Spring 2010

News,Views and Reviews from the
International Dynamic Positioning Operators Association
Issue3: Spring 2010
Which Way Now?
Testing Times
Pushing Buttons
The DP Awards
Burning Question
Getting Onboard
Bringing Commercial
Trends and Projections
An event under
to the Forefront
26 – 27 APRIL 2010
Grand Copthorne Waterfront, Singapore
Fazel A Fazelbhoy
Chief Executive Officer
Topaz Energy and Marine,
Venkatraman Sheshashayee
Executive Director
Greatship Global Energy
Njål Sæik
Chief Executive Officer
Havila Shipping,
Denis Welch
Chief Executive Officer
Drydocks World, UAE
George Horsington
General Manager – Business
Swire Pacific Offshore
David Ross
Chief Operating Officer
Mermaid Marine,
Leong Seng Keat
Executive Director
Nam Cheong Dockyard,
Simon Johnson
Commercial Director
PLUS Presentations From
Nam Cheong Dockyard, BIMCO,
Go Offshore, Bureau Veritas,
Deep Sea Supply, DNV and more!
CEO panel discussing market challenges and opportunities and 8 presentations for top executives
Examine growth in the OSV sector by assessing charter rates, rig demand, vessel orders and upcoming E&P projects
Review regional and global demand for different offshore vessel types
Strategies to secure long-term contracts in key offshore growth regions
Discover commercial trends and strategic plans for succeeding in tough economic times
Evaluate deepwater opportunities for modern tonnage on the market
Post Conference Masterclass: 28 April 2010 (9am – 5pm)
Offshore Chartering, Construction, Services and Insurance Agreements
Presented by Holman Fenwick Willan
Organised by:
Supporting Associations:
Media Partners:
Australian Association
for Maritime Affairs
Tabletop Sponsor:
International Marketing Partner:
REGISTER NOW! Customer Service Hotline: (65) 6514 3180
Welcome to this edition of 6degrees,
which we hope will provide some real
frontline insight into the world of DP, and
of the industry surrounding it.
Being a relatively new player in the
market, we have to be hyper-sensitive
to the needs of our members, and of the
ways in which we can attract new people
into the fold.
The biggest single driver for us, is that of careers – be it
recruitment, careers advice, news, views and links to industry.
As we move into our second year, this is where our focus has to
be, and where we are putting much of our resources.
Hopefully (ahem, Mr IT Manager), by the time you read this we
will have revamped our homepage, www.dpoperators.org to
reflect this new emphasis, with links to a new careers advice
area. Here we will have news on recruitment, careers and
professional development..
Sadly, we are struggling to make head way in the one area
where it is needed the most. That of ensuring that trainee
DPO’s are able to access the 30-days required to progress. We
have tried so hard to make our “Berthing Pool” concept work,
but without the buy-in from industry we are struggling.
With every email we get from individuals who have invested in
their career, but who cannot get the break they need, we want
to act. But our progress is blocked by the seeming apathy and
distrust of industry. In a downtime, you would think that having
the space and time to look ahead would be an excellent time to
engage with initiatives which could provide stability in the labour
supply for the future. Seemingly not!
So, be assured, we want to act, we want to help, but we need
support and buy-in to enable us to progress. If your company
can help and wants to get involved please let us know, and let’s
get moving forward. While for the individuals whose progress is
seemingly blocked, keep the emails coming, and we will work
hard for solutions.
Enjoy 6degrees,
We are really pleased to once again welcome
the wise words of some real industry experts
this issue, so thanks to Mark Pointon of the
Nautical Institute, who will tell you more about
the upcoming addition of assessments to the NI
Induction Course. The days of skulking quietly at
the back of the class are over…you have been
Thanks too, to Captain Lee Brown, of ADPS Ltd.
Lee and his company have been synonymous
with the growth of DP, and of their work to
support, mentor and promote their happy
band of DPO’s. Lee looks at the future choices
for many DP professionals - do they look for
contract employment or brave the pitfalls of the
freelance market? Forewarned is forearmed, as
they say, so hopefully getting inside the problems
will help some of you make the best choice.
We also look at some issues which are causing
real concern to the industry – we look at who
can become DPO, and of the difficulties those
who fund themselves are facing. We have even
launched a new guide to chart a career route
forward for those looking to get into DP. See
our “Becoming a DPO” pdf, which is available for
download on our website.
There is also the rather delicate issue of what
a “professional association” actually is. Since
our launch we have routinely been accused
of being a “Trade Union”, especially by some
companies in the States, who seemingly have
some rather deep seated issues with such
organisations. Inside we stress the fact that, “we
are not a Union, that we do not aspire to be
one, and are forbidden by our constitution of
being one”. Mind you this doesn’t seem to alter
perceptions…so this issue we try our hands at
some Mythbusting of our own.
Steven Jones
Executive Director
To find out more, to join or upgrade your membership visit www.dpoperators.org
Which Way
Captain Lee Brown, fDPO MNI has over 20 years service in
the offshore DP sector. During his career Lee has worked
as both an employee and freelance contractor and he
draws on his experience to provide us with a valuable
insight into the different directions a career in DP can
take...the choice is yours.
I have had a foot in both camps both as an
employee and as a freelance operator. I was a
loyal employee with two DP vessel operators,
on the first occasion I left the company due
to the lack of opportunity for advancement.
On the second occasion the company sold
the one and only DP vessel they owned.
After this, I was launched into the freelance
arena which was completely alien to me, not
knowing when my next pay cheque would be
or if I would get paid at all.
It took me nearly three years before I
became comfortable working in the freelance
arena and until I was confident that another
position would become available to me.
Although on the downside the jobs did not
always come at convenient times. Crucially as
a freelance operator I made myself available
for any sort of DP work which meant I
usually had a choice of roles, unfortunately
not always commensurate with my
qualifications and experience but at least
I had an income. In fact it was sometimes
good to go back to a junior role for a trip,
making me look at things from a different
perspective and always learning something.
Fortunately many of the jobs became
reasonably regular with some lasting for over
a year.
