The OSV Guide

Number of Pages:
Book Height:
300 mm
Book Width:
215 mm
0.8 kg
Published Date:
July 2022
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This publication is a guide to the operation and management of offshore support vessels (OSVs)The Guide describes the differences between the offshore industry and conventional marine activity, covering areas such as towing procedures and environmental regulatory compliance. It is designed to be a valuable aid to learning and a useful reference source, particularly when complemented by other training resources.

This publication updates and supersedes Supply Ship Operations by Victor Gibson.

The Guide provides a comprehensive overview of the global offshore sector, and is intended to fulfil any requirement by professionals, either on board ship or ashore, who want to know about the operation of offshore vessels in terms of their capabilities and the regulatory framework within which they operate.

The book has been divided into five major sections. It begins with an overview of the offshore sector that describes its vessels, their onboard systems, offshore installations, and the cargoes that are likely to be carried. Sections on offshore activities and seamanship detail the variety of activities undertaken by vessels engaged in offshore oil operations and how they are conducted, including new guidance on offshore wind farms. Of particular interest to Masters is the practical guidance on operations such as maintaining station close to offshore installations.

In addition to the technical development of the vessels, the Guide describes how the regulatory framework specifically applies to the offshore sector in terms of supporting and assisting with operations. The Guide also contains a section on accidents, emergences, and checklists, with practical advice on how to avoid incidents. This is an important section to be studied by Masters, because regardless of who else is involved in the management of their vessel, ultimate responsibility lies with them.

This is a guide to the operation and management of offshore support vessels (OSVs). In general, OSVs are monohulls and, in earlier times, they may have been categorised as anchor handlers or platform supply vessels. However, the increased size and capabilities of OSVs means they are now required to undertake more complex tasks. Taken together, these types of vessels form the biggest category in the offshore fleet. All have large open decks for carrying cargo and undertaking offshore operations; some have winches and large cranes, and many are also fitted with ROVs. In addition, they tend to be able to provide accommodation for forty to fifty personnel. There are smaller categories that also fall within the definition of OSVs: various types of survey ships with their chase boats, standby vessels and pollution control ships. This Guide describes the differences between the offshore industry and conventional marine activities. The operation of conventional cargo carriers might be compared with the operation of platform supply vessels (PSV), but there are significant differences. A crude oil carrier transports crude oil, a container ship carries containers, but an oil industry platform supply vessel is required to carry a large variety of cargoes on the deck, and also numerous products in tanks within the hull, potentially including a number of different powders which require special discharge capabilities.

This Guide is designed to be a valuable aid to learning and a useful reference source, particularly when complemented by other training resources.

In general, it can be seen that offshore oil exploration, development and production has gradually moved from the shallows into deeper water, and that this progress has required the development of larger, more capable, and more specialised vessels. In fact it is difficult sometimes to identify whether the ships were developed first, which then allowed a certain type of work to be done, or whether the requirement for a new ship type was identified as a result of new activities, and then ships were built to fulfil that need.

In addition to the technical development of the vessels, which has made them capable of carrying out more complex tasks, there has been a corresponding increase of the regulatory framework which supports them and the guidance provided to assist in their operation. This Guide aims to support both the ship owner and those on board the ships by providing practical detail, including the best ways of carrying out specific tasks.

The Guide also contains a section on accidents, most of which were investigated by authorities of the flag States with which the ships were registered. This is an important section which should be studied by Masters in particular, because regardless of who else is involved in the management of their vessel, the responsibility for keeping everybody on board alive ultimately lies with them.



