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Safety considerations for marine personnel transfer
J. van der Tempel Delft University of Technology The Ampelmann Company firstname.lastname@example.org + 31-15-278 6828 www.ampelmann.nl Abstract The main problem in the transfer of personnel and equipment from a moving vessel to a fixed offshore structure is the relative motion between vessel and structure. To overcome this problem, this paper explores a new transfer method: the Ampelmann. This system consists of a vessel mounted Stewart platform. By measuring the vessel motions and real-time control of the actuators in the platform, the top deck becomes stationary compared to the fixed world, taking away all relative motions. The Ampelmann system can be installed on any PSV or anchor handler. Typical installation time is 8-12 hours. The unit is welded to the deck of the vessel and does not require additional deck stiffening. It comes with its own power supply and motion sensor system and is therefore fully independent of the vessel’s systems. The Ampelmann gangway can be used on any fixed offshore structure without preparations. The rubber tip is pressed against a walkway, balcony or ladder and the gangway control then switches to “free-floating” mode in which the gangway can telescope, slew and luff passively, following any residual motions or slow drift motions of the vessel. The advantage of full motion compensation is that the operations are always the same for both operator and the crew transferring: in high or low waves conditions the unit is always stationary. The current design has a cylinder stroke of 2m. This allows full compensation on a 50m vessel up to Hs = 2.5m and Hs = 3.0m on a 75m vessel. Maximum operating conditions to date were Hs = 2.8m and wind speed of 7 Bft. Other criteria become limiting under these circumstances than the transfer itself: walking the deck of the ship with green water on deck or wave spray hitting the spider deck. For this concept a full scale Demonstrator was developed in 2007. The unit has performed a first commercial project in the summer of 2008 and will be deployed on several other projects. 750 transfers have been performed in 170 landings visiting 8 different structures. This paper describes the development of the technology and the safety considerations that have been the driving force in all design steps. Furthermore, the test results and developments to the future are described.
The Ampelmann concept The Ampelmann idea was born in Berlin in the summer of 2002. During a conference on offshore wind turbines, the inventors sat in on a presentation on access to turbines. Later, doing a tour of the city and having a beer, they discussed the issue. They soon came to the core of the problem of any offshore operation: the ship moves and the structure is stationary. The solution was as simple as it is effective: why not use the motion base of a flight simulator on a ship, to compensate all these motions? With the general concept in mind, all the invention needed was a name: Ampelmann after the little man in the pedestrian traffic lights in Berlin: das Ampelmännchen, figure 1.
Figure 1 Der Ampelmann, name giver and mascot to the concept
Upon returning from Berlin, several experts were consulted on ship motions, flight simulators and measurement systems. Several design studies were carried out to test the feasibility on paper. And with no extraordinary results emanating from these studies, a scale model test was set up at the end of 2004.
Demonstrator Upon successful completion of the scale model test.). Figure 2 Dry Testing set-up Figure 3 Wet Testing set-up Wet Testing For the Wet Testing. then all six and the motion envelope was tested to see if all components could follow all positions of the platform. This basin can create both regular and irregular waves at different frequencies and with different amplitudes. Moreover. the system was tested in various frequency ranges.o. and makes fine-tuning of the control system possible. and further fine-tuning of the control system was done. In May. which makes it the ideal testing facility. Simonita can simulate the motions of a ship's deck in any sea state. Figure 5 Controlling single cylinders and motion envelope testing . This larger platform is called the Simonita and is located at the faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the Delft University of Technology. The major advantage in this test phase is the fact that the simulated motions are completely controllable and therefore allow thorough testing in a safe fashion. Figure 4 Assembly of Ampelmann. built and tested. The vessel was subjected to waves in the large wave basin of the faculty of Civil Engineering at the Delft University of Technology. Figure 4 shows some steps in the assembly process. First one cylinder at a time was actuated. Again. This method allows the Ampelmann system to be tested in various frequency ranges. figure 3. a full scale unit was designed. the small Stewart platform was fixed on a scale model vessel. which then has to be compensated by the upper platform. the wet tests proved the system's seaworthiness. a plan was drafted to prove the concept in real offshore conditions. The system design started in September 2006 and components were ordered in January 2007. These tests are shown in figure 5. May 2007 When the platform was assembled. the control software was tested. the main components were finished and delivered to Heerema Zwijndrecht where the Ampelmann team were granted work space to construct the unit. Backed by government subsidies and university and industry sponsoring (Shell. SMIT a.Dry Testing During the Dry Testing. the small Stewart platform was mounted on top of a larger Stewart platform as shown in figure 2.