Freelance personnel have been portrayed
as money chasers, whilst this is undoubtedly
true in some cases it is in fact far from the
truth. The majority of freelance personnel
look for a challenge especially if the job
is a bit different to the norm, as freelance
personnel always want to add another string
to their bow. The benefit to companies
utilising freelance personnel is the experience
they bring with them. In addition, a freelance
DPO has to maintain a high level of
commitment to the role as after each trip
they are assessed and receiving too many bad
reports could result in fewer requests for
work or even no requests at all.
I believe that freelance DPOs have become
extremely independent and confident,
displaying loyalty to the profession. This
means they are able to make tough decisions,
in difficult situations, whilst always remaining
It is quite clear that freelance work is not to
everyones taste. Although they command
higher salaries (day-rates), freelance DPOs
will have to pay for their own medicals,
courses, pensions etc. On the other hand
the employed DPO will receive greater job
security, together with added benefits, whilst
forfeiting the experience gained from working
on a variety of vessels.
Most vessel operators want to employ the
DPO direct so as to maintain continuity of
their operations whilst being able to take
control of salaries and benefits. The DPO’s
actual experience of ‘permanent’ employment
can quite often mean just one to two years
(obviously there are exceptions). By working
in the freelance arena the DPO is in control
of his own destiny and knows he is a much
needed resource by the companies that
utilise his services. Certainly my experience
has been that we have received amazing
loyalty from Mariner/DPOs although only
working on a contract to contract basis. It is
our hope that they know we have their best
interests at heart and are able to provide
them with an identity of a company who have
a genuine interest in what they are doing and
of their experiences within our industry.
Unless a company has a large number of
DP vessels in their fleet it may be that the
requirements of the DPO are not fully
understood. It is not that a DPO is different
from a first or second officer but the fact
that the work demands are different. He is
essentially a mariner first but with greater
experience in the specific area of Dynamic
Positioning which requires two DP courses
and a minimum of six months further training.
A freelance DPO will generally select their
own company who will then in turn act as
their representative promoting them to the
best companies, negotiating day rates and
increases and any day to day administration
problems that may occur.
Once the DPO has gained all required
certification and basic training it can
sometimes be hard to find work. Vessel
owners understandably require experience
onboard and a method we have promoted to
our clients is to utilise mentor training which
has proved very successful. This involves a
junior DPO working alongside experienced
DPOs whilst gaining confidence and first
hand knowledge at a reduced rate of pay to
With a shortage of DPOs, training
centres are trying to address the problem.
Companies are reluctant to support
personnel through the training as they
feel they are going to risk losing a good
employee once they gain their DP certificate.
Unfortunately history has proved their
fear to be correct. DPOs are extremely
independent characters and the freelance
culture will always be an attractive option.
Captain Lee Brown, is Technical Director
at ADPS Ltd. He began his career in the
shipping industry as a cadet for Cunard
Steamship Co before moving to the
Offshore sector. Lee’s continued work
offshore and invaluable industry expertise
ensure ADPS remains in touch with advances
in training, legislation, technology and vessel
With news of Trades Unions at the fore across the UK, EU and
US at the moment, it seems an appropriate time to address the
misconception that IDPOA is a Union.
In dealing with a number of large companies in the US, notably drilling
companies, we have time and again been met with concern that the
existence of IDPOA means the introduction of a Trade Union into the
DP sector.
The fact that we are not a Union, that we do not aspire to be one,
and are in fact forbidden by our very constitution of being one,
doesn’t seem to alter this troubling perception. So we shall say it once
more, we are not a union, we are a professional association.
We simply seek to to promote the positive aspects of the role of
DPO, to create a body of best practice built by individuals who care
passionately about their professions and their careers. To be criticised
for our genuine failings would be fair enough, but to be condemned
based on misinformation and a lack of understanding, well as you
might imagine, that is incredibly frustrating.
“Unionisation” is simply not part of the IDPOA game plan. Back in
the early Seventies when the Nautical Institute was launched, they
battled the same misunderstandings, and had to fight long and hard to
demonstrate the difference between professionalism and unionism. It
is sad to see that some forty years on there are still those awaiting
There are many Unions already which would perhaps rightly claim to
represent DPOs in specific market areas – the idea of a global DPO
Union would be tough, given the protective practices around the
coasts of most of the regions our industry is working in.
As we all know Unions thrive where there is exploitation – and
can do an excellent job when workers are being genuinely taken
advantage of. While there are many DPOs who may feel aggrieved
with their employers, it would seem, thankfully, that the relationship
between shipowners and DPOs is usually far from “exploitative”.
Indeed one of the refreshing differences between mainstream shipping
and the offshore industry is the fact that relations between employers
and employees do tend to be much healthier. While the ITF decries
the moves of some Norwegian offshore vessels to Open Registries,
we rarely see the despicable treatment that some owners mete out
to their staff, on vessels such as Bulk Carriers, where abandonments,
pay disputes and poor standards are all too common. The offshore
sector seems to have a much greater recognition of the value of
people in the chain, and this seems particularly true of DPOs.
Being part of a Trade Union is about solidarity and collective action,
while being part of a part of a professional association is perhaps
the opposite. Our role isn’t to represent the populist view, it is to
reflect the view borne out by experience and best practice. It is about
promoting higher standards, and developing the careers, skills and
knowledge of our members. As such professional associations play an
important role in shaping the future of any industry.
Some aspects of professional associations do perhaps bear superficial
similarities to Unions. However, where Unions use their strength to
enhance the benefits of their members (higher wages, better working
conditions, etc), professional associations use (or should use) their
position to protect the legitimacy of the profession. That is the
difference, and it is a fundamental one.
We have received correspondence from some members stating that
we should move towards becoming a Union. Our response has been
sceptical. It seems there would be little to gain through potential
conflict with companies for whom we can provide an extremely
useful professional perspective. Unions and employers co-exist based
on their divergent views – if all employers did “the right thing”, we’d
never have Unions. However, IDPOA exists to drive professional
improvement, bringing real frontline expertise into play. In many ways
professional bodies and employers exist based on their shared views
and perspective – we want the job to get done properly, safely and
efficiently...which has to be good for all. Doesn’t it?
