In April 2019 the International Marine Contractors Association’s (IMCA’s) Marine Division Management Committee set up a workgroup to focus on developing a code of practice for offshore pipelines and umbilical installation systems.

Bringing together world-leading pipelaying contractors, Allseas, Subsea 7, McDermott, Saipem and TechnipFMC, the workgroup came together to share knowledge and best practice in order to establish a standard for the industry. This has resulted in the publication of the new ‘Code of Practice for Offshore Pipeline and Umbilical Installation Systems’ (IMCA M 253).

The new Code of Practice includes all equipment required to lay the product safely and effectively in an offshore marine environment. It is applicable to all types of vessels that lay pipelines and umbilicals in an offshore environment; and addresses the unnecessary and potentially harmful tendency to apply overloads as part of system acceptance protocols on a project by project basis, rather than to utilise recent available and verifiable test records.

Pooling combined experience

The workgroup used the combined experience of their organizations when looking at design, testing and operation and maintenance of lay equipment and interfaces with the supporting vessel. This new code recognizes the value of experience gained over the recent decades during which many thousands of kilometers of pipelines and umbilicals have been installed in the offshore environment.

Raymond Vink, Engineering Manager at Allseas, who chaired the workgroup explained:
“We set out to create guidance that would define the minimum requirements for installation of offshore pipeline and umbilical systems. Our focus was on the laying spread, the vessel on which the laying spread is installed, and the interface between the vessel and the laying spread.”

2 Ford Mark 2017 comprMark Ford, IMCA’s Technical Director

Mark Ford, Technical Director at IMCA stated:
“In the last 18 months the workgroup held 22 committee meetings which demonstrates the importance of this work in our industry and goes to show what can be achieved when we put determined, expert minds onto a problem to be solved.”

IMCA M 253 is available to IMCA members free of charge. Non-Members can purchase this Code of Practice for £150 via the IMCA website.

Marine Division information is here and specific Lifting & Rigging information is here.

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