Recent technological advances in the areas of personnel transfers and remote operations have opened opportunities for new and existing facilities to move towards minimum manning operating philosophies. This paper will discuss the benefits and challenges of moving from a permanently manned model with helicopter transfers to an unmanned or minimally manned facility with vessel-based support and walk to work transfers. Potential impact on manning and accommodation philosophy will be addressed, focusing on an operator’s typical decision criteria, including: workability of transfer operations; emergency response capability; maintenance workload; health, safety and environment risk; marine support vessel requirements; and compliance with safety regulations. While assessments can be made of each operating philosophy change in isolation – reduced manning, remote operations and personnel transfer method – this paper will seek to address a holistic approach potentially providing greater impact than the sum of each change. This is possible through the interdependence of manning, life support system requirements and maintenance workload; reduced manning allows reduced number and complexity of systems, which reduces maintenance workload and, in turn, further reduces manning requirements, potentially allowing a step change in operating and manning philosophy to one of a not normally manned with vessel-based accommodation.
David B. McCarthy
The APPEA Journal