1. Are support vessels required during splash zone equipment installation or operation?
There is no need for support vessels such as diving support vessels, crane vessels, or remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs) during installation or operation. Our robotic solutions are installed from the platform and controlled from a purpose-built control unit on the topside of the platform.
All required splash zone tools and equipment are loaded on board the platform and installed by using advanced rigging techniques and skilled OceanTech rope access technicians. Common tools in our splash zone operations include vertical access tools, chain sleds, manipulator arms, mechanical tools, cutting tools, visual inspection tools, FMD systems, and HP water jet kits.
2. Can your equipment be used at offshore wind farms or offshore fish farming operations
Yes, our tools and methods can be used in these marine structures, as well as monopiles, ship hulls, and concrete installations. As they are all exposed to wind forces, currents and waves, they will experience the same needs for inspection and maintenance over time. Our experience from splash zone interventions in the offshore oil & gas industry can easily be transferred to other installations, platforms, and structures.
3. What are the equipment and personnel (POB) requirements in splash zone operations?
The splash zone tools and equipment are generally lightweight and deployed from the platform using special rigging techniques. This means that small crews of three to six platform-based personnel can do work that expensive diving teams, or remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs), often struggle to complete. The OceanTech team generally consists of an offshore team leader, a splash zone pilot, rope access or subsea technician, and an inspection engineer if required. All our personnel has a proven track record of successfully operating our robotic solutions in the splash zone. In large-scale projects, we have the capacity to deliver more robust teams of 25 upwards.
Our standard splash zone tools consist of three units: A Hydraulic Power Unit (HPU), a control cabin/suitcase, a container carrying lifting equipment, and the splash zone tools. All tools and techniques are developed in-house by a skilled engineering team with extensive field experience from offshore projects worldwide. Our Subsea Test Centre is an important contributor to the development of our innovative tools and full-scale testing.
4. Do you require support from divers or ROVs?
All our splash zone tools and techniques are designed to avoid any use of divers and remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs). Our inspection capabilities, including cameras and other visual tools, provide a complete view of the underwater environment from the control cabin. Also, as we utilize temporary lifting equipment topside, neither ROVs, divers nor crane vessels are required to guide the equipment into position. We can also handle heavy loads with our lifting equipment. Previous projects include handling of up to 60 tons using temporary rigging and lifting equipment.
Our skilled engineering team has extensive field experience in splash zone operations and is capable of handling all rigging and temporary lifting equipment. Further, all of our equipment is purpose-built for our lifting operations.
5. How do you secure your splash zone tools to ensure safe working conditions?
Safe operations rely on clear leadership, skilled personnel, the provision of adequate equipment, as well as well-established security procedures to maintain a safe working environment. At OceanTech, we always ensure that our operations are performed to the highest standards of safety. All of our tools are secured in temporary lifting equipment and attached to at least two lifting points. In addition, they are stabilized with hydraulic clamping units. During operations, the splash zone tools are remotely operated from a control unit topside (suitcase unit or control container). Complex operations are simulated at our Subsea Test Centre, where personnel is required to undergo training prior to operation.
The splash zone tools are verified and certified by Det Norske Veritas (DNV), ensuring reliability in the face of marine hazards, and satisfying the safety requirements laid down in the NORSOK standard Z-015. In projects beyond the Norwegian continental shelf, we follow local requirements and regulations.
6. Is there any need for assistance from the platform crew?
Our team is small and self-reliant, and most of our equipment is transported and installed by OceanTech personnel. We do however require support from a crane crew to assist us with lifting our tools over the side of the platform, and into our pre-installed rigging equipment. Once our splash zone tools are unloaded and installed, there is no need for further crane support during operation.
Our Hydraulic Power Unit (HPU) and control unit require electrical power from the platform. All other tools and equipment are installed and operated by OceanTech personnel.
7. What is the maximum wave height (Hs) in which OceanTech can perform splash zone operations?
Once our robotic solutions are deployed in the splash zone, we can perform cleaning, inspections, repair work, and modification services in wave heights up to 3 meters (Hs). The fact that we are able to work in these conditions provides us with a longer weather window than what is common using conventional methods.
Variations in weather conditions, particularly in harsh marine environments like the North Sea, create unpredictable weather windows for remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs) and divers. As divers can only work in the water for a couple of hours and need to perform the work in just a few days, work completion is highly dependent on favorable weather conditions.
Our splash zone tools are not affected by waves and currents and enable us to perform work throughout the summer without costly delays.
8. What is your equipment mobilization time?
Depending on project complexity, we can mobilize our splash zone tools onshore in two to eight weeks. The tools are then safely transported to the platform, or other floating structure, in offshore containers. When the tools are unloaded offshore, we generally use somewhere between one to four shifts to prepare our tools. The time depends on the number of air hoists to be installed under the deck.
As all of our splash zone toolings are rigorously tested onshore at our Subsea Test Centre in Trondheim, Norway, the preparation and installation process offshore is generally quick and efficient.