When it comes to adding offshore modules to your offshore installation or vessel, getting modules with the correct certifications is paramount. Having a well-rounded understanding of all the certifications that could be required is essential to ensuring the right modules get deployed. Not having modules with the correct certification can lead to costly time delays.
Specialist Services RedGuard is a leader in providing offshore modules to a wide range of industries. In this article, we break down the offshore module certifications you need to know.
The American Bureau of Shipping provides class and certification of portable accommodation modules (PAM) through their ABS Guide for Portable Accommodation Modules. The guide covers the “design, construction, installation, and survey of accommodation modules and addresses service intent, structural, piping, electrical, ventilation and fire integrity as well as layout and placement.” (https://ww2.eagle.org/en/Products-and-Services/container-certification/portable-accommodation-modules.html)
This is one of the top certifications required for offshore modules used in the oil and gas industry in the United States. American Bureau of Shipping has close ties to the United States Coast Guard. If you work in US waters or on US-flagged vessels, you will need ABS certification.
In addition to certifying portable accommodation modules, ABS also certifies offshore service vessels (OSV) and offshore installations. Because of this, ABS certification is needed to add offshore modules to these vessels and installations. OSVs and installations cover a diverse selection of specialized locations, including accommodation barges, lift boats, construction vessels, drillships, platform supply vessels, and ROV support vessels. Other certification organizations such as USCG and CSC look to ABS for approval before completing their certification.
The United States Coast Guard (USCG) enforces our nation's laws at sea, protecting the marine environment, guarding the coastline and ports, and ensuring the safety of life at sea. In its duty to ensure the safety of life at sea, the USCG guides the design, plan review, installation, inspection, and documentation of offshore modules used for accommodations. In 2016 the USCG distributed the CG-ENG Policy Letter No. 01-16, which updated the requirements necessary to achieve USCG certification.
This policy letter guides the new Coast Guards standards for portable accommodation modules (PAM). The letter’s purpose is to provide standards for the design, plan review, installation, inspection, and documentation of PAMs. As stated above in the ABS certification, the USCG and ABS work closely together when it comes to portable accommodation modules. The guide given by the USCG specifically lists the ABS Guide for Portable Accommodation Modules as necessary to meet the guidance provided by the USCG.
The USCG is tasked with the inspection and enforcement of standards for all vessels under the jurisdiction of the United States. This means that any ship under US jurisdiction that adds offshore modules will need to do so with PAMs that are approved to meet the USCG Guide for Portable Accommodation Modules.
Det Norske Veritas AS (DNV) is an independent global risk management and quality assurance expert and the leading classification society for the maritime industry. It is also a technical advisor for the oil and gas industry and certification and advisor for the energy industry. For offshore modules, there are two certifications from DNV you should be aware of: DNV 2.7-1 and DNV 2.7-2.
DNV 2.7-1 is for the certification of offshore containers. It provides the design, manufacturing, testing, certification, marking, and inspection requirements. The primary standard observed when referencing DNV 2.7-1 is the lifting requirements for moving the modules. Three phases are being examined: shoreside, supply vessel, and lifting to/from the offshore installation. This certification will need to be met on most maritime vessels and installations.
DNV 2.7-2 is a certification that combines a collection of requirements for offshore service modules focused on ensuring the modules can be safely installed on offshore installations.
The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, commonly referred to as SOLAS, is an international treaty created in 1914, in response to the sinking of the Titanic. The convention's purpose was to establish a minimum safety standard for the construction, equipment, and operation of ships. Tasked by the United Nations, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is in charge of the convention. It is responsible for measures to improve the safety and security of international shipping and to prevent pollution from ships. SOLAS has been adopted by 164 countries and covers 98% of merchant shipping tonnage. Because of the extensive reach of SOLAS, many other certifications incorporate its requirements. This includes ABS, USCG, DNV, and others.
Depending on where an offshore module will be installed, it may require a fire rating. The class A fire rating is used to provide a standard of protection against fire, typically the burning of cellulose-based materials, such as wood, plastic, and cotton. The class A rating is delineated by the time, in minutes, the material can protect against fire by preventing smoke and flame from passing through. It must also keep the average temperature on the unexposed side from rising more than 140 degrees C above the original temperature and keep the temperature at any point on the unexposed side from rising above 180 degrees C above the original temperature. The most common fire rating found on offshore modules is the A60 rating.
