Offshore Oil & Gas    

Island Performer report

(uploaded 11 10 17)

The Island Performer, pictured below, has been assisting with the hook up and commissioning of the Inpex Ichthys project in the Browse Basin.

AIMPE Federal Councillor Lloyd May has been working on the vessel and has prepared a report on the particular capabilities of this vessel.

Part of Lloyd's report will be published in the October 2017 edition of On Watch.

The full version can be accessed here:

Island_Performer_vessel_report_Lloyd_May_October_2017.pdf Island_Performer_vessel_report_Lloyd_May_October_2017.pdf (211.49 KB Wed Oct 11 14:50:37 2017)

Island Performer Broome WA

Offshore Support Vessel Island Performer approaching the wharf at Broome- picture by Michael Carroll.

Prelude FLNG Hook up

(posted 05 09 17)

FLNG vessel Prelude being attended by POSH Arcadia

The FLNG vessel Prelude has been anchored in position with 16 anchors each of 1,000 metres.

The links in the chains are 1 metre each and weigh a tonne.


Photo Chris Blackmore.


Prelude Tow completed

(posted 25 07 17)

The tow of the Shell FLNG Prelude has been completed and the huge facility is now on location in the Browse Basin off north west WA. The Prelude was towed down to Australia by three large ocean going towing vessels - Terasea Hawk, Terasea Osprey and Terasea Falcon.

The Prelude FLNG under tow from Korea to Australia July 2017

Vessels assisting with the anchoring process will include Pacific Hornbill, Pacific Grackle and POSH Champion.


INPEX Tow underway

(posted 28 04 17)

The long-distance, ocean tow of the Ichthys Explorer is underway. The Ichthys Explorer is the Central Processing Facility [CPF] for the INPEX Ichthys Project in the Browse Basin. The towing vessels are four Offshore Support Vessels – POSH Conquest, Terasea Eagle, Terasea Hawk and POSH Champion. A fifth towing vessel, POSH Commander is at the head of the convoy.  The vessels departed Korea on 26th April and are proceeding at 4 knots to Dili in Timor Leste. 

Picture below courtesy of The West Australian.

 Four ocean towing vessels commence the journey of the Ichthys Explorer from South Korea to Dili then to the Browse Basin

The new FPSO, the Ichthys Venturer will join the Explorer on the spread and is expected to depart the Daewoo shipyard and also be towed to the field shortly.


The Tow


The CPF and the FPSO will be towed 5,600 nautical miles to the Ichthys field in the Browse Basin, offshore Western Australia for offshore hook-up, commissioning, and start-up. The tugs involved are owned by POSH, a specialist offshore marine service contractor, primarily focusing on niche specialty services like towage and mooring installation of FPSOs, Floating Production Systems and semi-submersibles.


For the first leg of the voyage the crewing is being undertaken by POSH with their foreign crews – however on each of the towing vessels there is an Australian Chief Engineer as well as an Australian Master. In Dili there will be a crew change and full Australian crews will join the vessels.


Once on site the anchoring jobs for both vessels will be one of the biggest such operations seen in the history of the Australian Offshore Oil and Gas industry.



The Hook-Up & Commissioning


Both the CPF and the FPSO will be the subject of hook-up and commissioning by Clough with the scope of the work including preparation and execution of offshore hook-up and assistance to commissioning.


McDermott Australia will undertake the Engineering, Procurement, Supply, Construction and Installation of Umbilicals, Risers and Flowlines.


Neither the Ichthys Explorer nor the Ichthys Venturer has any means of propulsion although both are on the AMSA register under the Australian Flag and home ported in Fremantle. Both will be anchored-up on location and are expected to remain there for 40 years.



INPEX Agreement signed

On 24th January in Perth AIMPE, AMOU and MUA representatives gathered with Inpex representatives for the ceremonial signing of the arrangements agreed in late 2016 to cover the maritime aspects of the Ichthys Project. Pictured are the five signatories from left to right: Chris Cain [President MUA], Terry Snee [President AIMPE], Tim Higgs [President AMOU] Hitoshi Okawu [Director, Inpex] and Louis Bon [Managing Director, Ichthys Project].