The International Dynamic
Positioning Excellence Awards 2010
The past couple of months have seen a deluge of nominations for the first International DP Excellence Awards. It has
been really exciting to discover the stories of individuals, organisations and innovations truly worthy of recognition.
We thank those who took the time to make the nominations.
DP Operator of the Year
An individual DP Operator who has
demonstrated outstanding passion, dedication
and commitment.
Jorn Harbo Petersen
Lars Whelan
Nick Wallace
Stephen Bomgardner
Onboard Trainer/Mentor of
the Year
An individual who has shown exceptional
dedication, support, engagement and vision in
a Training/Mentoring role.
Albert Rozas III
C. Marc Bragg
Nicholas Wallace
Charlie Stweart
Leader of the Year
An individual (onboard or ashore) who’s
encouragement, commitment and dedication
to people makes them an excellent leader.
Charlie Stewart
C. Marc Bragg
Stephen Bomgardner
Mike Popescu
DP Vessel of the Year
Investor in People
Outstanding Services to DP
Presented to the vessel regarded most highly
by DPOs worldwide in terms of excellence,
innovation, facilities, or any outstanding unique
Edda Fauna
Polarcus Nadia
Seajacks Kraken
Skandi Arctic
Mystic Viking
Recognising a company or organisation that
has delivered outstanding support, training,
promotion, mentoring, CPD or new concepts
and opportunities to benefit employees.
Bibby Ship Management
Edison Chouest
The Nautical Institute
Tidewater Australia
Presented to the individual that has, over
a sustained period, shown continuing drive,
commitment and passion to the DP industry
and is a true ambassador for DP.
Lennart Fagerstrom
Ian Giddings
Ian Smith
Howard Shatto
Chuck Richards
Innovation of the Year
Recognising excellence in the innovative
development or use of equipment, system or
concepts to improve DP operations.
Deep Down Corp.
Given the diverse nature of the categories some will chosen by an online vote
for your favorites. So you can choose the DP Manufacturer, Training Centre
and Lecturer of the Year. Winners in the other categories will be chosen by our
esteemed panel of judges. You can review the shortlisted nominees and vote
online via our dedicated awards webpage www.dpoperators.org/awards until
May 4th. Full results will also be posted on the website. So have your say, keep
watching and your fingers crossed for your shooting stars of DP...
Lecturer of the Year
Manufacturer of the Year
Training Centre of the Year
This award will be presented to the individual
who has shown outstanding passion,
knowledge, engagement and support in their
teaching and towards students.
Anders Hovde
Doug Olsen
Doyle Van Deman
Glenn Fiander
Helge Samuelson
Matt Barney
Recognising an equipment manufacturer who
has demonstrated excellence in innovation,
intuition, quality, control and service.
Beier Radio
A training centre anywhere in the world, whose
excellent facilities, equipment, staff and student
support should be recognised.
Ship Manoeuvring Simulator (SMS) Centre
Australian Maritime College DP Unit
Centre for Maritime Simulation St John’s
Converteam, Houston
L-3, Houston
Lowestoft College
Maritime Institute Willem Barentsz
OSM Maritime Services
Sir Derek Bibby DP Training Centre
The DP Centre, London
Mark Pointon, the Nautical Institute’s DP Training Manager speaks personally
about the roll out of assessments as part of the Basic/Induction course.
million miles away from the truth. Action
was needed.
The NI’s role is not just about Certification;
it also includes the accreditation of training
centres and the development of the
scheme. This last role cannot be carried
out in isolation; it requires input from all
DP industry stakeholders. The Dynamic
Positioning Training Executive Group
(DP-TEG) was developed to facilitate the
exchange of DP industry information and
to provide an industry forum. This group is
underpinned by Regional Training Provider
(RTP) groups from the 56 training centres.
The Nautical Institute (NI) is the guardian of
the DP Operators training scheme, a system
that has served the DP industry well since
its inception in the mid 1980’s. During it’s
lifetime it has not been without it’s critics,
but the fact remains that it is a fundamentally
good scheme delivering to the industry,
Competent Operators who have received
a combination of theoretical, simulator and
vocational training.
An often-heard criticism is that they are “not
up to the job” and that they only have limited
knowledge. In some cases this may be the
case, but to use a driving analogy, they have
just passed their test. Would you expect a
learner driver to exhibit advanced driving
skills or demonstrate judgement that can only
come from experience?
When I was appointed to my role as Nautical
Institute DP Training Manager the route of
least resistance in simply maintaining the
status quo was tempting! The workload of
keeping pace with the exponential growth in
accredited training centres was a full time job
in itself However, it was obvious the scheme
needed bringing up to date to once again
make it the “gold standard” it was previously.
There were perceptions that a student could
follow the training scheme without any,
or little, formal assessment of knowledge,
understanding and competence aside from
the Master’s assessment on the last vessel
and the familiarisation period tasks. The
urban myth was that a student could get the
course certificates by simply turning up! This,
while not being strictly correct, was not a
One DP-TEG task has been developing
the structure for the implementation of
compulsory assessment, a project that has,
frustratingly taken longer to implement than
I would have wanted. The analogy of a swan
gliding serenely across a river current springs
to mind - much of the work to date has
been unseen.
So what will the assessment structure be?
Initially, it will be introduced onto the Basic/
Induction courses and will consist of two
elements, practical assessment and theory
The practical assessment will introduce the
core basic competences the student will
ultimately have to achieve in order to be
an effective DPO. The ability to drive the
vessel manually or with a joystick, the ability
to stop the vessel in a “seamanlike” manner
and the ability to take the vessel step-bystep from manual to full DP control. It has
long been argued that we cannot assess this
competence in the classroom and I agree.
What is being proposed is that this practical
assessment will introduce the concepts to
the student before they demonstrate their
proficiency onboard, and will demonstrate
basic skills. The majority of training centres
already provide practical exercises, including
the competencies.