Part 1 – The Offshore Sector

1. Ship Types

1.1 Anchor Handling Tug Supply Vessels

1.2 Platform Supply Vessels

1.3 Accommodation Vessels

1.4 ‘Walk to Work’ Vessels

1.5 Emergency Response and Rescue Vessels

1.6 Survey Vessels

1.7 Dive Support Vessels

1.8 Installation, Repair and Maintenance Ships

1.9 Crew Transfer Vessels

1.10 Pipelaying Vessels

2. Offshore Installation Types

2.1 Semi-Submersible Drilling Units

2.2 Jackups

2.3 Drill Ships

3. Cargo Types

3.1 Pipes for Pipelayers

3.2 Casing, Drill Pipe and Riser Sections

3.3 Containerised Cargo

3.4 Tote Tanks

3.5 Drilling Fluids

3.6 Drill Water, Potable Water and Fuel

3.7 Cement, Barites and Other Bulk Powders

3.8 Drill Cuttings

4. Ship Systems

4.1 Prime Movers

4.2 Electrical Distribution

4.3 Batteries

4.4 Azimuth Propulsion and Station Keeping

4.5 Controls Including DP Systems (DP Capabilities)

4.6 Pipework and Pumping Systems

4.7 Winches

4.8 Deck Equipment

Part 2 – Regulations, Safety and Environment

5. Flag State, Classification and Regulations

5.1 Flag State

5.2 Class Notation

5.3 Regulations and Guidance

5.4 Adults and Inspections

6. The Management of Health and Safety

6.1 The Application of Rules and Guidance

6.2 Dealing with Major Accidents

6.3 Occupational Safety

7. Safety Considerations of OSVs

7.1 The Safety of the Ship

7.2 Safety of Personnel

8. Protection of the Environment

8.1 Prevention of Oil Spills

8.2 Operational Residues

8.3 Garbage

8.4 Exhaust Gases and Emissions

8.5 Fuel, Energy Efficiency and Emissions

9. Transferring Personnel

9.1 Helicopter Transfers

9.2 The Swing Rope

9.3 Transfers by Crane using Personnel Transfer Devices (PTDs)

9.4 Walk to Work

Part 3 – Offshore Activities

10. Moving Moored Semi-Submersibles

10.1 Fundamentals

10.2 Conventional Rig Movements

10.3 A Rig Move within Subsea Architecture or at a Platform

10.4 A Deep Water Rig Move

11. Moving Jackups

11.1 Fundamentals

11.2 Open Water Jackup Movements

11.3 Workover or Development Drilling Jackup Movements

12. Towing

12.1 Fundamentals

12.2 Towing Manned Semi-Submersibles

12.3 Towing Unmanned Semi-Submersibles

12.4 Infield Jackup Towing

12.5 Ocean Towing of Jackups

12.6 Barge Towing

13. Supply Operations

13.1 Fundamentals

13.2 In Port Operations

13.3 The Voyage

13.4 Maintaining Station Alongside

13.5 Working Cargo Offshore

13.6 Difficulties with Drilling Fluids

14. Standby Activities

14.1 Fundamentals

14.2 UK Regulations

14.3 Activities on Location

14.4 Collision Risk Management

14.5 Training and Exercise

15. Offshore Offloading Systems

15.1 Laying Permanent Moorings

15.2 Supporting FPSOs and FSUs

15.3 Supporting Offshore Loading Buoys

16. Seismic Surveys

16.1 Marine Seismic Surveys

16.2 2D Seismic

16.3 3D Seismic

16.4 4D Seismic

16.5 Ocean Bottom Node (OBN)

16.6 Seismic Support Vessels

17. Well related Activities

17.1 Fundamentals

17.2 Well Testing

17.3 Well Stimulation

17.4 Well Intervention

17.5 Early Production

18. Diving, Construction and IMR

18.1 Dynamic Positioning (DP)

18.2 Diving

18.3 Inspection, Maintenance and Repair

18.4 Construction

19. Pipelaying

19.1 Pipelay Techniques

19.2 Flexibles

20. Support for Offshore Renewable Energy Installations (OREIs)

20.1 Offshore Wind Power – General

20.2 Installation of Wind Farms

20.3 Maintenance

20.4 Crew Transfer Vessels (CTVs)

Part 4 – Offshore Seamanship

21. Offshore Ships: Propulsion and Controls

21.1 Introduction

21.2 Ship Handling

21.3 Computerised Control Systems

22. Offshore Seamanship

22.1 Working Close to Offshore Installations

22.2 Tying up to Offshore Installations

22.3 Activities in Port

22.4 Special Activities

Part 5 – Accident Reports and Emergencies

23. Accident Reports

23.1 Collisions

23.2 Groundings

24. Emergencies

24.1 Emergencies on Offshore Installations

24.2 Own Ship Emergencies

24.3 Planned Maintenance and Testing

24.4 Unwanted Ship Occupation

Part 6 – Appendices

Appendix 1 – Glossary of Terms

Appendix 2 – Marine and Oilfield Acronyms and Abbreviations

Appendix 3 – References

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UK Chamber of Shipping
The UK Chamber of Shipping is the trade association and voice of the UK shipping industry. We work with Government, parliament, international organisations and others to champion and protect the industry on behalf of our members.

It is our mission to deliver for our members trusted specialist expertise, lobbying and influence at a UK level on maritime issues across national, European and international government and governmental bodies. By combining the strength of our members with this expertise we will advance the competitive strength of the industry ensuring that the UK remains as a leader in the global maritime business.

Number of Pages:
Book Height:
300 mm
Book Width:
215 mm
0.8 kg

Witherbys and UK Chamber of Shipping

Published Date:
July 2022
Publication Date:
July 2022