drive by wire in cars and medical equipment. This FMEA helped draft the first contours of safe operation. The same goes for people crossing the Ampelmann. Figure 7 shows the images of the transfer. When crossing the street. Component design for safety The design of the Ampelmann started with doing a thorough study of different fields also focusing on continuous safe operation: airplane auto pilots and automatic landing. But. December 14th 2007 at the offshore wind farm off the Dutch coast. people need to be aware of the environment they are in and make a sound judgment before stepping onto the road. Wave conditions were Hs = 1m on the first test and Hs = 1. the Ampelmann is a continuously operating system. Residual motions measured on the transfer deck were less than 4 cm heave and less than 0. Figure 7 Transfer to WTG 03 on December 14th 2007 Safety considerations in design The goal of the Ampelmann is to make offshore access as easy as crossing the street. This means that the system itself needs to be designed is such a way that it will continue operating.After completion of the platform assembly and control system programming. a Failure Mode Effect Analysis meeting was held with experts on hydraulics.5o roll and pitch. contrary to crossing streets. to make the transferring crew focus only on their crossing. even when components fail. At the Delft University flight simulator Simona. The system needs to meet the following specifications: • Operation must continue even with single component failure • This ride-through-failure must work for at least 10s This design approach led to the following components being doubled up in the design: Table 1 Redundant components following FMEA studies Required Redundant Power 200 kW 2 x 200kW + PTA valves 6 12 electrical 230 V Ship + 6 UPS Control 1 computer 4 systems . it creates a real challenge to the development. offshore and flight simulators. provided that the Ampelmann is performing its task correctly: providing a motionless transfer deck. measuring and actuating to compensate the wave motions.5m on the second test. Figure 6 Motion compensation tests off the Port of Rotterdam. controls. June & July 2007 A successful transfer was executed on Friday. Catchy as the phrase may be. Figure 6 shows some shots of the motion compensation tests outside the Port of Rotterdam. the Ampelmann was loaded on a barge for the first two offshore tests end of June and early July.
with the passive system still following. Should the vessel slowly drift away. This means the tip introduces a force of 500kg on the structure. The person transferring has 5 seconds before the system will retract itself from the structure. retracting the gangway. the gangway will automatically extend under this pressure. When the vessel moves towards the structure. The colour codes are only visible to the operator.To connect component failure occurring to the operational procedures. In this extensive spreadsheet based model. such as clogged filters. With the gangway in free floating. The freedom of movement is such that the Ampelmann compensation can even be turned of. He has the overview to assess whether the man transferring can abort or finish his operation before he returns the system to settled position. the gangway is extended towards the structure and as soon as it touches. but maintaining the tip touching the structure. During the 5 seconds. In the slewing and luffing direction. it is switch to “Free-Floating”. but being backed up by the redundant unit. Figure 9 Ampelmann and gangway design and operational limits . yellow for minor warnings. The outcome of these meetings lead to the drafting of the ASMS: the Ampelmann Safety Management System. the operator also has the option to abort the operation manually. pressure relief valves will bleed the excess oil. orange for mayor single components failing. the hydraulic overflow works in similar fashion. Table 2 ASMS failure mode codes and actions Code Status All OK Alert Non critical failure Critical failure Action GO GO Finish operation Finish or hold on: 5 sec. all residual motions are compensated passively. Table 2 shows the 4 states: green for all normal. The layout of the control panel and the alarm tree are shown in figure 8. In this mode. several HAZID meetings were held with all stakeholders in the development of the Ampelmann Demonstrator. Figure 9 shows the gangway in its extreme positions. Figure 8 Alarm tree on transfer deck and control panel with platform and gangway controls and failure mode status lights Transfer and connection of gangway To allow safe access. all possible failures are connected to a warning level. code red for system failure: double failures. the telescoping cylinder is under constant pressure outward. so no gap appears. Only code red is relayed to all of the crew: alarm lights will flash and sirens will sound. He can either complete the transfer or step back and hold on tight.