The second element of assessment will be
a theory test, in a multiple choice, “Yes/
No”, “True or False” format. A database of
questions will provide questions that cover
the recognised core DP areas:
• DP Control
• Power / Propulsion
• Position / Heading measurement Environment measurement
• Man machine interface.
The biggest concern voiced in connection to
this element of the testing was that it should
be consistent and not allow the perception to
grow of certain training centres being easier
to “pass” at than others.
We are proposing to have a “centralised”
system that will relieve commercial pressure
between training establishments in this
regard and provide a central authority on
assessment with effective closed loop control
on record keeping, auditing and feedback.
We are developing an “online” system in
conjunction with Videotel, that will allow
students to take the theory test at any
accredited DP training centre.
The testing will be individual, with random
questions taken from each section for each
student. Passing this test, together with a
successful result in the practical test will be a
pre-requisite to students receiving a course
From a position in the not too distant past
when DP course assessment of any sort
(even informal) was rare, we are witnessing
a growing number of centres that routinelly
informally assess. What I personally find very
satisfying, having been a proponent of formal
assessment for many years, is the feedback
that assessment has produced a noticeable
difference in students motivation and thus
their retention of the knowledge.
We expect the implementation of Basic
course assessment to commence in the 2nd
half of this year and to be a proven, fully
operational system by the beginning of 2011.
Finally, we are also developing the framework
for introducing an assessment system for
the Simulator/Advanced course. With regard
to the timeframe for implementation, I am
going to plead the 5th Amendment, but rest
assured the NI swan is still paddling.
To support further development of our organisation in Den Helder we are looking
for candidates for the following positions:
For the Subsea Support Vessels / Platform Supply Vessels (Dutch flag):
Vroon Offshore Services (VOS), a
dynamic and ambitious international
offshore shipping company with offices
in Den Helder, Aberdeen, Genoa and
Singapore, is a leading maritime
offshore services supplier on the North
Sea, Mediterranean and Asia and has
been in this business for over 40 years.
VOS globally operates a fleet of about
100 vessels, with a seagoing staff
of approximately 1.500 and has an
additional 27 new buildings on order for
delivery in the period 2010-2012.
Master / DPO
Chief Officer / DPO
Chief Engineer
Second Engineer
Candidates should preferably have watch keeping experience on board offshore vessels
and two years of North Sea Experience.
Function requirements:
You are in the possession of the appropriate Certificate of Competence as required for the
job. You are a responsible, perseverant and flexible team player, able to empower the skills
of your team members.
Furthermore, you are confident and enthusiastic, with good communication skills and
fluent in English.
In return, we will provide you with competitive terms of employment, flexible leave
arrangements plus training and development possibilities, aimed at enhancing your skills
to help you achieve the highest possible rank.
Job information:
For further information, please contact our Crewing Department.
Applications, including curriculum vitae, should be sent to:
VOS is part of the Vroon Group, an
ambitious, international and diversified
shipping company. The Group operates
over 140 vessels worldwide.
The focus of VOS is primarily on North
Sea operations in three main areas;
Platform Supply, Emergency Response &
Rescue and Subsea Support Services.
Vroon Offshore Services B.V.
Attn. Crewing Department
Het Nieuwe Werk 88
P.O. Box 432
1780 AK Den Helder
The Netherlands
T +31 223 673800
F +31 223 673859
E [email protected]
W www.vroonoffshore.com
Vroon Offshore Services B.V. • www.vroonoffshore.com
Since the launch of IDPOA, we have been working to a strategic plan and vision. With a little luck, some
good management and a lot of hard work, we have so far managed to hit most of the KPI’s we set
Having set up the Association, the backroom facilities and systems, and member services, we have steadily
gone about growing our membership. To the point where we can legitimately claim to have a body of DP
professionals to actually represent.
This brings us to the next phase of our development – that of representation to industry. The creation of
IDPOA had as its genesis, the launch of the DP-Training Executive Group (DP-TEG). With this forum there
was seen to be a need for an organisation to represent the views of DP practitioners.
The original idea within DP-TEG had been to simply have a serving DPO on the committee. For many
reasons, this would not perhaps be the best solution. It seems sensible then that the interests of all are
served by representation via a professional body such as ours. We are therefore pleased to announce that
we have now been offered a seat as an observer group, joining the likes of IMCA, ICS, IADC, BCS, and
As active DPOs, the Members and Fellows of IDPOA, have been invited to join our representation
committee to oversee our input to DP-TEG. This has seen the appointment, of a committee Chairman,
supported by members who are willing and able to provide comment and input on the matters being
raised through DP-TEG. Now the committee has been established, we are in a position to provide
representation to other organisations, as appropriate.
We are pleased to announce that Captain Marc Bragg has been appointed as Representation Committee
Chairman, and he believes this to be, “a superb and overdue opportunity to provide industry expertise
and frontline input on behalf of the IDPOA membership, as well as taking part in debate which ultimately
changes the way in which industry trains and certifies DPOs. “
At time of publication the
Representation Committee is
comprised of the following All Members and Fellows are
welcome ...so we look forward
to hearing from you and adding
you to our crewlist
Marc Bragg
Anders Carlson Hovde
Bart Hakze
Colin Soanes
Dan Whitaker
Gary Reay
Ian Smith
John Gorman Charlton
Lee Brown
Matt Barney
Mike Popescu
Mohan Dhanrajani
Narciso Montilla
Sean Hogue
Steve Macdonald
Jill Friedman
He added that, “To be a part of DP-TEG is a huge forward step for IDPOA, and a real chance for our
members to contribute to lasting and positive change to the industry”. Captain Bragg has been a staunch
and committed supporter of IDPOA from its inception, and given his active DP role and experience will
make an ideal first Chairman of a Committee which will do so much to shape the future and role of the
It’s not just about DP-TEG though, as the Committe grows and so does our membership we will be able
to provide the perspective of those actually involved in DP operations to industry. These are exciting
times. While the views expressed on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc are great, and capture a real energy
and passion for DP - without the means to represent these views formally, then the voices of the virtual
community remain exactly that. We therfore look forward to engaging positively and with a real and
focused sense of purpose. The future of IDPOA starts here....we know you do DP, so join in.