INPEX signing ceremony Perth WA 24th January 2017

What is the Inpex Agreement?

  1. INPEX, the developer and operator of the large-scale Ichthys LNG Project, has signed an arrangement with Australia’s three maritime unions covering the next decade of operations.  Included in the arrangement are commitments towards the training of maritime employees, the implementation of a diversity program, and the promotion of Australian crews on Project support vessels (to the extent practicable and permissible by law).  These commitments are aimed at retaining and enhancing the skills and experience of Australian maritime workers in the LNG sector.
  2. A key feature of the arrangement is an enhanced dispute settlement process, which creates a proactive framework for the settling of disputes, and will have in place a dedicated conciliator for that purpose.  The arrangement also seeks to provide certainty of operations through the dispute settlement scheme.
  3. The focus of the dispute settlement process is on conciliation as the primary method for resolving disputes.  The process facilitates discussions between the parties to a dispute in an effort to resolve matters constructively and expeditiously.
  4. The arrangement is consistent with, and reflects, the intent of the Fair Work Act, in that it supports and promotes cooperative and productive workplace relations that will proactively prevent disputes.
  5. The arrangement also includes principles whereby:

(a)         The parties are committed to fostering a solution-based work environment, underpinned by mutual respect and desired behaviours by all parties.

(b)        INPEX encourages and supports employers and prospective employers of maritime employees on the Project to implement safe workplace programs and frameworks, and high standards of HR/IR practices.

(c)         The maritime unions recognise the importance of proactive communication and constructive engagement with all employers of maritime employees on the Project.

The arrangement has been negotiated by the parties with a framework that will have it in place until 2030.  

New LNG Powered Offshore Vessel (posted 16 01 17)

AIMPE WA Branch Secretary Chris Blackmore inspected the Platform Support Vessel Siem Thiima in Dampier on Sunday the 8th January 2017. The PSV Siem Thiima is on charter to Woodside for an initial period of 5 years. The arrival of this LNG powered PSV follows on the arrival in December of the LNG powered Searoad Mersey II into Devonport for the Bass Strait. Siem Thiima has already commence operating on LNG while the Searoad Mersey II is operating on diesel until the delivery of the LNG road tankers allows it to switch to its intended long term primary fuel - LNG. These two vessels represent a new chapter in the Australian maritime industry. After over 25 years of exporting LNG to Japan and elsewhere on LNG fueled tankers, the Australian industry is finally starting to make use of LNG fuel for local maritime operations.

Here is Chris Blackmore's report on the inspection that he carried out in King Bay, WA.

New LNG powered PSV Siem Thiima alongside, King Bay WA

SIEM THIIMA Alongside in Dampier

The Ship is Brand New having been built in Gdansk, Poland. The Vessel is a VS 4411 DF PSV and is DP Class 2 & has a 5 Year Contract with Woodside.  It will Primarily be used for the carriage of Potable water, Diesel Fuel, Glycol, 8 Reefers and Dry Cargo to the various Offshore Facilities.

The Engineer Manning is 4 Engineer Officers, C/E, 1/E,2/E and an ETO.

The Engine Room Team, from left to right, we have James Gleave  ETO,    Geoff Stone oncoming  C/E,   Kennny Anderson 2/E,    Wayne Hanson offgoing C/E and Matthew Porrit 1/E.

It was immediately evident that this Ship was of a Very High Standard and Quality.    Accommodation, Wheelhouse, Mess Rooms, Recreation Rooms, Galley, Laundry etc were all first class.

I spent the Bulk of my 6 hours on Board in the Engine Room and Control Room and concentrated my efforts on the LNG Dual Fuel System and the Associated Supporting Machinery and Systems.

The ECR was on the Main Deck and was fitted with Port Holes and Natural Light, there was a well Organized Library of Technical Manuals. The Engineers were Busy Re-Fueling  500,000 litres of Diesel,  but still managed to assist me as the Bunkering was conducted entirely from the Control Room and appeared to be a fairly simple operation. Bunkers could also be managed from the Wheelhouse.