Depending on where the offshore modules are to be installed, the location can change the required fire rating. The class H fire rating provides a standard of protection against fire, based on a hydrocarbon fire curve that can reach more than 1000°C within a few minutes and a maximum temperature of 1100°C. This fire has a quicker build-up and a higher top temperature than the cellulose materials used in the A rating. Like the A-rating, the number following the letter denotes the time of protection the insulation will provide. H60 will provide 60 minutes of integrity and stability with 60 minutes of insulation in addition. In comparison, H120 provides 120 minutes of integrity and stability with 120 minutes of insulation in addition.
Like SOLAS, the CSC Plate began as a convention, the International Convention for Safe Containers. Started by the United Nations and International Maritime Organization (IMO), the convention had two main goals. The first is to maintain the highest level of safety in transportation and logistics. The second is to facilitate international container transport by providing standards. To obtain a CSC Plate, the container must meet the design requirements, minimum functionality requirements, and measurements of capacity, weight, and resistance to the forces that the containers are subjected to while being transported.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is an independent regulator based in Great Britain. They provide direction on how to manage risk through supplying guidance, regulations, and inspections. For the offshore modules, they provide guidance on bed design, number of beds, privacy, and comfort. Meeting these requirements allows the modules to be placed on offshore installations under the HSE regulatory authority.
The European Union set up the European Economic Area (EEA) as a single inclusive market to ensure all companies operating in the market are accountable to the same rules. The CE Mark denotes that the product has been designed and manufactured to meet all the requirements necessary to participate in the EEA.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) developed specific fire safety regulations for international commercial ships known as the Fire Test Procedures (FTP) code. The FTP contains fire test procedures and requirements for the materials regarding flammability, spread, smoke, and more.
The Zone system was developed by the IEC (International Electrochemical Commission) to categorize hazardous areas. They guide the design, equipment, and manufacturing of equipment, like offshore modules, operating in these types of locations. The main areas where offshore modules will operate are Zone 1 and Zone 2.
Zone 1 – denotes a location where ignitable concentrations of flammable gases, vapors, or liquids are intermittently or periodically present under normal operating conditions and conditions that frequently exist due to repair, maintenance, or leakage.
Zone 2 – denotes a location where ignitable concentrations of flammable gases, vapors, or liquids are present under normal operating conditions, occur for short durations, and can cause hazards in case of an accident or abnormal operations.
In North America, identifying hazardous locations means using a Class/Division system. The Class designates the general nature of the hazards present in the atmosphere. The hazard is considered present when there are sufficient ignitable quantities, with the potential for fire or explosion. In addition to the class, these locations contain a division which refers to the probability of ignition, resulting in a fire or explosion. For offshore modules, there are two main hazardous area certifications: Class I/Division I and Class I/Division II.
Both are Class I, which denotes that the location contains flammable gases or vapors in sufficient amounts.
Division I - denotes a high probability of ignition of the classified substance because the hazardous substance is continuously, periodically, or intermittently present, or from potential ignition caused by equipment or devices operating under normal conditions.
Division II - denotes that the classified substance has a low probability of ignition under normal operating conditions. Leaks, spills, or equipment malfunctions may cause sufficient quantities to form a volatile, ignitable mixture.
When adding offshore modules to offshore installations and vessels, these are the certifications you should know. Understanding where these certifications came from, what they are designed to do, and when they are required will help make adding offshore modules to your next project much more manageable.
If you have a question about the information in the article or any certifications that were not addressed, please contact us today. Specialist Services RedGuard has a team of experts in all the applicable certifications required to get your next project up and running.
If you have a project coming up that requires certified offshore modules, Specialist Services Red Guard has a full rental fleet of modules that meet all the certifications listed within this article. Be sure to look at our sleepers, galleys, diners, offices, workshops, and the auxiliary equipment to integrate them into your offshore installation or vessel.