In this series, our head of Rig Inspection Services Steven Lee shares tips on how operators and owners can get through rig inspections with flying colours – and which pitfalls to avoid! Mr Lee has more than a hundred rig inspections under his belt, from all parts of the world. This chapter looks at Marine Systems.
The Marine Systems of a rig are the bits that support all the other parts of the rig to work, and although they are often overlooked they are crucial to the overall performance of the rig as a unit.
Marine systems are generally process systems which are made up of pumps, compressors, motors and piping. These were once quite rudimentary systems, which heavily relied on marine engineers’ detailed understanding of the process systems and manumatic control. On older rig’s marine engineers rely on the human senses of smell, hearing and sight in conjunction with analogue pressure and temperature gauges to understand the systems’ performance.
However, this is no longer the case on modern rigs with complex vessel management systems allowing control over each part of the marine system. These systems have huge numbers of digital inputs and outputs and with this increased automation comes much higher reliance on interpretation of data and remote functionality.
Generally, inspections of marine systems are largely reliant upon visual inspections and functional testing, so the key to surviving the inspection is good housekeeping and high maintenance standards.
Included within marine systems are the bilge and ballast systems, which are fundamental to the safety of any floating offshore installation, ensuring both stability and flooding control. A rig inspection team will want to ensure that both systems are fully operational and that the remote sensors utilised within these systems are fully operational. Simplistic tests such as transferring ballast water can confirm sensor calibration and functionality of valves. Testing of bilge alarms is also very important; a good inspection team will not only verify that the alarms are functional but also the integrity of the floats which trigger the alarms.
These types of simplistic functional testing will be applied to other areas of rig marine systems, such as fuel transfer systems, rig air systems and cooling water systems.