The Offgoing Chief Engineer, Wayne Hanson was staying behind an extra day or two as the Ship had just arrived after a 40 Plus day Voyage from Europe to Dampier and had just Completed the 1st Crew Change. The other Chief Engineer , Geoff Stone  explained, that they had received excellent Training from SIEM, courses on the Dual Fuel System, Handling LNG and some Major Wartsila maintenance procedures, including cylinder head removal and piston overhauling for both types of Wartsila engines. Also bunkering LNG procedures. The Wartsila Training was conducted in FINLAND & the LNG Training was in NORWAY.

Chief Engineer Wayne Hanson managing the Fuel Loading from the ECR.

Siem had spared no Expense as far as Spare Parts were Concerned, there was an abundant Supply of Everything Needed. More Cupboards were needed.

The Engineers  had Also spent 7 weeks in the Shipyard at Gdansk, standing by during the Final stages of the Building. There were 3 Sea trials in the Baltic, before departure and a FMEA was Conducted as Required for DP 2 Certification.

The Engine Room Plant is Powered by 4 Wartsila Engines, a Father & Son arrangement, with 2 off:  W6L34DF @ 2500KW and 2 Off: W8L20DF @ 1300 KW. As the Siem Thiima is DP Class 2, All the Machinery was Duplicated and had a Split Switchboard as Required.

One of the smaller Wartsila engines W8L20DF

Shot of one of the smaller W8L20DF engines

The Thiima is a very interesting  Design, a New Concept with New Technologies. It is very Clear that Dual Fuel is the Future. It was designed to operate on 100% Gas. The LNG is stored in a special Tank, which occupies 230 cubic meters.

The Voyage from Poland to Dampier was via Amsterdam,  Bunkers were taken for the Voyage, unfortunately getting some badly, water contaminated Diesel Fuel. This resulted having to change out some Injectors on Route. There were the inevitable teething Problems and They were unable to run on LNG for long periods as the Engines would sense a Problem and Instantly Revert back to Diesel Fuel.

A Wartsila Specialist was on Board, working on the Problem, which appeared to be more of a fine tuning nature, rather than anything Faulty. The Entire System had been set up for the European Climate and Not for North West Australia. Interestingly, the Norwegian Siem Master had just arrived from Norway and at minus 14 Degrees Centigrade in OSLO to Dampier at Plus 36 Degrees, which is 50 Degrees C  warmer! I suspect that The Electronic Systems had been designed for Europe and needed to be re-tuned to our Climate.

Because the Ship is designed to Run Primarily on LNG, the Diesel Daily service Tanks are very Small. It is a DP 2 Requirement that everything is duplicated, so there were 2 Settling Tanks, 4 Service Tanks and 2 Spill Tanks. Daily Consumption was approx 15/16 cubes @ 12 Knots.    Diesel Fuel  consumption, when running on LNG was only approximately 100 Litres per day per Engine.

The Engine Room had a Bank of Nitrogen Cylinders., which are used for Purging Bunker Lines, it also had the ability too generate it's own Nitrogen and fill the Cylinders. These are required during Bunker Operations to purge the Lines.

The Workshop was a bit pokey, but well ventilated, well lit and air conditioned.

There was Air Conditioning in the Propulsion Room and Bow Thruster Room.

There was a Hospital on Board, Fully Equipped for Emergencies and also a Mortuary Room, for 30 Bodies in the Event of a major Disaster.

I have Written some words on the Dual Fuel Process to assist those, who have little or No Experience of LNG Dual Fuel as very soon ALL Ships will be DF to comply with the IMO Tier 111 Environmental Legislation. Liquefied Natural Gas has clearly emerged as the Marine Fuel of the Future, it offers the most cost effective solution for Green Shipping. Wartsila have become the World Leaders of Marine LNG Applications, both in terms of storage, supply & distribution.

