Marex

Offshore Shiphandling Training

In the early days of the offshore oil industry, supply vessels always tied up to offshore installations. In order to assist with the task, the small ships doing the job were fitted with bow thrusters, so commonly the ships would be fitted with main engine throttle and rudder controls, and often bow thruster directional and throttle controls. These controls would be fitted both forward and aft, so that the masters would have to learn to operate the ship facing both forward, and with more difficulty aft, since everything is reversed.

Over time more thrusters and individual rudder controls have been added, but also with the passing of time it has become more common for the ships to hold station under the crane without tying up. This used to be known as “snatching” because the crane would take a single lift as the ship drifted past. But almost before the capability had been developed the platforms ceased to be provided with ropes, and many ships were given “joysticks” a single control which could move the ship in any direction on a fixed heading.

Today many ships are fitted with some form of DP system and as a result some consider that the skill of driving the ship is no longer required. This is not the case, though, especially as many hundreds of ships are not provided with joysticks. Hence training in ship handling is still required.

Marex employs personnel who have been out there and done the job, and who have the capability to pass on their knowledge to trainees. The work can be done with the assistance of a suitable simulator, or if necessary on board an operating vessel.