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IMCA publishes ‘Guidelines for Walk to Work Operations’

Published:  19 November, 2020

The International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) has published a new document ‘Guidelines for Walk to Work (W2W) Operations’ (IMCA M254) under the direction of IMCA’s Marine Division Management Committee.

The Marine Renewable Energy Committee formed a workgroup consisting of vessel owners, wind farm operators and motion compensated gangway manufacturers and worked alongside an oil & gas focused industry steering group consisting of representatives from leading manufacturers of motion compensated gangway systems.

The W2W guidance has been produced to help standardise the way in which vessels are intended to give personnel safe access to offshore structures both in the wind and oil & gas industries. Heave compensated gangways fitted to vessels stabilise the motions of the vessel so that people can transfer safely from a vessel to an offshore structure or platform.

The intention is that by following these guidelines field operators, project planners, vessel operators and offshore personnel will work within a standard framework therefore promoting safe W2W operations.

The guidelines include nine sections providing standard reference guidelines covering walk to work motion compensated gangway operations for the offshore energy industry. The document advises on choosing the appropriate vessel and gangway as well as operational planning which includes gangway maintenance and ensuring the competence of key personnel. The guidelines also cover emergency preparedness including details on the IMCA incident reporting scheme and how to contribute lessons learned.

There are six appendices being produced by the industry steering group that provide detailed information covering motion compensated gangways. Two are included in this initial publication, they cover emergency protocols and a framework for hazard identification, the remaining four appendices will be integrated as they become available.

Captain Andy Goldsmith (pictured), technical adviser – Marine at IMCA commented:

“Use of the new IMCA guidelines, covering W2W operations, will provide clarity for operators on how best to choose and implement the use of motion compensated gangways, improving operational efficiency and safety standards for the offshore energy sector.”

The publication is available for free download by Members via the IMCA website at

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