Chris Blackmore

W.A. Branch Secretary



Dual Fuel system (posted 16 01 17)

The Dual Fuel Engine, when running on Gas utilizes a lean burn combustion process. The Gas is mixed with the air, before the intake stroke'. After Compression, the Gas/Air mixture is ignited by a small amount of Pilot Fuel.

This Pilot Fuel is Pressurized & fed into the Cylinders by a Common rail Fuel System. The Combustion is rapid.    After the Power Stroke, the exhaust Valves open and the Cylinder is emptied. The Inlet Valves open when the exhaust valves close. The Process then starts again. This is more like

The OTTO Cycle, like a car, but instead of a spark plug, there is small Pilot Diesel injection.

The Dual Fuel Engine is also capable of running on Diesel alone and Runs as a Normal, Conventional Diesel Engine with Camshaft operated Fuel Pumps. This is the Back up System and should any Fault be Detected with the Gas System, the Engine will Instantly revert back to Diesel Operation. The Fuel Pumps run in the Process and work as a Standby.

Gas Detection Panel

 This a Methane & LNG Leak Detection Panel

The Advantages of the Dual Fuel System are a Much Cleaner Combustion with 25-30% lower Carbon Dioxide Emissions thanks to a low Carbon to Hydrogen Ratio Fuel. 85% Lower NOX with the Leaner Burn Concept A High Air to Fuel Ratio No SOX Emissions, Sulphur is removed from the fuel when liquefied.Very Low Particulate Emissions, No Visible Smoke and No Sludge Deposits.

Dual Fuel Systems are also being used on Large Slow Speed Diesel Engines and Scavenge Spaces are found to be in very Clean Condition with very little sludge and carbon present.

The Engines are always started on Diesel and Shutdown on Diesel, The Transition from Diesel to LNG takes about 2 or 3 Minutes to complete and when running on the OTTO Cycle it is Noticeably quieter with No Diesel "Knock"

As Mentioned Before, with any Gas Fault the Engine automatically & Instantly trips back  to MDO.

There are of Course some Disadvantages, The LNG Storage Tank takes up a Massive amount of Space and all the Pipework Involved must be of High Quality Stainless Steel as Ordinary Carbon Steel would become extremely Brittle with the minus 161 Degrees Temperature and Fail. All the Pipework must be sloped and fitted in such a way, that pockets of LNG cannot be trapped or accumulate.

The Space in which the Tank is situated, must be well ventilated with 30 Complete Air Changes per Hour. This Space must be well fitted with a Gas detection Alarm System.

Bunkering LNG Requires Special training, There is a Basic & Advanced LNG Safety Course and a Bunkering Course. Completion of these Courses will give you an Endorsement in your COC.

 Prior to LNG Bunkering, there would be a Risk Assessment and Toolbox Meeting. A check List would be run through. Radios must be Intrinsically Safe. Water Curtains would be set up.

As Mentioned LNG Causes Brittlement, so all fittings & Pipework must be of Stainless Steel and Double Lined/Skinned.

Full PPE with respirators, Cryogenic Aprons and Special Gloves. The Bunker truck has to be earthed to the Ship to Eliminate static Electricity. Dry Break Coupling are to be used.

The Hose and Pipework need to be Purged with Nitrogen both Before and after Bunkers. Everything must be Intrinsically Safe.Once the Truck is Hooked up, Bunkering is Automatic.

Bottles of nitrogen for purging the fuel lines

Nitrogen Storage Cylinder Banks, also the Nitrogen Generator.

All in All, This Ship was simply First Class, if I were to pick a Fault, it would be that the Machinery Spaces are somewhat Cramped, there is a lot of Machinery and System Pipework and not so much Free Space. This is of course mostly due to the LNG Storage Tank, (the Gas Pill.) which occupies a massive amount  of Space. (230 Cubic Meters.) Because the Engine Room is small and Compact, Bump Hats are required. (This is a problem that Ro Ro Ferries don't have as they drive the LNG Trucks on board, secure them and Bunker from them.)

