DNV GL project manager Ivar Kvaleid. Image courtesy DNV GL.

DNV GL project manager Ivar Kvaleid. Image courtesy DNV GL.

A JOINT industry project developed by classifications agency DNV GL to improve existing standards and regulations around subsea lifting operations has resulted in a new recommended practice (RP).

The RP will provide guidance on the proper design and correct operation of subsea cranes and lifting appliances, with the aim of reducing risks to personnel and improving the efficiency of equipment.

DNV GL project manager for the RP Ivar Kvaleid said existing standards and regulations did not cover modern subsea lifting operations sufficiently, as demand was higher and activity was taking place in harsher environments.

These had created new technical challenges around safe and efficient deployment and the recovery of objects to and from the seabed.

“Subsea lifting is a complex area as it involves many technical, environmental and management aspects. This is currently defined by clients’ specifications, technological boundaries and manufacturers’ considerations, rather than regulative processes and procedures,” he said.

“The RP will ensure a unified safety approach and increase the overall awareness of risks from subsea lifting activities and how to best manage these risks.”

In practice, the RP will apply to lifting appliances used in subsea lifting operations – which in practice will mean an offshore or subsea crane, an A-frame with winch or other types of winch system and covers lifting of unmanned objects, DNV GL said.

The recommendations provide guidelines on the evaluation of existing lifting appliances as well as the design and qualification of new lifting systems for subsea operations.

Challenges related to modern subsea lifting operations such as higher lifting capacities, greater water depths and the inclusion of motion compensation systems, are covered to a lesser degree in the present industry codes.

“The objective of the RP is to provide recommendations and guidance on important aspects relating to operational parameters, risk management, related technical challenges, engineering solutions, maintenance and inspection, to ensure safe execution of subsea lifting operations,” Mr Kvaleid said.

Eighteen key international offshore players were involved in the first JIP, which started in January 2012: Statoil, BP, ExxonMobil, Petrobras, Lundin Norway, Marathon Oil Norge, Technip, Subsea7, Saipem, Heerema Marine Contractors, McDermott, MacGregor (Cargotec), TTS Energy, Liebherr, Rolls-Royce/Huse Engineering, Cranemaster, Samson Rope and W. Giertsen Services.