USA hosted the nineteenth International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) annual seminar from 9-10 November, with its theme ‘The future of marine and subsea operations’.
This year’s seminar attracted over 340 delegates, and was endorsed by IADC, OGP, MTS dynamic positioning committee, API, ADC International, OCIMF, and OOC. The two days saw a range of presentations, workshops, social events, an exhibition with stands from 19 different companies, and some strong views from speakers and delegates alike. A CD of all presentations and summaries has been sent to all members and delegates and is available for sale to non-members.
Hugh Williams, Chief Executive of IMCA, welcomed delegates before Alan Allred of EMAS – Chairman, IMCA Central & North America Section – introduced the keynote speakers. The first was IMCA President Andy Woolgar of Subsea 7, who spoke on his view of the future of marine and subsea operations. He sees a rosy future if the client base is confident enough to provide contractors with regular contracts and continuity. Confidence, he attested, generates the investment necessary to assist the technological advances that are required in our challenging industry, and a buoyant industry attracts the manpower needed to utilise it. Each individual component is not guaranteed and we can be knocked off course as an industry.
Mike Casey of Chevron E&P, Randall Luthi of the National Ocean Industries Association, Erik Milito of the American Petroleum Institute and Secretary Scott Angelle from the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR), all spoke on this year’s theme and were enthusiastically greeted by the delegates. Naturally they focused on returning their region’s activity to previous levels, as well as future expansion thereafter. They also shared in the world-wide industry concern in communicating challenges and rewards to the next generation of workforce in readiness for the safe delivery of oil and gas from more remote and challenging locations.
A welcome common message from the speakers was that the conference had gathered a significant representation of the marine contracting world, and that IMCA should be part of discussions about matters affecting this sector. This is an important responsibility for the association, and its members need to contribute both individually and collectively to the debates. They need to seek out opportunities and points of contact in relevant bodies to do this, and actively respond to calls for comment issued by the secretariat. Only in this way will IMCA’s voice truly reflect members’ wishes and be heard and respected by relevant bodies.
“There was universal belief that having earned this recognition we must use it wisely and be careful not to lose it,” says Hugh Williams. The stimulating morning plenary session included presentations on deep ocean seafloor extraction, a new reeling method for a state of the art multi-purpose vessel, and better workability through DSV integration. The seminar then split into three parallel sessions on Marine, Diving and ROV & Survey. Presentations were given at all three followed by technical workshops covering blackout recovery for DP vessels, ROV installation, working in Arctic conditions, lifeboats and security issues. The day was pleasantly concluded with dinner on board the Steamboat Natchez while cruising down the Mississippi river. Delegates sampled the delicious local cuisine and viewed the steamboat’s engine room.
Day two started with a keynote note address by Lars Herbst from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) with Bruce Gresham, Heerema Marine Contractors – Vice-Chairman, IMCA Central & North America Section – introducing a plenary session. This included three presentations covering the use of video games in the offshore industry, marine accidents and their investigation, and the impact of fatigue on ships’ watchkeeping officers.
The technical session again split into three sections and included presentations on Marine, Diving and ROV & Survey. A final plenary session followed with two presentations, one covering process safety and the other the application of STCW 2010 and the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 to the offshore sector. The final workshop sessions covered the topics of the pitfalls of position references, the MLC and its impact on marine contractors, the diving industry for the 21st century, process safety and this year’s delegates’ choice on vessel assurance.
The workshop sessions and seminar were summarised by Hugh Williams who thanked all speakers, chairmen, attendees and staff involved in the seminar. The seminar concluded with a lively drinks and buffet reception at Audubon Nature Institute, Aquarium of the Americas.