Reflex Marine has been granted approval by the Mexican Merchant Marines to sell its crane transfer device, the FROG-6, in Mexico.
The certification is a result of Reflex Marine working with the Mexican government’s testing agency, the Centro de Normalizacion y Certificacion de Productos (CNCP) for over a year, as well as the national oil operator PEMEX with the help of its local partner GINEMEX. The FROG-6 was also exhibited at the Petroleum Exhibition and Conference of Mexico (PECOM) where it received a huge amount of attention from operators, crew and the media.
The current standard method of personnel transfer offshore in Mexico is by crane using traditional rope baskets. This product has a poor safety record, with the most recent fatality occurring in January last year. Now that the Merchant Marines – who have final authorization over equipment operating in Mexican waters - have approved the FROG-6, Reflex Marine is hoping to increase the safety standards in the region.
Reflex Marine’s regional sales manager for Mexico, Rebecca Loto said, “The FROG, which has been safely completing crew transfers worldwide for the past 20 years, can now be sold in Mexico. Operators now have the choice of how they transfer crew to and from vessels and rigs; they can either purchase a rope basket for crew to hang on to perilously, or have their crew seated comfortably in a FROG, which includes seat belts and protection by a stainless steel frame and buoyancy panels. Confidence is therefore increased with the knowledge that the FROG has undergone rigorous testing both in Mexico and the UK.”
The load and floatation testing witnessed by PEMEX and the CNCP illustrated that the FROG-6 not only offers the same basic capabilities as the rope basket, but also the device’s superiority - its self-righting capabilities, not achievable with the traditional rope baskets.
The FROG-6 provides extensive protection from the four key risks of transfer including falling, collision, heavy landings and immersion. The buoyancy panels provide self-righting and floatation in the unlikely event of immersion in water. These panels are coupled with a stainless steel frame, shielding passengers from side impacts, whilst the polymer foam shock absorbing landing feet help to reduce vertical impacts. The FROG-6 seats are also mounted on coil springs combined with gas dampers to protect passengers from heavy landings.
The device utilizes quick release three-point harnesses that enhance passenger safety, comfort, rapid egress and offer additional protection from falling. Secondary backup lifting assembly is provided in the case of lifting redundancy. The FROG-6 also has a MedEvac capability allowing the device to accommodate a stretcher for moving casualties safely.
As a result of being granted the certification, Reflex Marine is continuing to work closely with its local partner and distributor GINEMEX, to spread the word in Mexico of the safer alternative that has the potential to revolutionize the regions personnel transfer practices. Based in Cuidad de Carmen, GINEMEX has over 25 years of experience in mechanical repairs and maintenance for offshore equipment, such as cranes, winches and pumps.
Luis Fernando López Martínez, commercial and project manager at GINEMEX said: “We pride ourselves on providing services and safe products and we are now thrilled we have received the Merchant Marine’s authorization to use the FROG-6 in Mexico. This progress allows us to provide a safe alternative for marine crew transfers in the oil industry.”
With the new energy bill being passed in Mexico in December 2013, international companies now have access to deepwater oil and gas supplies in Mexican waters, previously only allowed for PEMEX (the state owned oil and gas company). As a result, the potential for the FROG-6 has now expanded and it will be able to be used on all vessels operating in Mexican waters.