Acting as Secretary to the
Representation Committee is
Miss Gianna Molica-Franco.
DP-TEG is formed of industry
stakeholders to shape DP
training and certification - it is
vital that DPOs have a voice,
and we are pleased to offer this
frontline input.
Gianna is the IDPOA Media &
Marketing Manager, and will
liaise with the group to ensure
everything runs smoothly. You
can email Gianna
[email protected] to
find out more or to join in.
DP Training
Bibby Ship Management is now offering Dynamic Positioning
training in India’s capital city, New Delhi.
The company, which already has a successful centre in
Mumbai, is catering for increasing demand by offering Basic/
Induction and Advanced/Simulator DP training to seafarers
from Northern India. The new facility is a joint venture with
established Indian marine training provider Oceans XV, and will
be named the Sir Derek Bibby Oceans XV Maritime Training
Prakash M Agarwal, managing director of Bibby Ship
Management (India), said: “The new centre will expand our
provision of DP training services and has been built on the
success we have had with our first centre in Mumbai, which has
trained more than 1,300 students in less than four years.
“The New Delhi centre will extend our geographical reach and
put high quality DP training courses at the disposal of seafarers
across India.”
The company has also announced plans to build further
classroom space at the Sir Derek Bibby Training centre in
Mumbai to accommodate growing student numbers and new
We are pleased to welcome our most recent corporate
members into the IDPOA fold - we are excited about working
with them into the future:
Aboa Mare, Turku, Finland - www.aboamare.fi
Adriamare Maritime Training Center, Split, Croatia www.adriamare.net
Lowestoft College www.lowestoft.ac.uk
Maritime Institut Willem Barentsz, Terschelling West,
The Netherlands - www.miwb.nl
Maritime Training Centre of Holland College, Prince
Edward Island, Canada - www.hollandcollege.com/marine
The 3rd Deepwater Asia Congress 2010 will be held on April 26th29th in Shanghai. Bringing together the industry elite to take part in a
comprehensive technical program.
The conference theme “Survive, Sustain, Breakthrough for Asia Deepwater
Tomorrow Market” focuses on the specific technological needs and
exploration and development of the Asia-Pacific deepwater area.
We are also pleased to welcome L3 Systems into IDPOA.
There has been quite a growth of L3 DP training centres over
the past couple of years.
L3 Training centres can now be found in Houston, New
Orleans, Singapore, and Rio de Janeiro.
We are both pleased and proud they have decide to join us to
support their marketing and as a reflection of the import.ance
of professionalism in DP training.
See www.l-3com.com/dpcs/ for more details.
Understanding the Petroleum Industry
We are pleased to announce our support of the IBC Global
Academy Fundamentals of Oil and Gas course, which
commences in November 2010. A course which delivers
thorough, accurate and up-to-date knowledge of oil and gas
fundamentals to students via distance learning,
Providing a unique global perspective students can begin
to understand and work within the oil and gas sector with
confidence, having received a universal grounding in the industry
without the need for travel or attendance at seminars.
Course Director David Wood
Principal David Wood & Associates
VISIT www.dpoperators.org
The Fundamentals of Oil and Gas course covers the industry
from upstream to downstream and beyond, addressing:
• An introduction to the oil and gas industry, its history,
structure and key terminologies
• The fundamentals of finding oil and gas: geology, exploration
and access
• Extracting and processing oil and gas
• Oil refining and gas treatment: transportation, storage,
processing and distribution
• The commercialisation of oil and gas: selling, trading and
• Managing oil and gas: global issues affecting the industry, its
current state and future direction
Visit http://www.informaglobalevents.com/LR0057NE101 to
download the full course brochure and enrolment form.
Burning Question
Ask anyone who works outside the offshore
industry and it becomes clear that there is
confusion and misunderstanding about the
position and role of the DPO. Rumours
abound and the most frequently heard fallacy
has it that, “even the ships cook can be DPO”
or that IT “geeks” make perfect DPOs, based
simply on an understanding of computers and
We often get asked, “Who can become
a DPO?” Is an understanding of the ship,
its operations and environment still more
important today than understanding the
computer chip and its processes? People
appear unsure as to whether wires or waves
are the key. Unfortunately the world of DP
has become something of the new “snake
oil”, with rumours, myths, lies and half truths
in circulation. As is the norm with shipping,
simple answers to seemingly straightforward
questions are seldom found.
According to IMCA’s careers guide, “I want
to be a...DPO”, DPOs will typically start out
as watchkeeping deck officers. However, they
stress that “given appropriate supervision,
other appropriate personnel can aspire to the
position”. They state that, “Senior DPOs are
always watchkeeping officers”.
The phrasing “aspire to the position” is a
strange one, and open to interpretation, also it
does little to clarify the situation. Therefore as
a starting point we shall try and base our views
on the industry recognised DP qualification,
the Nautical Institute (NI) Dynamic Positioning
Operators certificate.
You probably know all about the NI DP
training scheme and its phases of onboard and
shorebased training, so we shall skip over that
for now. See our careers PDF over the page,
of visit www.nautinst.org for a full breakdown
of the course, the phases of study and the
requirements for Limited and Unlimited
certificates on the varying classes of DP
vessels (Class 1, 2 or 3).
So back to the question of who can embark
on the NI scheme? Put simply, anyone can sign
up and attend the Phase1 Induction (Basic)
course. ANYONE! Ok, so that puts one myth
to bed – your granny, the cook, the guy in
McDonald’s...anyone can sign up and arrive at
their nearest DP training centre to start the
course and go through the five days in the
classroom. But will they actually ever become a
qualified DPO?
Next up is the first of the seagoing phases.
Now, this is of course where those with no
maritime knowledge or qualifications will most
likely come unstuck. So, while anyone can
indeed enter the scheme, the chances of them
actually completing it are becoming slimmer
than Kate Moss on Atkins.
