The Coastal and Marine Operators (CAMO) group announced yesterday that it has successfully completed the first step in rolling out a major initiative to protect the safety of mariners, the environment and hydrocarbon pipelines from being damaged.
The CAMO group began transmitting Automatic Information System (AIS) safety messages directly to mariners in two charted pipeline corridors in Port Fourchon, Louisiana, significantly improving their situational awareness by providing immediate alerts for vessels in close proximity to submerged pipelines.
These vessel safety messages use existing AIS technology that is already deployed on most commercially operated vessels.
“Pipeline protection is increasingly important, with the typical incident costing an average of at least US$1 million to repair, not counting the incalculable costs of injury, death, or environmental impact,” said Ed Landgraf, Director of CAMO.
“This AIS-based safety broadcasting system culminates several years of hard work on a solution that enables vessel and pipeline operators to collaborate on protecting mariners from the risk of pipeline strikes. The system makes it easier for mariners to know where and when to take protective measures as they transit or operate near submerged pipelines, and we look forward to a successful roll-out here and in other ports nationwide.”
The first phase of CAMO’s AIS-based pipeline damage prevention and awareness programme is being launched in partnership with the Greater Lafourche Port Commission (Port Fourchon) and Oceaneering®, a global provider of engineered services and products primarily to the offshore oil and gas industry.
Oceaneering’s PortVision® AIS-based vessel-tracking service is being used to monitor vessel activities in the two charted pipeline corridors north and south of Port Fourchon that pass under its main navigable channel. When the PortVision service detects a vessel operating at a speed less than 0.5 knots for three minutes or more within one of these corridors, an addressed, one-time AIS Safety Related Message (also known as message 12) is immediately transmitted directly to the vessel’s wheelhouse that says, “PIPELINE BELOW.”
Depending on the equipment installed on the receiving vessel and its equipment configuration, there may be visual and audible variations in how the AIS safety alert is received.
CAMO initiated its joint pilot project for marine pipeline damage prevention and awareness in August 2012 with the United States Coast Guard (USCG).
The pilot system was developed using Oceaneering’s PortVision AIS-based vessel monitoring service through a grant partnership with Port Fourchon and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).
The transmission of AIS safety messages has been approved by the FCC and USCG as part of an experimental AIS transmission.
The safety message transmission will be operational for 250 days following the USCG notification to mariners recently issued earlier this month. A decision about continuing the transmission will be made after an assessment of how well it has increased vessel operator awareness of subsea infrastructure while reducing the threat of pipeline damage when vessels stop, anchor, drop a spud, or push aground inside one of the designated corridors.
The Coastal and Marine Operators (CAMO) group was developed with a goal to diminish the gap between onshore and offshore spills, releases, and pipeline damage prevention initiatives. A key component of this group’s mission is to educate marine stakeholders and the public about the risks that damage to offshore utilities and pipelines can pose to personal safety and the environment. Although pipeline operators have vigorous inspection and maintenance programmes to insure the integrity of their assets, the risk of third-party damage to a pipeline is a continual threat.
Edited from source by Elizabeth Corner