Standby Vessels - Masters Pocket Book SeriesMany years ago, when the first oil platforms were installed in the North Sea, a system of Standby vessels was introduced. Initially these consisted of fishing boats hired casually to standby in the area of the platform to perform some kind of assistance in case of emergency. Then in 1988 came the Piper Alpha disaster which had a traumatic affect on the whole oil industry in the North Sea and, together with many other concerns, the need for a professional system for the rescue and recovery of platform personnel was addressed, resulting in a legal requirement to provide such a system.
Post 'Piper Alpha', a reluctant oil industry now had Emergency response and Rescue Vessels (SBVs) foisted on them and with a laid down specification of what the ships should be capable of doing. This book is intended to examine the reality of the situation today including the required capabilities of a SBV and the relationships between the various parties.
At the present time there are approximately 130 SBVs employed in the North Sea Sector. Manning these ships is a combined pool of around 3000 seafarers, comprising of Captains, Officers and Ratings. Since 1986, they have been responsible for the rescue of around 300 persons, with a number of these rescues not being oil field related, but instead from commercial shipping, fishing vessels and leisure craft.
The Emergency Response and Rescue Vessels (SBVs) exist for one principle purpose, the saving of life, specifically the life of those working on the various platforms and fixed storage vessels (FPSOs). To do this, ships are equipped with equipment and boats and equally important, crews who have had specialised training in the use of these. This formal training is continually added to and tested by the constant exercises in rescue procedures. The abilities of individual ships varies with the design of the ship, the type and standard of rescue equipment provided and, most important, the degree of leadership and dedication shown by the Master. The standard of training and exercises he imposes on his ship reflect in the quality of the crew. From this it could be said that almost every SBV is different in its abilities although without doubt, every ship will do its utmost in the event of any emergency.
This book examines the operations of these vessels covering the older, newer and Converted types.
- Witherby Seamanship International