Doing two or more things at the same time can be difficult under any circumstances. The risks associated with simultaneous marine operations (SIMOPS) in support of offshore oil and gas exploration and production, for example, related construction and survey activities, can be great and potentially dangerous.
In an effort to eliminate, minimise and manage these risks through proper planning, communication and supervision, the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) has published Guidance on Simultaneous Operations (SIMOPS) (IMCA M 203).
"We describe SIMOPS as the potential clash of activities which could bring about an undesired set of circumstances, which could result in risks to safety, environment, damage to assets, schedule, commercial, or financial," says Jane Bugler, Technical Director of IMCA. "SIMOPS is defined as 'performing two or more operations concurrently'. These activities typically include, but are not limited to, the following: a vessel undertaking a non-routine operation within an installation's 500m zone; subsea umbilicals, risers and flowlines (SURF) operations; or field developments with multi-vessel/contractor operations."
"'Vessels' include diving support vessels, heavy lift vessels, supply boats, barges, pipelay and cable lay, accommodation, seismic, survey, ROV vessels, and vessels operating in dynamic positioning mode," she explains. "'Installations' cover fixed and floating production platforms, drilling rigs, DP production units, FPSOs and FPUs."
"SIMOPS often involve multiple companies (owners, contractors, subcontractors, vendors), large multi-disciplined workforces and a wide range of daily, 24 hour, routine and non-routine construction and commissioning activities."
The guidance document includes a glossary, and a SIMOPS Flowchart providing a life cycle model for SIMOPS and, having stressed the importance of identifying SIMOPS at an early stage before the work commences, is structured to reflect the order of SIMOPS activities from identification through the planning, execution and management of such activities.