Practice makes perfect

Putting an offshore wind installation in place can be a complicated task. Collaboration between Maersk Supply Service, Maersk Training and client Seaway Heavy Lifting, to simulate the work before sailing out, helped to save money and increase safety.

When Seaway Heavy Lifting contracted a Maersk Supply Service vessel to help with an offshore wind installation, the work was fully scoped beforehand in Maersk Training simulators. Photo: Maersk Traning

Maersk Trader

  • A multi-purpose Anchor Handling Tug Supply Vessel (AHTS), uniquely designed for a variety of work roles
  • That includes deep water anchor handling and mooring operations, towing of rigs, subsea and remotely operated vehicle (ROV) support work, as well as general supply and cargo support operations for customers world-wide.
  • These specialised vessels have highly skilled crews, optimal safety conditions and state-of-the-art equipment to help customers achieve their goals in a professional and cost-effective manner.
  • It has dynamic positioning, a 173 tonne bollard pull, 600 square metre open deck space and 400 tonne anchor handling/towing winches

What’s the secret to a job well done? Practice – before you do it for real.

When Seaway Heavy Lifting contracted a Maersk Supply Service vessel to help with an offshore wind installation, the work was fully scoped beforehand in Maersk Training simulators. That meant the crews were already familiar with each other and the tasks ahead, and potential problems could be flagged before they became reality in the North Sea.

“The training and familiarisation session between both vessels revealed that from the start there was a good mutual understanding of the scope, workmanship and capability of both vessels,” says Michiel Goedkoop, Operations Director at Seaway Heavy Lifting.

“There were, as with every project, lessons which needed to be overcome but both crews showed great appreciation and understanding. This improved the learning curve and ensured safe operations.”

Fine tuning

Maersk Supply Service’s Maersk Trader was chartered for two campaigns in the North Sea and Irish Sea on behalf of multiple clients. The safety and professionalism of the crew was high on Seaway’s list of priorities. Both crews were given the opportunity to work with the coming operational procedures in a simulated, safe and realistic environment, which helped them to review, interpret and comment on these.

“The simulators were developed for the oil and gas industry, but they can also make the renewables industry much safer,” says Tonny Møller, Operations Manager at Maersk Training.

There were two days at Maersk Training followed by visits by members of each crew to the other’s ship and offices, to develop interpersonal rapport and deepen their reciprocal understanding of how one another worked. They simulated the towing of barges with equipment for a heavy crane lift, running out anchors and trained ways of communicating between the heavy lifter and the Maersk Trader. 

“Now they have seen each other, know each other, and have familiarised themselves with each other's jobs. They witnessed the limitations and know what’s possible and what’s not,” says Seaway’s Goedkoop.

Safety first

The result was the safe and professional completion of the project.

“In Maersk Supply Service we are constantly looking for ways to improve safety and operational performance in offshore operations. Every hour of every day we operate under unpredictable conditions at sea that have to be managed correctly,” says COO Claus Bachmann.

Simulation training greatly reduced the learning curve and while it is difficult to estimate the direct cost and time savings of the training, it certainly contributed to the goal of zero incidents and carrying out effective and efficient projects in a competitive environment.

“The simulation training with Seaway Heavy Lifting at Maersk Training highlights our mutual commitment to high quality and safe operations,” Bachmann adds. “Careful preparation, whereby potential risks are identified in advance together with our customers, is critical for delivering the best possible results.”