For the Phase2, the prerequisite is naturally
a vessel with a classed DP system, and the
trainee needs a berth on it. Now for those
who have been sent to the DP course by an
employer and are guaranteed a place onboard,
then this is fine. For others it can be the start
of the problems. Lest we forget, those with
the right background are of course more likely
to be employed and granted access to the all
important seatime.
For those sponsored by a company it is
fairly straightforward. After the 30 days, the
Simulator (Advanced) course, more sea-time
(6 months), and hopefully a signature from the
Master stating their suitability for the role as
DPO, then barring any glaring errors in the
logbook and application (and many people
do make errors), then the certificate will
eventually be despatched.
For those who have funded themselves, it
can be very hard (read, next to impossible)
to get the necessary 30 days sea-time. There
are many seafarers out in the market today, all
desperate to qualify as DPO, but they can’t get
past this second hurdle. There is currently no
formal industry system of trainee placement,
and progress thereafter is effectively blocked.
Forgetting those with no qualifcations, even
experienced and committed seafarers who
have decided to invest in their own career
are struggling to get sea-time. Many, after
writing reams of application letters, hundreds
of printed resumes and pleading emails, are
forced to reluctantly give up on their DP
Surely it is a problem that qualified and
skilled mariners are coming up against a “glass
bulkhead” in their efforts to get DP sea-time?
So, is there an answer, or is it just the way it is?
As Members will be aware, IDPOA is working
hard to bridge the gap between these skilled
DP trainees and the owners/operators that
may be able to provide the “Phase2” 30 days
sea-time. Our “Berthing Pool” scheme (an
online database of trainees and available
positions) is in it’s infancy, and could ensure
that trainees are at least aware of who may
be offering trainee places onboard. Sadly it is
floundering due to a lack of industry buy-in.
Being completely open and honest, we would
not recommend trying to get into DP without
employer support or a cast iron guarantee
of sea-time. Not until there is a formal
recognition and a solution to the problems of
getting sea-time and of the seeming blockage
in the training system. It is saddening and
frustrating to have to write that, but that is the
truth. For those who are intent on trying, we
wish you the very best and hope that we will
be able to help.
Surprisngly, given the potentially damaging
longterm shortage of qualified and experienced
DPOs, this is seemingly acceptable to the
industry. In the past there has even been the
view that people paying for their own training
were, “muddying the waters” of the training
pool. This perhaps explains the seeming
reluctance of some owners to engage with
trainees, and the perceived hesitation of trade
associations to see the wider picture and point
out some home truths to their members. Let’s
hope no one remembers who acted and who
did not when the accidents start or when the
shortages of DPOs really begin to bite hard.
There is a recruitment time bomb ticking
which must be defused. Unless something
is done, there is going to be an incredible
shortage of DPOs when work starts coming
in. There are vast numbers of newbuilds
due onstream, even accounting for possible
cancellations. So with the number of vessels
having DP retrofitted and with the equipment
making its way onto vessels outside of the
traditional offshore sector, then it seems clear
we are simply not feeding the conveyor belt of
talent needed to ensure safe and efficient DP
operations into the future.
So in answer to the question, “Who can be
DPO?” In theory anyone can, but not many
will....unless we act now.
Dynamic Positioning (DP) is a means to automatically
control vessel movement, keeping it in a desired location
and heading or on a specific track through the use of
engines and thrusters. It is a technique used extensively
across the offshore oil and gas industry, including diving,
ROV operations, survey and marine construction, globally.
It’s spreading to cruise ships and superyachts too!
The equipment is controlled by a DP Operator - the job
is highly skilled and technical, as the role involves setting
equipment up, monitoring it, ensuring the vessel does as is
required - and, you also have to act fast in an emergency.
A lot rests on your shoulders, you need to know what to do,
and how and when to do it - still fancy it?
Education and Qualifications
DPOs typically start out as a watchkeeping deck officers. However, in certain circumstances
other ranks can take on the role. The programme is intended to apply to bridge watchkeepers
already qualified by means of a deck officer Certificate of Competency (CoC). Even though
anyone can enter the scheme - employment options may be reduced without a deck CoC.
The DP Operators Certificate
The Nautical Institute, industry accepted training programme is a 5 phase one, as follows:
1. CLASSROOM! Completion of DP Induction Course. A 4-5 day shore-based “Basic”
course using DP simulation training equipment. A course certificate is issued on
completion. See the IDPOA Training map for details of global NI accredited course
2. ON THE DESK! Seagoing familiarisation of a minimum 30-days. The trainee DPO
spends a month understudying a qualified DPO in a vessel engaged in DP operations.
3. CLASSROOM! Completion of DP Simulator Course. 4-5 day “Advanced” shore-based
training using a variety of scenarios built around the simulator. A course certificate is issued
on completion.
4. ON THE DESK! Completion of six months supervised DP watchkeeping on a DP
Classed vessel (visit www.nautinst.org for rules on Class 1, 2 or 3 and Limited vs. Unlimited
5. GET ASSESSED! Assessment by Master and hopefully a signature in your logbook.
Then documentation is forwarded to the Nautical Institute for review and issuance of the DPO
certificate if all is in order. Make sure all is signed off correctly, or there will be delays.
Working Conditions and Prospects
Naturally, DPOs go where the ships go and the jobs are - and are usually away from home
anywhere between two weeks and three months at a time. DPOs are resourceful, resilient and
able to work in a team environment. They also have good technical knowledge and skill.
BE WARNED! Prospects for those who hold a DPO Certificate are excellent - but for
those funding themselves through the scheme, it is increasingly difficult to get the Phase2 “30
days” seatime to progress - email [email protected] for job and market information.
This is the first of our Careers Guide PDFs - which we make availiable to colleges and individuals
considering a career in DP. To download a full version visit the IDPOA website www.dpoperators.org
Find your next career move using IDPOA’s jobs
portal and Career Toolkit for Dynamic Positioning
professionals - faster than a CYSCAN locking
onto someone’s high-viz jacket.
What are you waiting for?