The Quality of the Furnishing, Accommodation, lighting, Safety Signage, abundance of Fire Fighting Equipment was excellent  and the Laundry was all MIELE Machines and well organized.

There will be a Naming ceremony in Fremantle on the 20th February, the word THIIMA means vessel that floats upon the water in one of the Aboriginal Languages.

This is a great Ship and it was a real Pleasure to inspect and the Ship's Crew and SIEM Staff were extremely Helpful.

I would strongly recommend that all Marine Engineers familiarize themselves with the Wartsila Dual Fuel System because From now on, All new Ships will be Like this. LNG is Clearly the Marine Fuel of the Future.


Chris Blackmore

W.A. Branch Secretary



Attention AOS members

(posted 06 09 16)

Assistant Federal Secretary Andrew Williamson has circulated advice to members employed by AOS who will be voting on a new EA between 1200 hours WST on 7th September and 1600 hours WST on 9th September. The letter can be viewed in the Members Area.

Enterprise Agreement negotiations

Members are advised to vote NO in the upcoming ballots for their offshore enterprise agreements. Please see Andrew Williamsons recommendation available here: Offshore Ballot recommendation Nov 2015 Offshore Ballot recommendation Nov 2015 (196.42 KB)

More information relating to the five operators going to ballot is available here:

Offshore Ballots information Maersk, Mermaid, Swire, Skilled & Programmed Offshore Ballots information Maersk, Mermaid, Swire, Skilled & Programmed (206.40 KB)

The AMOU also recommends a NO vote for these 5 offshore EAs up for ballot. AMOU WA secretary

Dan Pearson has provided the following which he has circulated to his members. AMOU says vote NO AMOU says vote NO (21.89 KB)




Click on individual image to examine

Enterprise Agreement negotiation history

AIMPE began negotiations late last year (2012) for a process to enable bargaining to begin for renewal of our offshore oil & gas enterprise agreements. We began bargaining with Farstad & Programmed Total Marine Services in Q1 this year and with Mermaid in Q2. Reports of these meetings can be viewed here: Offshore oil & gas meetings Offshore oil & gas meetings  (410.62 KB):

This is the report of the most recent Farstad meeting. It will be incorporated into the main document in due course.

Farstad EBA Meeting#4 Melbourne, 10, May, 2013

Attendees:  Mark Lesley (Far Sound), Chris Evans (Far Stream), Ben Anderson (Far Supplier), Ben Muller (Lady Malinda), Henning Christiansen, Michael Carroll, Nathan Niven (AIMPE), Jan Thomson, Dan Pearson, Dick Lowry, Patrick O’ Sullivan  (AMOU), Peter Barrow,  Bob Venema (Farstad) Amanda Cochrane (AMMA/Farstad).

Meeting opened at 10am with the company.

First item for discussion was how we could deal with the 457 visa question?  The objective here is to make the employment of a 457 visa holder over an Australian employee the least attractive option.

DP: for the (AMOU) suggested the following: A 457 visa holder can only take up employment in Australia on a fulltime basis. Australian and NZ’s should be entitled to the same entitlements as s.457 visa holders.

Therefore, all jobs in the offshore industry will be offered to Australian and New Zealand residents on a fulltime basis as the default employment mechanism.  With the employee having the option to take the position on a casual basis.

HC: for (AIMPE) said that on first blush hearing, the proposal had considerable merit in putting the Australian employee on the same non disadvantage footing as a 457 visa holder.

PB: for (Farstad) said that the company remained committed to a fulltime workforce. And will comply with the law on visas. 

BV:  for (Farstad) said that the company needed to look at the detail

AMOU and AIMPE to refine the wording.

The meeting then moved on to talk about redundancy and its provisions. 

The combined position of the AIMPE and AMOU is the following; in the event of redundancy the following provisions will apply;

1.         Non Australian and New Zealand residents (first)

2.         Casuals

3.         Volunteer redundancy

4.         Last on-First off

The company to consider the above.


AIMPE has a particular claim on this issue re numbers of trainees i.e. 1:4 (that is 1 trainee for every 4 employees). AMOU have a claim before the company that for every 457 visa holder employed, the company will put the equivalent of 100% of that wage will go into a training fund.

