In January 2019, MMA was contracted by Woodside to provide accommodation and walk-to-work vessel services to support platform maintenance operations on Woodside’s Australian assets over two scopes.
MMA’s solution involved fitting one of MMA’s vessels, the MMA Pinnacle, with a bespoke motion-compensated gangway & pedestal system which enabled the safe and efficient transfer of maintenance personnel to and from the gas platform and the vessel.
To meet the challenging project requirements, MMA investigated the latest technology and available equipment that would be suitable to integrate onto one of our vessels. It required comprehensive theoretical modelling of the operation including workability of the vessel and the equipment in combination.
For the project, several different criteria needed to be considered at the high-level concept stage, with further criteria needing assessment throughout the various engineering and design stages. Primarily, the conceptual considerations focused on the platform transfer heights for the facilities which are up to approximately 30m above sea level as well as the significant wave heights that the vessel was required to work in. The combination of the two factors was extremely challenging. At the next level, we needed a suitable vessel with a large enough accommodation capacity whilst meeting high comfort and serviceability standards and vessel motions behaviours.
By analysing these criteria, we were able to outline a high-level solution. We soon realised that all options required an elevated platform to raise the gangway off the vessel deck to meet the required platform heights. Hence, a series of studies combining the vessel and gangway performance, prevailing weather conditions and the expected best DP orientation of vessel to platform were analysed to achieve the optimum solution for equipment selection and its position on deck. With a gangway type identified, more detailed operational considerations were analysed including prevailing weather conditions (e.g. currents, wind and wave magnitude and direction), gangway functionality, number of passengers and frequency of transfer, safe access, traffic flow, DP and gangway operability.
In order to deliver this most suitable solution and meet the requirements of this demanding project, our experienced in-house engineering and project team continued on to the detailed design phase and worked closely with Woodside and Safeway, a specialised gangway manufacturer based in the Netherlands, to design and fit the system to the MMA Pinnacle.
Safeway Gangway Delivery
After the gangway and mast were inspected in the Netherlands, the equipment was delivered to Singapore in March 2019 following a lengthy sea freight voyage from Rotterdam. This phase of the project included the following steps:
- Safeway Gangway & Equipment Arrival Singapore
- Discharging of Safeway Gangway to Wharf
- Safeway Equipment & Storage at Jurong Port
Discharging Gangway after Arrival Jurong Port
The custom designed pedestal, pre-fabricated at MMA Offshore Tuas onshore Facility in Singapore, was designed for installation of the Safeway gangway with due considerations given to the platform landing heights and demanding prevailing sea & weather conditions. The system was required to achieve the desired platform access heights. The design facilitated the integration and interfacing of the gangways and the vessel systems including structural, mechanical, hydraulic, electric and control systems
When designing the pedestal and gangway system, we made every effort to ensure that mobilisation and demobilisation between projects could be achieved in a relatively timely and cost-effective manner. This allows us to remove the gangway and pedestal between contracts to ensure the vessel remains a flexible asset for a broad range of tasks.
Gangway Mobilisation & Installation
Back at the Jurong Port, we successfully completed installation and commissioning of pedestal and the gangway with associated equipment on to the MMA Pinnacle.
Commencement of Operations
We had been awarded two separate work scopes in this project. The first scope ran from late April to mid-May and the second scope is planned to start in September. After to the sea voyage to Dampier, Western Australia, the MMA Pinnacle completed client mobilisation and immediately commenced operations in mid-May 2019.
To MMA, our highest priority always is ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all personnel on our vessels. This was catered for in both the concept and the detailed design.
Prior to this project, helicopters had been the method used to transport maintenance personnel to and from offshore platforms during shutdown operations in this region. The designed solution and technology used represented a first of its kind for platform shutdown maintenance in the North West Shelf region of Australia and in addition to the safety benefits, resulting in what is believed to be a significant time and cost savings to our client.
In between transfers, the vessel stood nearby the platform as an accommodation facility during the maintenance programme. The gangway system, based around a custom-built pedestal and a motion-compensated mast and gangway, allowed for excellent workability at the significant and variable platform heights required.
The unique solution led to a significant improvement in productivity and a reduced overall shutdown schedule for our client. This was mainly due to the ability to implement two maintenance shifts across any one day. Most importantly, this solution increased the overall safety of personal transfers. We believe this has been a key factor in differentiating this solution from the alternatives and hence the success of the campaign so far.
So far, the system has performed exceptionally well on the first campaign. We successfully completed 40 Walk to Work transfers, over 1,200 personnel transfers. We are proud to have been part of such an important and innovative project with our long-term and highly valued customer.