New automatic emergency release system for offshore oil vessels reduces risk of injury, damage

4/19/2022

The long-recognized significant safety risks associated with the manual emergency release of mooring systems during FPSO tandem offloading ocean towage, heading control, positioning and decommissioning are minimized with PODx (Powered Offshore Disconnect), an innovative new automatic actuation system from Gall Thomson.

PODx minimizes the risk of personnel injury, damage to equipment and subsequent downtime by remotely releasing mooring hawser chains under full load, quickly and safely.

PODx utilizes release bolt technology that automatically separates on demand, providing an identified parting point in the mooring line. This allows it to reliably release in under 100 milliseconds. It is designed for use in a variety of offshore applications including FPSO, emergency mooring release system and Anchor Handling Vessels. PODx uses a range of block and release bolt sizes specific to the load requirement.

“PODx is a simple and robust solution to a serious safety problem that has long been recognized as presenting significant risks to personnel and capital equipment,” said Fred Boufennane, business development director at Gall Thomson. “The technology is proven with more than 22 years of field experience, and its operational costs are substantially lower than traditional alternatives. PODx can be simply retrofitted on vessels without hot work or permanent fixturing to the vessel deck from any danger zone.”

Compatible applications include the quick and safe release of FPSO or FSO tandem loading, emergency towing, FPSO heading control and station keeping. Conventional tankers can also enhance safety by employing PODx in place of, or in conjunction with, traditional chain stoppers.

In addition to its performance characteristics, PODx provides cost effectiveness for operators and with a unique design that ensures easy reset, is reusable after activation. Simple to maintain, with long maintenance-free periods, it can contribute to a reduction in insurance premium costs.

Mounted between two shackles, the PODx does not require drilling or fixing onto the vessel deck, making it simple to install or retrofit. Its compact dimensions minimize its footprint on the FPSO deck and the technology carries safety interlocks to guarantee there is no unintentional release.

“PODx is designed to significantly limit risk by removing human interface, so that mooring system release can take place quickly, safely and in a highly controlled manner and in initial use it has proved its effectiveness in many successful activations in a wide range of emergency situations,” Boufennane said. 

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