PB: informed the meeting that the company was heavily committed to the Maritime Development Authority. 

Jurisdictional issues:

PB: informed the meeting that the company’s interim legal advice is that because the majority of the crew are Australian and Farstad control the safety management system of the vessel Seacare will prevail. 

The meeting then circulated back to the question of training.

AIMPE has made its position on training in (all its forms) clear from the outset of these negotiations

This was now meeting #4 with the company in which they have refused to alter their position one inch. Their position being, as annunciate by PB; “we will not commit to any form of training quota. We train for Farstad not the industry.  We train while the rest of the industry does 2x0 which is zero in this regard….”

HC replied that the current number of 1:14 was woefully inadequate and did nothing to address the training shortfalls across the Australian marine engineering profession... But that the company had made this point four times now so obviously AIMPE has to take the training message to the rest of the industry first and the return to the negotiation table with Farstad one the rest of the industry had “got it.”

The meeting ended shortly after this.

Next meeting with the company: TBC.   

Offshore Resources Activity Amendment

Members will be aware of the ongoing struggle in the offshore resources sector relating to foreign employment and visa issues on our continental shelf.

The decision in the Allseas case in 2012 meant that there was a loophole in Australia's migration laws. Foreign workers on vessels not attached to the seabed were deemed not to be covered by the Migration Act.

The Gillard Government drafted legislation to fix the problem - the Offshore Resources Activities Bill. However AIMPE warned the then Minister, Mr Brendan O'Connor, that giving the Minister power to make a Determination varying the application of the ORA Amendment was unnecessary and should be removed. The Minister ignored AIMPE advice.

The ORA came into force in 2013 but ever since there has been a struggle over successive actions by L-NP Ministers in the Abbott and Turnbull Governments to frustrate the intention of the ORA by issuing Regulations and Determinations. AIMPE lobbied successfully in 2014 to "disallow" Assistant Minister Cash's first Regulation. However the very next day Assistant Minister Cash issued a Determiniation to achieve the same objective - foreign workers on vessels in the oil and gas sector without any visas. Subsequently there have been a series of legal actions taken to overturn the Coalition Government Determinations.


(posted 02 09 16)

The latest development in the ORA saga is that the High Court has found that the Determination made by Minister Dutton in late 2015 is invalid. A summary of the High Court decision can be seen below. This is a very good result and deserves congratulations. The MUA and AMOU progressed this litigation.

However the power still exists in the ORA for the Minister to make a Determination providing exemptions or exceptions to the application of the Migration Act as amended. On the reasoning of the High Court, the Minister could still find a way to make a new Determination although it would have to be more limited. The Ministerial power to make Determination giving exceptions should be repealed.

But s457s are still allowed in Offshore

What is more problematic however is that other provisions of the Migration Act will still allow the Immigration Department to issue new s457 visas to Ships Engineers [and the Ships Masters and Ships Officers].

For Engineers and Deck Officers the win in the High Court is not the end of the problem. Our problem remains that the s457 visas can still be issued. 100 new s457 visas were issued for Ships Engineers in 2015-16. It is for this reason that AIMPE is concentrating efforts on having the classification of Ships Engineer removed from the Skilled Occupations List [SOL] and the Consolidated Skilled Occupations List [CSOL].

Until the Ships Engineer classification is removed from both the SOL and the CSOL, vessel operators will be able to apply for and be granted s457 visas for foreign Engineers to come into Australia and work for up to 4 years. This remains an ongoing issue for AIMPE members.

What can members do?

AIMPE members can write to their local Federal MP – the lists are available in the Latest News section devoted to the s457 campaign.

Any member who is lucky enough to get a response from their MP should follow up with a request for a face to face meeting with their MP. The squeaky wheel gets the oil!



Background materials

Files relating to the Senate disallowance and Ministerial overide are here ministerial_determination_over_rides_senate_2.pdf ministerial_determination_over_rides_senate_2.pdf  (445.26 KB)