Join as a Member or Fellow and
upload your CV today, see
where your future can take you at:
Fast and Easy
Upload your CV in minutes to create an
online profile and create a resume that
maximises your experience and skills.
Take control
Update your Career Toolkit as often as
you like, inlcude your seatime log, CPD
information and AIMS reports as well as
copies of your certificates.
Be prepared
Even if you are not looking for a job
right now, the Career Toolkit is a brilliant
place to keep your CV up to date and to
record new achievements, promotions and
The place to be seen
Stand out from the crowd and give
employers access to your CV or add it to
our job matching database to be the first to
hear about new roles suited to your skills
and experience.
Show you’re a Pro...
Joining your professional association shows
clearly that you are serious and dedicated
to your career. Being part of IDPOA can
make a real difference to you, and what
employers think.
Dynamically Position yourself for your perfect job!
The Career Toolkit also features careers advice, articles, news and the latest DP job listings.
Pushing All
The Buttons
To quote the Dr Pepper adverts...”what’s
the worst that could happen?” Well if
we’re talking DP, it depends very much on
where you are, and what you are up to at
the time. Andy Cooper of Converteam has
been stressing the range of consequences
that losing position can bring, from “mild
inconvenience to disastrous.”
This all sounds about right - and the
discussions arose as part of Converteam’s
work on their concept for a new power
and propulsion system, which apparently
reduces the consequences of single point
failures. “Reliable Dynamic Positioning
(DP) is the holy grail of systems and each
DP vessel has its own consequence class
notation”, added Cooper.
In a new configuration, known as Dual
Active Front End (D-AFE), each thruster
drive inverter is fed by two switchboards
simultaneously and is capable of operating
based on a supply from either one of them
or from both together.
With Class 2 and Class 3 DP vessels
focusing on station keeping in the event of
a worst single case equipment failure. With
the D-AFE system, a ‘worst case failure’
of a whole switchboard would no longer
result in the loss of 50% of thrusters.
Therefore thrusters, generators and
switchboards can be rated such that
a ‘worst case failure’ of an entire
switchboard, for instance, results in the
loss of no thrusters, but means that 50%
of total available power is lost. By wholly
separating the two switchboards, and
eliminating all physical links (including
expensive exploding fuses) each thruster
drive is configured such that it can operate
continuously even in the event of the loss
of an entire switchboard.
Neil Barford, offshore and merchant
business manager at Converteam UK says,
“Now, the worst case single point failure
typically reduces to being the loss of the
single most significant thruster.”
DP vessels that adopt this concept
could benefit from significantly improved
station keeping capability than would be
possible with an equivalent conventional
arrangement. Alternatively, these benefits
may be taken in terms of reduced
equipment ratings. For example, since
50% thrust can be obtained from 35%
power, the same station keeping capability
as the conventionally arranged ship may
be obtained with a much reduced power
D-AFE builds on the advantages of AFE and
is particularly suited to offshore vessels in
which reliability and resistance to single
point failures are critical considerations.
DP vessels in the DP2 or DP3 category are
vessels which are likely to derive the most
immediate benefits from D-AFE.
Converteam has been quick to stress the
advantages, as with D-AFE the power range
available in a low voltage configuration is
greatly extended. A fact which not only
cuts the initial costs of system purchase
but it also means that through-life costs
are lower too.
As DP vessels grow
ever more advanced,
Converteam believes
there to be “tantalising
possibilities” in terms of
the potential of D-AFE
to reduce installed thrust
and power generation
capacities, and looks
set to push the power
envelope of what is
achievable in low cost, low voltage (690V)
There are space savings too – these
solutions are noted for their intelligent
control properties which result in
extremely low harmonic distortion and
in the provision of a sinusoidal current
being drawn by the converter. As a result
of this, the requirement for additional
transformers is eliminated and the size and
bulk of switchboards is minimised.
According to Converteam, “the potential
for savings in either fuel consumption,
thruster installation, generator installation
or some combination of all of them are
becoming apparent”. With credentials such
as improved station keeping and increased
fuel efficiency, the arguments in favour of
D-AFE appear to be compelling.
The first vessel to take advantage of the
new system from Converteam is a jackup NG-9000C-HPE vessel designed by
Gusto MSC and built at Drydocks World
in Southeast Asia. The vessel will have six
electrically driven thrusters, three stern
azimuth units and three bow tunnel units.
With a sales pitch exclaming the system to
be Safer, Cleaner, Leaner, Greener, Smaller...
oh, and Cheaper, we doubt it will be the
If you do DP...
At IDPOA we work hard to bring you the latest DP
job opportunites from across the world.
We actively engage directly with employers and
recruitment agencies to find permanent vacancies and
contract roles at all levels on the DP career ladder.
Members and Fellows of IDPOA can apply for the jobs
we advertise, upload CV’s and give recruiters direct
access to their careers information in the jobs section
of the IDPOA website. The ‘Get a Job’ lisitng in our
careers section brings you the latest vacancies we find
online and is open to all.
Here we give you a flavour of current vacancies, find
more DP jobs at www.dpoperators.org
We have also started our new DP Jobs Aggregator and
careers service, where we trawl the net for the best
DP jobs for you. Check out the careers section for
more details of DP positions and how to apply.
DPO with 3+ years experience, Unlimited Licence, also
Unlimited Certificate DPO required for Dive Support
The Senior DPO will be responsible for the DP system and related
equipment as well as vessel navigational publication library, chart
collection and regulatory publication inventory.You will be in
charge of Bridge DP watch while on location performing sub-sea
operations, and senior watch officer while underway.
Do you fancy moving ashore? This shorebased
consultant role in Aberdeen might just float your
A major Offshore player is looking for a contract
2nd Officer/DPO with minimum Class4 deck and
“recognised” DP Certificate in Brazil.
Ideal candidates should be:
• Holder of an Unlimited STCW95 COC (Motor) either
as Chief Engineer(preferred) or Second Engineer and
have experience working on offshore vessels or MOU
with DP2 or 3 systems.
• Fully conversant with the ISM code and its application
on merchant vessels, especially offshore vessels.
