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Offshore Support Journal

Offshore Support Journal

Lifting and rigging a vital link in IMCA’s activity

Thu 20 Apr 2017

Lifting and rigging a vital link in IMCA’s activity
Mark Ford: “member involvement and input is a vital way of moving the IMCA work programme forward”

Lifting is fundamental to almost every offshore and subsea operation, ranging from lifting of stores and spares to complicated engineered lifts – IMCA helps to identify and manage the hazards associated with them and avoid incidents


In recent years, the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) Crane and Winch Operations Workgroup, one of its most proactive workgroups, has developed sector-specific guidance for IMCA’s four technical divisions and organises an annual event. Early 2017 saw a step-change, with the workgroup now recognised and incorporated as the Lifting and Rigging Management Committee (LRMC) into IMCA’s existing structure as a core activity. This sees it sitting alongside Competence and Training; Contracts and Insurance; Health, Safety, Security and Environment; and Marine Police and Regulatory Affairs, which are there to serve all technical divisions and their members.

Documentation, competence, safety considerations (including the issue of safety flashes where relevant) and the organisation of lifting and rigging events all play key roles for the LMRC, chaired by Sandy Steven of Subsea 7.

“Member involvement and input is a vital way of moving the IMCA work programme forward, and our annual Rope Forum Seminars, chaired by David Cannell of TechnipFMC, have proved a great way to encourage discussion on issues affecting the industry,” said Mark Ford, technical manager at IMCA.

Renamed the Lifting and Rigging Seminar, this year’s event (the eighth in the series), with its theme ‘Slings and rigging: the soft revolution’, is being held in Amsterdam on 14 June (at the same time as IMCA’s two-day Marine Seminar). It will focus on all aspects of heavy-lifting slings including assurance, rigging selection, new developments and practical experience.

“We are expecting participants from subsea contractors, sling manufacturers (both wire and fibre), system designers and suppliers, equipment suppliers and academic institutions/test houses. It is a rich mix, which sees all benefit greatly from the discussion and debate,” said Mr Ford.

The seminar communicates the latest codes, products and developments and helps identify the common issues and needs between offshore contractors. The day will be a mix of presentations and interactive workshops designed to encourage discussion and, where possible, identify industry needs for improved guidelines/codes, R&D of new and existing products and academic research. These needs are then fed into the IMCA work programme.

This year’s seminar covers codes and standards, operator experience, then before a networking lunch, there is a workshop at which delegates are encouraged to raise actual experiences and hot topic issues. This gives an opportunity to discuss issues such as satisfying clients’ requests – specifically with heavy-lifting gear – and certification for intended purpose. “There is always room for hot topics to be raised and discussed,” Mr Ford explained.

Following the lunch, attention turns to a suppliers’ session when products, new developments, assurance and guidance in use come under the seminar spotlight. Then a second workshop follows on requirements now and future, when code/guidance improvements, testing and future R&D needs will be the topics for discussion. The final session considers testing, developments and future technology. This will be followed by a networking reception bringing Lifting and Rigging Seminar delegates together with those who have been attending the Marine Seminar.

As Mr Ford explained, work is underway by the LRMC on revising some of the key lifting and rigging documents including The initial and periodic examination, testing and certification of ROV launch and recovery systems (R 011), which has been assigned an LR reference code (supplementary codes show relevance to a specific technical division), Guidelines for lifting operations (LR 006, M 187) and Guidance on the use of chain lever hosts in the offshore subsea environment (LR 005, D 028).

“The competence of lifting and rigging personnel is of paramount importance for safe operations, with lifting-related roles and activities covered in detail by IMCA guidance on Marine Division competence assurance and assessment,” Mr Ford concluded. “We also publish a dedicated Crane operator’s logbook for offshore vessels. Additionally, the LRMC is currently looking at opportunities for assessing and ensuring offshore rigger training and competence. Lifting and rigging is indeed central to so much that IMCA members do worldwide.”


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