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OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE


FEATURE SPONSOR


MARINE ASSURANCE The ultimate O&M backstop


Green Marine Solutions’ article explains the importance of marine assurance and as with their previous articles wishes to stimulate a wider debate…


Although the offshore renewables industry has suffered distressing accidents, none seem to have caused the same publicity or public uproar as major disasters in the oil & gas sector.


Whether this is because they tend to be smaller, or have lower environmental impacts, injuries, fatalities and asset failures they are never acceptable. With meticulous planning and process, they don’t have to be.


And that leads to marine assurance – essentially a company’s quality and risk control system.


MEASURABLE


Marine assurance’s beauty is that it is measurable. Our question – or multiple- question – is what processes are offshore wind operators currently using in the O&M phase, would these be better shared, is a new common standard needed, and what tools are companies using to measure the effectiveness of marine assurance?


At Green Marine Solutions, we believe that the industry as a whole would benefit from greater access to best practice in this crucial area. The starting point is to assemble and compare ideas. That is why we would like to understand in more detail what wind operators feel they do best, and where we aim to play a catalytic role.


MARINE ASSURANCE – PEACE OF MIND Insurance, via certification, is based on the confidence created by marine assurance – which makes it very important commercially.


In the construction phase, when on-site activity is intense, the marine assurance process is usually a well-oiled mechanism that swings into action through dedicated departments run by major contractors.


However, is enough being done in the O&M phase?


During O&M, when the focus switches to cost-efficient energy generation, is all the hard work needed to gain approval from classification societies being maintained or lost? The potential for unwelcome events remains constant, and may actually increase with time, age and complacency.


It would be remiss not to take steps to prevent future incidents.


Marine assurance stretches from the suitability of vessels to a detailed assessment of practices, the analysis of projects, and to different engineering methods, seabed conditions and environmental impacts. The full list is a long one.


The aim is to engineer away risks and improve the management of assets to a point where a project is seen as a reasonable and acceptable risk by the sophisticated global insurance industry.


MANY GAINS


Major accidents are bad news. Bad news is usually broadcast widely and can easily tarnish an industry’s reputation very quickly. Not only injuries and fatalities, but also catastrophic failures - where assets breakdown or collapse - are unacceptable. They are also expensive.


Marine assurance is the ultimate backstop against ‘misfortune’. Today, the marine assurance process is often comprehensive. At Green Marine Solutions (GMS), we are reminded of this daily in our role as marine assurance consultants on major offshore construction projects ranging from European offshore wind farms to South American offshore LNG terminals.


The immediate bonus for contractors during the construction phase is high confidence in the ‘as-built’ competence of assets.


The next stop is to approach classification societies, such as ABS, Lloyds or GC. Assuming that they are convinced, a Certificate of Class is issued. Insurers must see this before deciding the level of insurance cover.


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www.windenergynetwork.co.uk


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