Offshore safety is of paramount importance, and standards and practices have important roles to play in effective safety management,” explained IMCA’s Chief Executive, Hugh Williams. “We hear a great deal about ‘technology transfer’ between the offshore oil & gas and marine renewables sectors; instead, I will be looking at ‘knowledge transfer’ between these highly complementary industries at February’s conference.
    “As more of our members (marine contractors, equipment suppliers, clients and consultants) are becoming involved in the offshore wind sector, they will bring with them the standards and practices commonly adopted globally in the offshore oil and gas industry. It is important that the offshore wind sector learns about these, and adopts – and where necessary adapts – them to ensure maximum safety levels.
    “Many marine operations are involved, for example: survey, towage, lifting and installation, cable laying, trenching/burial, diving, crew transfer and maintenance. Often several vessels are on location at the same time, with simultaneous operations (SIMOPS). Much of IMCA’s existing guidance – coupled with industry standards and accepted practice - applies just as much to offshore renewables as to offshore oil and gas activities.”

    IMCA’s Renewables Workshop brought together over 60 interested parties including clients, legislative authorities, contractors and others, to discuss the interrelated safety issues which stem from legislative requirements; client requirements and contractor equipment, procedures and personnel.
    UK HSE provided the legislator’s view in the opening session ‘Safety in Offshore Renewables’ with Ulrik Bjerre-Christensen of Dong Energy speaking on behalf of clients and Chris Streatfeild of RenewableUK providing the trade association perspective. In the second session ‘Renewables: Marine Operations & Safety’ Frank van der Meer of Visser & Smit Marine Contracting; Alan MacLeay of Subsea 7, Chris Mott of Fugro and John Davies of Global Marine Systems each spoke about their particular company’s area of interest.
    Further information on IMCA’s work on behalf of its growing membership, which now stands at nearly 750 companies in 56 countries, is available from and from the association at 52 Grosvenor Gardens, London SW1W 0AU, UK. Tel: +44 (0)20 7824 5520; Fax: +44 (0)20 7824 5521; or by emailing


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