• Generally familiar with IMO/class(DNV/LR/ABS) rules
and IMCA guidance with regard to the design and
operation of DP vessels and Failure Modes Affects and
Analysis (FMEA & FMECA).
Responsible to the Chief Officer, the 2nd Officer will assist
the Chief Officer and/or 1st Officer with all aspects of the
operation of the vessel in accordance with international law
and the law of the flag state and aid responsibilities for the
safety of the ship and all personnel onboard.
Previous marine consultancy experience is desirable, as
is DP FMEA experience, knowledge of forensics (fault
finding) on DP systems, vessel assurance for general
marine inspections (IMCA CMID), LOLER and PUWER
experience,Some offshore and overseas work required.
Key responsibilities include:
• Act as DP Operator
• Act as Junior Officer of the Bridge Watch
• Maintenance of fire fighting appliances
• Act as Officer of Deck Watch during stays in Port
• Maintenance of navigating equipments, charts etc.
• Maintenance of equipment in lifeboats and rafts
• Assisting Senior Officer of the Bridge Watch in navigation/
look out when Ship is off DP.
• Assist the Chief Officer in providing the Captain with
input for conducting the “Masters Review” in accordance
with the ISM code.
A prestigious drilling company with new 5th and
6th generation MODU is currently looking to
recruit top professionals for offshore operations.
Applicants MUST have the following:
• Previous experience on new 5th and 6th generation rigs
• 5+ years Offshore experience with all valid documents
• Fluent command of English language
• Valid HUET and Medical Certificate
Reporting to the Chief Mate or Master, the DPO
II will operate the automated and fixed station
keeping of the rig and supervise the DPO I.
You will need: COC Master Mariner unlimited, ENG1, DP
operators certificate, Saturated Diving experience, DP
unlimited operators certificate.
Full details of operational/maintenance, QHSE, personnel
and training duties/responsiblilites as well as prerequisites/
qualifications and information on how to apply can be
found online.
This Aberdeen based Marine Consultancy require a Marine Specialist to undertake a variety of duties including
vessel auditing / verification, training, workforce consultation and a variety of marine project and assurance
Possessing a Master’s Certificate of Competency and ‘wide-ranging’ marine knowledge of the Oil and Gas Industry, candidates
will be computer literate and have knowledge of relevant regulatory requirements and industry standards, and have at least five
years marine related experience in offshore activities. Recent PSV / MRV and DP experience, as Master or Chief Officer, would
be advantageous.
With the iPad, as we discussed in the
last issue, set to revolutionise life for
those with a large enough pocket
to keep the darn thing with them...
we turn our attention to the next
re-incarnation, the iPhone4.
Will it be more like Rocky4, a sad
demoralising view of past glories, or
will it knock seven bells out of the
hoardes of smart phones jostling for
it’s crown? We’re not so sure.
The answer for us is simple - the
soon to be ubiquitous phone HAS to
have a battery that lasts more than 2
phonecalls and a quick check of the
football scores. Will it? You can find
out soon. www.apple.com
The Zetronix 80”
Wireless Virtual Video
3D Glasses simulate a
80” television screen
allowing you to watch
anything you want in
privacy. Perfect for,
Just imagine no more
cables, you’ll be free to
walk around with your
glasses on, bumping into
things with gay abandon.
You can even play video
games in your bunk or
on the daybed. Great fun
- but that’s not all.
The Zetronix 80” Virtual Video 3D Glasses are fully equipped with Surround Sound
speaker headphones that play crystal clear movie theater sound anytime you desire.
Just put the glasses on, connect them to any video device and enjoy your favorite
show or play your favorite video game. It’s that simple.
The Zetronix 80” Virtual Video 3D Glasses, can simulate a real 3D image through
“stereoscolical lenses” that are equipped inside the video glasses. The glasses can
display a 3D image right infront of your eyes so real you can reach out and touch it.,
but don’t, as the Avatars might bite. If the movie or video game image isn’t 3D, no
problem enjoy clear vivid screen in 2D mode as well. Not sure if they can be hooked
up to the DP system, but they sure seem fun. www.zetronix.com
Heading ashore, but forgot to charge?
Bingo...this is your answer. It might look
like a stapler - but meet the “ZipCharge”,
an ultra-fast portable battery pack
designed to alleviate your battery anxiety.
Charging this pocket-size stick of
dynamite for just 10 minutes will score
enough power for 10 hours talk time
on your mobile or 20 hours play time
on your iPod. 60 seconds charge will
be enough to juice you up for around 2
hours out and about, Powered Up...
The 2010 European Dynamic
Positioning Conference has
been designed to address the
key issues facing owners and
operators of ships and rigs, ship
and DP system designers, drilling
contractors, class, equipment
manufacturers and service
providers in the development
and operation of DP systems in
the offshore oilfield and marine
Take advantage of our special delegate rate.
Book before 23 April and save £100
Special delegate fee before 23 April 2010 £850.00 (excluding VAT)
Delegate fee on and after 23 April 2010 £950.00 (excluding VAT)
Events Team
Mirella Rose
t: +44 20 8370 7009
e: [email protected]
Sponsorship Opportunities
Ian Glen
t: +44 7919 263 737
e: [email protected]
Conference Chairman
Edwin Lampert
t: +44 20 8370 7017
e: [email protected]
What’s On 2010...
European Wind Energy Conference and Exhibition
2nd Annual Offshore Support Vessels Asia-Pacific Conference
Annual Deepwater Asia Congress
FLNG 2010
Petrotech 2010
2nd European DP Conference
Subsea Asia 2010
Kuala Lumpur www.allworldexhibitions.com/oil
Whenever and wherever possible IDPOA negotiate member discounts with conference
organisers so don’t forget to mention your membership when booking your tickets.
Debate and engagement are important parts of professionalism - you can log any conferences or
courses you attend within your IDPOA CPD portfolio...all part of your membership tools.
To promote your events in 6degrees or on www.dpoperators.org
email us for more details - [email protected]
Issue 4 is distributed July 2010