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    Step change for IMCA's annual safety and environment seminar

    Organisations and Associations // April 10, 2012

    “The best ever” is the view of Hugh Williams, Chief Executive of the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) on looking back at the association’s recent Annual Safety & Environment Seminar held in Rio de Janeiro.

    “Not only did we have more people than have ever attended one of these two day events in all of its 12 year history, but, out of the over 180 attendees more than 40 of them came from Petrobras, or other clients, and 70 per cent had never previously been to an IMCA event anywhere in the world, so we certainly achieved the objective we set ourselves three years ago when we established our South American Section of creating greater awareness and recognition of IMCA, and of its aims and objectives,” he explains.

    “We got off to a flying start with a keynote address by Lauro Antônio Puppim, Subsea Maintenance & Inspection Manager of Petrobras who said that he believed the great challenges lying ahead of us in the immediate future are three-fold – intense growth, innovation and high standards of SMS (safety management systems). He also highlighted the importance of large investment in the integrity of subsea assets; and addressed internationalisation and the importance standardisation, the sharing of information and knowledge, and of spreading that ethos.

    “In looking at the growth pattern he quoted the current numbers at Petrobras – 12 installation vessels with continuous long-duration contracts; 15 ROV support vessels, three saturation diving vessels; 40 vessels for anchor handling; 60 survey contracts, and in the last year alone 14,000 surface dives were completed and 2,000 saturation dives.

    “And, his forecast? An increase in all of these statistics. It was an inspiring start to two busy and highly interactive days, and many of the topics he addressed will once again be coming under our conference ‘spotlight’ later in the year, at the IMCA Annual Seminar, with its theme ‘Marine and subsea operations: a culture of sustainability’ (28-29 November in Amsterdam), for sustainability and SMS most certainly go hand in hand.”

    With its theme ‘Risk and impact in marine operations’ the seminar, which was endorsed by IBP (Instituto Brasileiro de Petróleo), saw on the first morning presentations by Raphael Neves Moura of the Brazilian regulator ANP, who addressed the theme; and Luciana Vianna Pereira of Baker & MacKenzie Int who considered ‘What would be the legal consequences if the Macondo accident happened in Brazil?’ – also a topic of one of the seminar workshops.

    The first day’s programme, chaired by Dave Forsyth, of Bibby Offshore, also included presentations on ‘A method for the evaluation of environmental risks on offshore activities considering the Brazilian licensing process’; ‘Understanding vessel environmental compliance as per Brazilian legislation’, and ‘The adequacy of vessels for importation to work in Brazil’; 'Workforce involvement – the story of NINA (no injuries, no accidents)'; ‘Corporate social responsibility’; and ‘Insuring the risk, risking the insured’; as well as the first ‘learning from incidents’ workshop in which case studies were shared.

    Stimulating second day

    Day Two saw Jane Cutler, CEO of the Australian oil and gas regulator NOPSEMA get the seminar off to a positive start with her presentation on ‘Design a facility rather than build a vessel’. Presentations on ‘Safety case implementation experience – lifting operations’; ‘Human reliability applied in emergency evacuation in a marine oil terminal’; and ‘Challenges faced on the GASCAC pipeline construction’; followed before the second ‘learning from incidents’ workshop session.

    Then ‘Technip’s approach to HSE – How the PULSE program is leading HSE climate change’; ‘Process safety challenges in marine operations’; ‘Novel approach linking management system and barrier failure root causes’; ‘Offshore diving and marine operations in Brazil’, and ‘Results from the Horizon Project on the impact of fatigue on watchkeeping officers’, followed, before the final workshop on process safety/asset integrity was held.

    “Learning from incidents and round table discussions, in addition to formal presentations, are key to the format of this annual seminar,” explains Hugh Williams. “Our delegates certainly entered into the spirit of things and found introductions such as voting machines and table cloths on which you can record your comments, welcome additions to the event. Our networking events, and share fair were also very much enjoyed by all.”

    A CD of the presentations is being produced and will be available from IMCA at 52 Grosvenor Gardens, London SW1W 0AU, UK. Tel: +44 (0)20 7824 5520; Fax: +44 (0)20 7824 5521; with notification of its availability appearing on the website at


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