Seacroft Marine to present ‘360° view’ of Dynamic Positioning standards at Dynamic Positioning Conference, London, 6 February

Michael Cowlam, technical director of Aberdeen’s Seacroft Marine Consultants Limited, is to present a 360° view of industry expectations and best practices at the Dynamic Positioning Europe Conference in London.

Offshore support vessels attending installations in the North Sea use sophisticated dynamic positioning systems to enable them to hold station safely, just metres from the structures they are supplying. Installation owners – and industry regulators – continually focus on the reliability of these systems and their operating procedures in the drive to eliminate even minor collisions; indeed systems are exhaustively checked every time a vessel approaches within 500m of an offshore installation.

Michael Cowlam says: “Seacroft are well placed to comment on the priorities, opportunities and challenges facing the industry, as we interface with installation operators, vessel owners, regulators and industry bodies. My presentation will draw on that perspective, setting out a collective insight into current best practice and opportunities for improvement.”

When functioning to their full potential, DP systems – like aircraft instrument landing systems – are widely acknowledged to be very reliable and accurate compared to human ‘joystick’ control, and vessel systems are protected by layers of ‘redundancy’. However, again as with aircraft, the potential consequences of failure are so serious that no industry effort is spared in managing and mitigating these risks – and ensuring that experienced human intervention is on hand.

UK North Sea incidents have so far been confined to minor structural damage, but in the industry’s worst such incident a vessel collided with a bridge-linked oil platform in India’s Mumbai High field, starting a fire which destroyed the North Platform with the loss of 22 lives, and also destroyed the vessel.

Michael Cowlam continues: “While technology development and reliability improvement are continuing themes, procedures, controls, communication, crew competence and currency of experience are priorities we regularly hear voiced by installation operators and safety regulators. They look to us to reflect these priorities in the marine assurance work we undertake on vessels. By addressing these issues at the conference, I hope to contribute to widening awareness and debate across senior levels of the industry.”

Dynamic Positioning Europe on 6th February, part of the larger OSJ Conference on 7th-8th February, both events being organised by the Offshore Support Journal and taking place at the Novotel London West in Hammersmith.

Seacroft Marine is also nominated for the OSJ Safety Award, recognising Seacroft’s innovative SafeZone 500® suite of procedures, training and audit tools which manage and mitigate the risk of collision between vessels attending offshore installations. The awards will be presented at the OSJ Conference Dinner on 8th February.

Notes to Editors

Seacroft Marine is an Aberdeen-based marine consultancy providing advice, inspection and assurance services to offshore installation operators, drilling contractors and the support vessels attending them, and to ports and harbours.

Seacroft’s services include vessel procedures and trials, CMID & OVID vessel inspections, dynamic positioning assurance & trials, rig move services, International Safety Management (ISM) audits, technical authorship, marine awareness training, incident investigation, training in ship handling and bridge team management and port/marine safety procedures and audits.

The company has a track record of innovation in its sector, including development of safe practices for sharing ERRVs and, in 2017, the launch of the Seacroft’s ‘SafeZone 500’ suite of ready-to-use procedures, training and audit tools which manage and mitigate risk of collision between offshore installations and their attending vessels.

Established in 1995 by Capt. Roderick MacSween, the business has been jointly owned and led since 2004 by his daughter, Jennifer Fraser and technical director Michael Cowlam.

Based at the distinctive Roundhouse at Aberdeen’s harbour entrance, Seacroft has a core staff of 15, the majority of whom are Master Mariners and Marine Engineers. The firm also retains some 80 further consultants specialising in aspects of marine assurance and trialling work

For further information on Seacroft Marine Consultants services please visit