Reflex Marine brings safer crane transfers to offshore Brazil

Source: Reflex Marine 

Each year millions of offshore crew transfers take place and, whether by helicopter or vessel, the transfer process is one of the areas of greatest risk for personnel in global operations. Offshore transfer specialists, Reflex Marine are bringing safer crew change to the Campos Basin off Brazil in the shape of its FROG personnel transfer capsule.

The volume of personnel transferred by crane is estimated to be similar to that transferred by helicopter. In many areas of the world crane transfer is the primary means of crew change. In other regions, while not specifically used for this purpose, the role of the crane transfer in specialist operations (such as maintenance, construction or inspections) is vital to ensuring that passengers are moved in as timely and as economic a fashion as possible. In all offshore operations around the world, crane transfers are an invaluable emergency tool in the case of medical emergencies, evacuation and down-manning.

Globally, the traditional rope basket remains the most common piece of equipment used in conjunction with a crane for transferring personnel – but it’s not the safest. Reflex Marine has collated data on injuries and fatalities that have occurred during crane transfers over the last 16 years in the offshore oil and gas industry. Their findings suggest that the vast majority of those incidents have happened while using a traditional rope basket.

Significant advances in personnel transfer equipment have been made in recent years that substantially reduce the risks of crane transfers. In the 1990s Reflex Marine developed the FROG Personnel Transfer Capsule which set a new benchmark for the industry in terms of design, operating envelope and product support. During its development the FROG was subjected to a rigorous testing and verification programme which remains unprecedented in the industry and has subsequently built up an impressive track record for safer transfer operations. For example, off Azerbaijan in the Caspian Sea, more than 52,000 passengers were transferred by FROG, by a single vessel operator, without incident in 2011. Even where helicopter crew changes are the norm, it should be acknowledged that crane transfers provide an essential contingency for emergencies and specialist access requirements, and it is worth having the capability to do it well.

Reflex Marine CEO, Philip Strong, says “The safety of personnel during transfer is paramount and, as an industry, we must remain fully focused on minimising the risk to our workforce. We view providing high-quality products and service capabilities, for critical lifting items, as a key pillar in our efforts to drive up global standards. We aim to raise awareness of the issues and to set new standards and expectations for the industry.”


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