Need for a Comprehensive “OSV Code”

Arun Kr Dev

School of Marine Science and Technology, Newcastle University, UK, Newcastle University Marine International (NUMI) - Singapore.


Offshore support vessels, since its introduction, could now easily be more than 60 years in operation. Over these years, these specialized vessels have served offshore oil and gas industry all over the world from benign to harsh environments. These vessels of various types, sizes and functions have been subject to all kinds of relevant rules and regulations promulgated by IMO mainly through SOLAS and MARPOL respectively. Compared to fishing vessels, which do not come under SOLAS, these OSVs not being trading vessels as well as not fitting to any particular type like a cargo or a passenger vessel, have rather been sandwiched happily between the two including all associated codes for cargo vessels as tankers, bulkers, chemical tankers, etc. The author has been involved in design and construction of these OSVs of various types for more than a decade. But to him, the rationales behind treating these vessels with all kinds of relevant rules and regulations of IMO in their entirety still remain a mystery. This adherence exercise only causes monumental challenges for designers, builders and owners. In order to ease the design, construction and operation of these OSVs, it is now time for a comprehensive code “OSV Code” like what exists for offshore platforms/rigs, a “MODU Code”. The existing code “IMO Res. A863(20) Code of Safe Practice for the carriage of Cargoes and Persons by Offshore Supply Vessel (OSV code)” is, at its present condition, not sufficient enough to deal with many complex situations.

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