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    IMCA annual seminar – ‘the future of marine and subsea ops’

    News // July 14, 2011

    The topical theme of this year’s International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) Annual Seminar – the future of marine and subsea operations – has resulted in the publication of a highly relevant and thought provoking programme.

    The seminar, the nineteenth in the series, will be held on 9–10 November at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, New Orleans.

    “The seminar represents the interests of all four of our technical divisions – marine, diving, remote systems and ROVs, and offshore survey. It is an important event for our close on 800 member companies in nearly 60 countries, as well as their clients and others actively involved with marine contracting,” said Hugh Williams, Chief Executive of IMCA.

    “Given that we are holding the Annual Seminar on the Gulf of Mexico, it is not surprising that ‘lessons learned’ figures high on the list of topics under consideration, but there is much more than looking back coming under the conference spotlight. In our plenary and parallel sessions and in workshops we will be closely considering where our sector is going, and what the vital tools are that we need in order to constantly deliver added value for clients. No doubt this will be a topic under discussion at our networking events, and in the associated exhibition as well.”

    The 2010 Seminar, held in Dubai, UAE, in November 2010 saw over 380 people attending with 22 companies exhibiting. Delegates included offshore and onshore management and operational staff together with equipment suppliers, consultants, oil company representatives and regulators.

    Day One – the outline programme

    This year’s seminar opens with a welcome by Alan Allred of EMAS, Chairman of IMCA’s Central & North America Section, and Chairman of the morning sessions. Keynote addresses on the conference theme will follow from Andy Woolgar of Subsea 7 (President of the Council of IMCA); Gary Luquette, of Chevron E&P,  Randall Luthi of the National Ocean Industries Association, and Erik Milito of the American Petroleum Institute.

    Before the conference splits into parallel sessions - Marine, Diving, and ROV/Offshore Survey - there is a plenary session featuring presentations on ‘Deep ocean seafloor mineral extraction – operational challenges and opportunities for a new industry’ (Mike Frazer, Nautilus Minerals); ‘Aegir, a multi-purpose vessel with a new way of reeling’ (Kees van Zandwijk, Heerema Marine Contractors); and ‘Diver workability through DSV integration’ (Cor van der Harst, IHC Merwede).

    Dynamic positioning (DP) is the topic under discussion in the Marine session with presentations on ‘DP assurance through annual DP trials’ (Ian Giddings, IMCA); ‘A new standard for DP failure modes and effects analysis’ (Steven Cargill, GL Noble Denton); and ‘DP operations – the human factor?’ (Robin Kirkpatrick, EMAS).

    Those attending the Diving session will hear presentations on ‘Diving simulators & simulation – experience their use and development of an industry standard’ (Rob Gatt, ADAS and Cato Hordnes, OLF); ‘A global hyperbaric evacuation plan – one year on!” (Keith Noble, Global Industries); and ‘Nitrox diving opertions’ (Paul Evans, IMCA). While in the ROV / Offshore Survey session there will be presentations on ‘The technical challenges of implementing HD and 3D video’ (Neil Milne, Subsea 7); ‘3D clarity’ (Steve Searle, Global Marine Systems); and ‘Use of simulation from concept design to offshore completion’ (Jacco Huipen, Fugro Subsea Services).

    Then follow the 90-minute workshops that are such an integral part of the IMCA Annual Seminar – on Day One these will cover ‘Blackout recovery for DP vessels’; ‘ROV installations on vessels’; ‘Working in Arctic conditions’; ‘Lifeboats – changes in SOLAS’; and ‘Security’.

    Day Two

    The second day of the IMCA Annual Seminar features two plenary sessions both chaired by Bruce Gresham, Heerema Marine Contractors and Vice-Chairman of IMCA’s Central & North America Section. The first comprises three presentations – ‘Video games and the offshore industry – how gaming technology can help’ (Vibor Paravic, Saipem); Marine incidents and their investigations – a case study’ (Peter Somner, Technip); and ‘The Horizon project on the impact of fatigue on the performance of ships’ watchkeeping officers’ (Mike Barnett, Warsrsh Marine Academy). The afternoon session features two presentations under the ‘process safety’ heading – ‘Safety oriented design and realisation of control systems for offshore machinery’ (Giovanni Massari, Saipem) and ‘Programmable electronic systems’ (Ian Wilson, Subsea 7 and Matthew Bateman, Global Maritime); with a third presentation on ‘The 2010 amendments to STCW and the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 – application to the offshore sector’ (Dwain Hutchison, Bahamas Maritime Authority).

    In between these two plenary sessions there are, once again, parallel sessions for Marine, Diving, and Offshore Survey/ROV, with workshops following the afternoon session.

    The Marine session comprises presentations on ‘Solar activity and the effect on positioning systems’ (Ole Orpen, Fugro Seastar); Probabilistic evaluation of performance and weather standby in offshore pipelaying’ (Michele Drago, Saipem); and ‘Life of field SIMOPS challenges – the expected and the unexpected’ (by a speaker from Subsea 7 and Sam Hanton, Nautronix).

    In the diving session attention turns to ‘Diving medical support in crisis – what crisis?’ looking at the increasing age of specialist diving doctors and other relevant issues; ‘Saturation diving for the 21st century’ (Derek Clarke, Divex and Pete Somner, Technip); and ‘A new approach to development of saturation excursion procedures?’ (Jean Pierre Imbert, Technip).

    The offshore survey/ROV session turns its attention to ‘Operating system for ROVs using next generation navigation technology’ (Manual Parente, Immerse Systems); ‘Evolution of positioning sensors and the implications for the future’ (David Russell, Veripos); and ‘Touchdown monitoring from a lay vessel’ (Donald Faulds, Technip).
    Workshop sessions programmed for the final afternoon are ‘Pitfalls of position references’; MLC – its impact on marine contractors’; ‘Diving for the 21st century – what next?’; SEL – process safety workshop’; and the traditional ‘Delegates’ choice’ workshop decided during the Annual Seminar by the delegates themselves. “The workshops on both days, and their outcome, play an important part in helping to determine IMCA’s ongoing work programme,” explains Hugh Williams.

    Networking is an important aspect of the IMCA Annual Seminar. The Seminar Dinner will be held on 9 November on a steamboat travelling down the Mississippi, whilst there will be a drinks and buffet reception on the evening of 10 November at the Aquarium of the Americas.

    An exhibition of products and services mounted by IMCA supplier members is an integral part of the IMCA Annual Seminar, with delegates having access at all coffee, tea and lunch breaks throughout the event.

    The 2011 Seminar is endorsed by ADCI, API, IADC, MTS dynamic positioning committee, OCIMF, OGP and the Offshore Support Journal.

    Further information is available on IMCA’s website at, from and from IMCA, 52 Grosvenor Gardens, London SW1W 0AU, UK. Tel: +44 (0) 20 7824 5520; Fax: +44 (0) 20 7824 5521.

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