The construction and servicing of offshore structures is not a new industry. Bishop Rock Lighthouse marks a rock ledge 46m long by 16m wide, four miles west of the Isles of Scilly and was built by Trinity House in 1858, and further strengthened in 1887. Before the installation of the helipad, visitors to the lighthouse would be winched, by hand, between the landing stage and a boat waiting away from the lighthouse.
The International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) was not present in the 19th century however it does have a long track record going back to the 1970’s. IMCA was formed in 1995 when the Association of Offshore Diving Contractors (AODC formed in 1972) merged with the Dynamic Positioning Vessel Owners Association (DPVOA formed in 1989). Representing the vast majority of contractors and the associated supply chain in the offshore marine construction industry its members have shared knowledge through the production of guidelines since inception.
The benefit of contractors and energy companies working together should not be underestimated. Today seven percent of IMCA members are energy companies. The unique mix of specialised skill and international reach has enhanced the safe and efficient conduct of offshore construction and ongoing maintenance to all regions of the world.
Four areas of technical expertise are required when working in the offshore environment, subject matter experts from member companies sit on the following IMCA committees:
Their responsibility is to produce and maintain the industry guidance required for safe and efficient offshore operations.
It is estimated that since 1995, 95% of offshore energy related structures have been installed by IMCA members, this of course includes offshore wind farms. It is further estimated that 95 to 100% of infield and export cables from offshore wind farms have been installed by IMCA member companies. From these statistics it can be seen that IMCA members have the knowledge and experience to maintain and progress the successful growth of the offshore renewable energy industry as it expands to newer markets.
Technical knowledge is of course essential however IMCA’s reputation is built on a solid record of providing health and safety advice. The IMCA safety flash and Dynamic Positioning reporting schemes have been providing anonymous learnings for industry for more than twenty years. In addition, the IMCA competence assurance and assessment guidance is at the heart of many IMCA member training schemes.
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine and atmospheric pollution by ships. It is essential that the interests of the offshore renewable energy sector is represented at this maritime forum. IMCA has had consultative status at the IMO since 1999 and, is privileged and proud to attend relevant meetings and lobby for sensible, workable, and effective regulations as a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) on behalf of its members.
In February this year industry representatives came together to discuss key issues and to make a joint statement on their ongoing collaboration. Participants represented DNV GL, G+, UK HSE, IJUBOA, IMCA, Pareto, Renewable UK, Seaway 7, The Carbon Trust, The Nautical Institute, The Workboat Association and Wind Europe.
The organisations and companies represented here recognise the vital importance of common values, cross sector collaboration, and knowledge sharing. They therefore actively commit to working in collaboration for the ever-greater synergy of good working practice and mutual recognition of standards.
As the marine renewable energy sector continues to expand IMCA members are pleased to be actively working alongside G+ to ensure the safe and efficient progression of marine operations.