GSF's commitment to the Frog is seen as a significant step forward, as although many US operators are major users of the system throughout the world, penetration of the Gulf of Mexico market has been limited. However, the past 12 months has seen a big increase in the awareness of the risks associated with traditional basket transfers in the Gulf and many companies are now re-evaluating their positions.
The decision to opt for the Frog was made after an extensive evaluation by the C.R. Luigs' Master, Jennifer DiGeso. Although helicopter transfers are the norm for the environment in which the C.R. Luigs works, she wanted to have the safest equipment available aboard her vessel should boat/crane transfers be needed, especially in the case of a medivac.
Her sentiments were reinforced by GSF's DeepWater Operations Manager (GoM), Jerry Canducci. He made the decision to purchase because he saw that the Frog was the safest marine personnel transfer system on the market. This means that should it be necessary to carry out a boat transfer, GSF could make that decision knowing that it would be as safe as it could possibly be.
The positive experience with the Frog of GSF's Jack Ryan, the C.R. Luigs' sister drillship, was influential in the of the C.R. Luigs' decision to purchase. The Jack Ryan is currently working offshore Angola and has had a Frog on-board for the last year: crew response has been very positive in favor of its use.
The design of the Frog addresses the four main risks associated with personnel transfers by crane and provides the industry with a significantly safer way of carrying out marine personnel transfers.
Already widely used in many of the industry's key international locations, including the North Sea, West Africa, the Caspian, Sakhalin Island and Indonesia, the Frog has revolutionised marine personnel transfer, traditionally undertaken by workers holding on to the outside of a rope basket lifted by crane. As well as using the Frog, Reflex Marine believes that safer transfers result from training and preparation and so provides comprehensive training materials to support its customers and their employees.
The introduction of the Frog will raise standards in the safety of personnel transfer by crane in the Gulf of Mexico. A large vessel operator in the Gulf of Mexico estimates that there are some 120,000-150,000 personnel transferred by crane annually in the Gulf – the operator itself carried out 32,000 per year and over the past five years has had 35 serious incidents with rope baskets resulting in 19 litigations with costs potentially as high as $2.7 million. This vessel operator is currently assessing the Frog as it recognises its potential to reduce incidents.
Reflex Marine managing director Philip Strong said: "There has been a real growth in interest in transfer safety over the past year in the Gulf and many companies are now a lot more aware of the risks. Much of the credit should go to local companies that have been campaigning in this area and believe its time to 'raise the bar'. I think change is now inevitable and in a few years we will be looking back at current practices with the kind of nostalgia we now associate with the use of spinning chains for making up drill pipe. This is positive and the bottom line is we should now expect to see a lot less incidents in getting people to and from their place of work".
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