SMIT decided to use the Ampelmann for this job. this procedure could be completed in 1-2 minutes. Figure 10 Lifting of the Ampelmann by the Apollo and load testing on the Taklift 4 Figure 11 Ampelmann configuration on board of Taklift 4.During the transfer procedure. the initial plan was to have the crew waiting in a special safe waiting area where they could strap themselves into safety belts. the T frame was already welded onto the deck and the installation comprised of bolting the Ampelmann to the frame. With the system commissioned and tested. The precaution was taken for any failure of the Ampelmann motion compensation system to introduce large acceleration into the transfer deck. installing the power packs and control container and connecting the hydraulics and control wiring. it was aware of its capabilities and after a final onshore demonstration. May 22nd. Enough to make successful and safe transfers. This new procedure significantly reduces time: only 10s of contact is required. As sponsor of the Ampelmann Demonstrator a year earlier. P14-A removal SMIT Marine Projects was awarded the contract for the removal of Wintershall’s P14-A platform of the Dutch coast. ready to make the step when the tip presses against the structure and not having to cross 12m to the structure. Furthermore. On May 19th. The Dutch HSE (SodM) required SMIT to use a more sophisticated transfer method than a passive gangway. As SodM had been involved in the development of the unit. the use of the system was approved. providing access to P14-A . The connection time. the entire docking procedure becomes a hit and run operation: • Operator and crew enter platform • Bring platform to neutral position • Rotate transfer deck until gangway pointing at structure • Gangway telescoping to 2-3m extended • Master moves vessel toward structure • When desired distance is reached (app. before the pressure on the tip of the gangway pushes the vessel away is approximately 30s. The previous day. 8-9m) gangway is extended further (1-2m) and pressed against structure • Transferring crew to asses connection • When OK transfer • Sail away and retract gangway After 15 practice runs. it went on its first commercial job in May 2008. Operational experience proved that is far more effective to have the crew at the end of the gangway. Within 1 day the system was operational and load tested. the system was mobilized to SMIT’s quayside for installation on the Taklift 4 on Thursday. Figure 10 shows the lifting of the unit by the sheer leg barge Apollo and the load testing on the Taklift 4.
The landing zone provides an easy target for the operator and a horizontal sliding plate and vertical bar to press the tip of the gangway against during transfer. a landing zone was installed on the spider deck. shuttled for lunch and retrieved in the evening. as shown in figure 13. The system had its first full test during the first days. After setting the 4 point anchors. Eventually. To facilitate the transfer of the 18 men work force. Wind and waves increased to a 7 Bft summer storm with significant wave heights up to 2. the vessel motion measurements and compensation simulation of the Ampelmann system was used: when motions were within the Ampelmann envelop for a period of 15 minutes prior to intended transfer.5 – 3m. The most convenient place for the first landing was a balcony at LAT + 12m as shown in figure 12. For the preparation of the topside lift. the first team was transferred to the platform. passive pressure relief valves allow the gangway to follow. the topside was lifted off and sailed to the Port of Rotterdam. The slewing motion is followed passively by opening the slew valves in the free floating mode. the system was unable to operate for only 3 hours.The next day. the operation could start. where the conventional gangway would not have been able to work for a full 5 days. The luffing cylinders are pushing the gangway downwards with 50 kg vertical force. Figure 13 Lifting of the P14-A topside and sailing back to port The jacket was removed in the following weeks as shown in figure 14. Figure 14 Preparing the jacket for removal . The hydraulics of the gangway are switch to “free floating” when on the landing zone: the telescope cylinder is pressed outward. the crew of 18 were transferred in the morning. On June 5th. As the visual estimation of the wave height proved to be impractical for system operation. Figure 12 First landing on balcony and landing zone on spider deck. giving a contact force of 500 kg horizontally to follow any residual motions. the spread set sail for the P14-A platform 20 miles off the coast of The Hague where it arrived late that afternoon. Should residual motions require the gangway to move in the other direction.
