Reflex Marine unveils 'Arctic Thermal Pod'Company News // September 6, 2011
Reflex Marine has developed an innovative safety accessory for use with the FROG personnel transfer system – the ‘Arctic Thermal Pod’.
The safety device is designed to combat potential exposure to wind chill whilst performing crane transfers at low temperatures.
During a detailed risk assessment of crane transfer activities an Operator in the Arctic recognised that, in the unlikely event of a crane stoppage mid-transfer, passengers could be exposed to very low temperatures and significant wind chill effects, for up to 20 minutes while waiting for repair, or performing a manual crane line descent.
Temperatures in the region can routinely drop to -40 degrees and FROG transfer operations have been conducted in this harsh environment for more than 5 years without incident.
The FROG offers a very reliable means of personnel access, where the passengers are not reliant on ‘holding on’ whilst wearing gloves and with cold hands. As FROG transfer is a standard means of access during winter months, the operator had already adopted a policy of using full immersion suits during transfer.
Despite this cold weather protection for passengers, the wind chill effect can have a significant influence on the speed of onset of hypothermia. As a result, the operator asked Reflex Marine to develop an Arctic 'thermal pod' which could be stored within the FROG 6 and deployed in the event of an interruption mid-transfer.
The Arctic Thermal Pod is made from heat-retaining Kevalar and flame-retardant PVC to provide a clear view. It is stored behind the seat assembly of the FROG 6 and is activated by pulling a lanyard and tucking the cover under the feet and sides.
It has been designed for two men but can be used if only one is seated. In addition the pods are designed to be easily jettisoned if required.
Reflex Marine's Operations Director, David Brittan said: “Our client posed a very valid question, with regard to transferring personnel at extremely low temperatures, and I am delighted to say that we were able to deliver an effective answer.
"We are extremely proud of our track record in the Arctic, where we estimate hundreds of thousands of safe transfers are performed each year, in the most challenging conditions faced by the industry.
However, we are not complacent and we recognise that our clients want the assurance not only that they can perform routine operations well, but also that they are well-prepared to deal with disruptions and emergencies when they do occur.
“Crew transfer safety systems are making rapid advancements within the oil and gas industry, from high-rate transfers to low-temperature applications.
"The Arctic Thermal Pod is just the latest addition to that ongoing process. So far we have never had a stoppage while transferring personnel at low temperature but we are nevertheless pleased that we can now offer a well-designed contingency solution to our clients.”