Offshore support vessels are truly a marvel in the shipping industry, without them many vital and high-risk operations would not be able to function as efficient as they do now. They come in many different shapes and forms, and they perform a wide array of specialized support functions. They might not be as glamorous as the main ships of the oceans, but there is a lot of technology behind these support vessels that continues to advance in today’s modern era.
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The Different Types of Offshore Support Vessels
Offshore support vessels serve different purposes in the fields of construction and oil exploration, but they are not limited to that function. Some are also supply vehicles for particular projects and there are a number that also provide backing for crew personnel.
There are Seismic Survey Ships that aid in the mapping of geological structures out at sea, these are equipped with sonar type equipment; Platform Supply Vessels, as the name suggests aid in providing necessary supplies to drilling rigs and platforms for production; Construction Support Vessels that are Class 3 can support subsea construction with amenities for heavy crane lifts, and there are DSVs or Diving Support Vessels that help with underwater work.
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The Advances in Offshore Support Vessels
The technology behind these vessels are highly remarkable says Albert, agent at HMS Broker, and it appears as if it will continue to advance towards the future. One trend that everyone has observed with these ships is their increase in size; a larger ship can carry more supplies and be able to stay out at sea for longer periods of time. Specialized equipment also benefit from having the adequate space to be launched from. Larger construction ships can afford heavier cranes for bigger projects and supply vessels can carry more cargo before having to restock.
The propulsion and engine systems on the newer offshore support vessels has also been benefitting from the latest advancements in technology. Larger ships are now much faster and are able to carry heavier loads. They benefit from better stability and maneuverability.
Navigational and dynamic positioning systems are also improving, newer offshore supply vessels can now keep course better than ever before.
Sometimes operations at sea can be high risk and that is why the safety advances haven’t been slacking. We now see more OSVs with better firefighting capabilities that can help put out fires in and off the ship.
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Specialized Offshore Support Vessels
Some Diving Support ships are now equipped with a DP3 class positioning system that help them keep an exact position over a project site during diving operations. Seismic Survey Ships have advanced air guns that can correctly map out the seafloor, not to mention specialized propulsion systems that only emit a minimal level of noise for better accuracy.
The oil and pipe laying industry has gained significant traction over the years thanks in part to OSVs, we now see support vessels that have the necessary equipment to be able to diagnose and repair any problem that could occur in an offshore drilling site. Some ships have been able to respond swiftly and much more effectively to dreadful oil spills due to the oil containment and recovery systems that they have on board.
Increasing an oil well’s production is no easy task, but OSVs have been helpful in allowing many rigs to be able to increase not only production, but efficiency as well. These support vessels are equipped with special apparatus and chemicals that can literally overhaul production out at sea.
As one may observe, Offshore Support Vessels might not be glamorous but they are as technologically advanced as any new ship out on the oceans. They have the latest and greatest navigational, operational and propulsion systems, and some are specialized enough to perform tasks that can seem impossible if not done on land. As per our estimates, there is no stopping the technology that goes into these ships and we might even see more specialized ships in the future.