the Ampelmann installed and tested and the vessel set sail on Tuesday 18:00.8m and Bft 7 wind speeds. In September. the unit needs to be installed at deck level. The Ampelmann readout will be made available on the bridge of the vessel next time to serve as objective decision tool. The system was tested on the L7 platform on the Dutch Continental Shelf. as roll motion translates to horizontal displacements larger than the Ampelmann envelope for larger wave conditions. the Ampelmann operator and DP operator did manage to include the influence in the DP control.Lessons learned The Ampelmann system adds significant value to a decommissioning spread for small platforms. Figure 16 shows the Ampelmann during installation and testing on the Base Express in the Port of Rotterdam and landing on several angles at the L7 platform. The higher location allowed the gangway to connect to balconies higher up on the offshore structures. Figure 15 shows the Ampelmann on board the Esvagt Connector and landing on a monopile platform. It was clear that in some sea states the wave height was estimated higher. rather than a visual interpretation of the waves. During the tests. in this project the visual estimate of the significant wave height was used. the Ampelmann was installed on board the Base Express. Most of this time was taken up by retracting and rotating the gangway. On Thursday the Ampelmann system was on the quay side again. . A round trip including mob and de-mob in 4 days. Several vessel headings were tried: head. The location was less favourable for motion compensation. To increase the efficiency. the unit was mounted on the 50m long DP-I Esvagt Connector for a trip visiting several Danish platforms. the deck was prepared. even though the vessel motions were still within Ampelmann compensation boundaries. A test was performed upon arrival the next day from 9:00-17:00. The vessel arrived on Monday at 9:00 AM. After this. A total of 750 transfers were performed in up to Hs = 2. The preparation works typically take 2-3 weeks and are no longer limited by weather where access is concerned. preventing further interaction. DP-class PSV The Ampelmann has been tested further in the North Sea in September 2008 and January 2009 on different vessels. and landing on a monopile In January 2009. Figure 15 Ampelmann on Esvagt Connector. The unit was installed 3m above the deck to avoid major removal works on the vessel. During the test 3 platforms and 1 buoy were visited and several landings were performed. An extensive measurement campaign proved the correct working of the system. It could also be extended to cover crane workability limits. To decide whether the system can still operate when environmental conditions deteriorate. During the tests. During the project it was decided to use the Ampelmann measurement system readouts in stead: they give a more accurate image of the ship motions and of the Ampelmann performance. a 50m long DP-1 vessel. DP failure modes were tested and proved the operation could continue without problem. beam and stern waves. the operation speeds of the gangway system will be increased in the near future. For future deployment. The operational procedures were tested in practice and updated where required to make them more intuitive. The DP system of the vessel is somewhat influenced by the free-floating pressure of the gangway. The total turnaround time for transferring 18 persons was 15 minutes. the DP was stable.
sea state: Workability: Type vessel: Dimensions: Displacement: Max. The new system has been improved on details with lessons learned from the Demonstrator. sea state: Workability: Type vessel: Dimensions: Displacement: Max. without the need for significant landing stations or other adaptations to the structures. . sea state: Workability: Anchor handling tug 24m x 10m x 2.5m 93% (Southern North Sea) Offshore support vessel 70m x 16m x 5. installable on any vessel with sufficient deck space in under 2 days.Figure 16 Ampelmann installed and tested on the Base Express and operating under different headings at the L7 platform Conclusions and outlook The Ampelmann system was developed and tested thoroughly on different vessels and structures.75m 120 tons Hs = 2. The unit is “plug & play”. The concept proves to offer safe and easy access to offshore structures. The main changes are the length of the gangway being extended to maximum 20m and the hydraulic hoses being placed on the inside. An overview of workability on different vessel sizes is shown in figure 17.60m 4000 tons Hs = 3.80m 900 tons Hs = 2. as easy as crossing the street.0m 97% (Southern North Sea) Figure 17 Candidate vessel for mounting an Ampelmann and their workability Currently a new Ampelmann system is under construction. Ampelmann is set on making their motto an industry standard: Offshore access.0m 85% (Southern North Sea) Multi purpose vessel 50m x 12m x 3. Type vessel: Dimensions: Displacement: Max. It will start operation on a job in the UK early June 2009.