In an environment where reliability is not an option, equipment must perform. And no environment is more unreliable than a remote offshore location.
Alongside accurate maps and GPS systems, navigation aids are crucial to helping ships navigate these waters and steer clear of hazardous sites such as oil and gas platforms or offshore wind farms.
Oil and gas platforms
Offshore oil and gas sites are subject to some of the harshest conditions, and navigation aids in this environment require the highest levels of efficiency, durability and reliability.
Unlike onshore locations, traditional electrical grid solutions are impossible to implement at these remote offshore sites, and fuel-powered generators are expensive to operate and maintain. Solar-powered aids to navigation can operate independently of the electrical grid — providing a reliable, durable and low-maintenance power source even in extreme conditions. The self-contained Sabik M860 lantern is engineered for consistent, reliable performance at remote installations, even in locations with low exposure to the sun’s rays.
Large and highly visible navigation buoys designed for use in deepwater locations, such as the Mobilis JET 16000, are also essential to safely mark off hazardous areas surrounding the site. Given the rate of decommissioning projects taking place, particularly in the North Sea, these types of high-performance navigational buoys are becoming increasingly crucial to the oil and gas sector — helping to establish a temporary safety zone.
Renewable energy installations
As the world goes greener, the maritime industry is also facing other challenges out at sea. The growing number of offshore renewable energy installations (OREIs) — and the location, size and irregular shape of these OREIs — present new challenges for safe navigation. As the renewable energy sector ramps up, vessel traffic around sites such as offshore wind farms will only increase.
During the construction and decommissioning phases, a temporary safety zone may need to be established. While all the focus of decommissioning activity is currently on the oil and gas industry, the spectre of decommissioning for offshore wind farms is also starting to grow as these projects reach the end of their operational lifespan. The Mobilis JET 9000 high-visibility buoy is particularly suited for offshore wind and wave renewable deployment, whilst the VLB-36 X navigation light is ideal for temporarily marking larger structures requiring up to 7NM range.
Once the site has been established, permanent markings including maintenance-free night-time signage, self-contained LED lanterns and fog signals and detectors are crucial to maintaining visibility and safe lines of passage. Remote monitoring solutions — such as the SRT Carbon AIS — are also ideal for hazardous sites like offshore wind farms and oil and gas platforms. Automatic identification systems allow mariners to obtain vital information to avoid collisions and provide maintenance teams with valuable operational updates.
Hydrosphere has been involved with the offshore renewable energy industry since the installation of the first offshore wind farm in 2003 — supplying solutions from single LED beacons to entire wind farm systems. For oil and gas sites, Hydrosphere also supplies a range of low-maintenance, high-quality hazardous area-approved markings, including navigation buoys, navigation lights for fixed and floating structures and remote monitoring either by GSM, satellite or AIS.