Vestdavit: Out Ahead on Innovation and Safety

By Joseph Keefe
Wednesday, January 29, 2014

New regulations for davits used in the Norwegian offshore industry will not come into force until 2015, but in the meantime, they are already raising the safety bar. In fact, Norwegian-based davit manufacturer Vestdavit already has a NORSOK-compliant davit. Like so many things in the offshore oil game, many industry standards – LNG propulsion and executive style accommodations on OSV’s, just to name a few – emanate from the North Sea and Norwegian operators.
For those domestic operators not familiar with these rules, NORSOK standards are developed by the Norwegian petroleum industry to ensure adequate safety, add value and with an eye towards cost effectiveness for petroleum industry developments and operations. Beyond this, NORSOK standards are as far as possible intended to replace oil company specifications and serve as references in the regulatory process.
The NORSOK Standards were established by first exploiting the deep experience of the Norwegian Petroleum Industry. They reference internationally recognized standards while adding requirements found to be effective in battling the stringent environment and stress of the North Sea. Rolf Andreas Wigand, Vestdavit managing director, explains, “It is not just NORSOK, which is Norway-specific.  In US waters API 2 will apply and it has many of the same requirements. These new standards are driving operators to raise the safety bar, and they are coming to us with new orders.”

NORSOK for Davits
According to Vestdavit, NORSOK regulations apply to davits and lifting appliances used on offshore installations and specify many new design features and safety systems must be employed. For its part, Vestdavit has invested heavily to ensure that its davits comply with NORSOK standards. Today, it boasts a 6 ton NORSOK-compliant davit and claims that orders from major offshore operators are coming, in response. A Korean shipyard building a unit for the Norwegian sector of the North Sea for a major operator is the latest to contract a 6 ton SWL NORSOK R002 davit from Vestdavit.
The PLR-6000 pivoting A-frame davit includes all mandatory safety features. The HPU, valves, control systems, electronics cabinets and back up accumulators are all mounted on a separate skid. The system will be fully FAT tested with DNV verification prior to delivery. This greatly simplifies yard installation, saving time and cost, says Wigand.

Workboat Safety Initiative
Global integrated geoscience company CGG is leading a joint industry project to improve workboat launch and recovery safety. Vestdavit is the key equipment supplier in the project which also involves DNV and Wilhelmsen as vessel manager. CGG operates a large global fleet of seismic vessels, all of which regularly launch and recover workboats. This operation is critical to the performance of the vessels and by the nature of the task will always pose hazards for the personnel involved.
A task force was set up to evaluate and report on safety, technical status of equipment, maintenance status, spare parts status, operational procedures and practice, certification status and  operational qualifications of personnel. It recommended setting up a joint industry project to develop rules and regulations that will improve safety during launch and recovery of seismic workboats. The project, says Vestdavit, will deliver a new industry standard/guideline for seismic workboat launch and recovery equipment, maintenance and annual testing and davit operator qualifications.
“We are very happy to bring our experience with high quality workboat davits and training operators of these to the project,” says Bjørnar Dahle, key account manager, Vestdavit. “These standards and guidelines can help raise the standard across the industry to the level of best practice which already exists. We supply the best equipment, but it must always be maintained and used correctly. This project will help to ensure operators maintain and use launch and recovery equipment safely, which will reduce risks and downtime.” DNV will manage the project, which should complete its work by the end of 2014.

NORSOK Verification
Vestdavit recently received DNV verification of its PLR-5000 NORSOK davit. “This is an important milestone which proves that the newly developed system is in compliance with these strict requirements for davits,” says Vesdavit technical director Helge Gravdal. Commercially available now, Vestdavit is, in this case, out in front for safety, and innovation.

(As published in the January 2014 edition of Marine News -

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