Exploration in the Arctic and other Environmentally Sensitive Sea Areas (ESSA) must be performed responsibly and to the highest possible standard. Investing in specialized vessel design, acquisition technologies, operational procedures, accreditations and certifications, Polarcus has an unparalleled capability to operate safely in Arctic waters. Today, Polarcus owns and operates the youngest, most uniform and highest ICE-rated seismic fleet.
Polar Code Ready
The Polar Code, an international code for ships operating in Polar waters, came into force in 2017. It is the first ever internationally agreed mandatory safety and environmental rules for ships in the Polar Regions. It highlights the hazards of operating in Polar Regions and it specifically addresses the vessel, the personnel, and the operating profile to account for the harsh, remote, and sensitive areas.
The Polarcus Arctic fleet is IMO Polar Code compliant and is the highest Polar Class rated seismic fleet in the world.
To complement our Arctic vessel capabilities, Polarcus is the only seismic contractor in the industry to have DNV GL accredited operating procedures specific to the Arctic. This combination is fundamental to ensuring the safety of the operation and the environment.
From the beginning, Polarcus has applied an approach to towed streamer operations based upon the employment of a procedural framework to integrate all elements of the Maritime and Seismic components including:
- Maximizing geophysical flexibility
- Minimizing the environmental footprint
- Providing fit-for-purpose platforms enabling safe and efficient seismic operations
In short, this refers to the proper alignment of our people, vessels, procedures, and applied technologies within a plan focused on providing high quality 3D seismic data in the safest and most cost effective manner when working in harsh environments and remote locations.
Performing safe and effective towed streamer 3D surveys in the remote Arctic presents many challenges, such as:
- Ensuring safe vessel operations in harsh environmental conditions and varied ice conditions
- Ensuring optimum environmental protection for the sensitive Arctic ecosystems
- Ensuring “fail-safe” on-site medical treatment and evacuation plans
Towed streamer seismic operations in glacial or sea ice conditions requires specific operating procedures and protocols to ensure safe and efficient acquisition. Ice Management is critical for many areas of the operation including:
- Anti-icing: preventing ice build-up on the ship
- De-icing: removal of built-up ice
- Ice navigation: vessel movement in respect to ice hazards
- Detection, monitoring, tracking
- Intervention to reduce ice risk
- Coordinated support vessel involvement
Ice navigation for seismic acquisition requires a comprehensive Ice Management Plan developed for the specific operating environment and in close coordination with all stakeholders. It is the characteristics of the ice regime that will define the overall strategy. That is, whether an Intervention (Active) or Avoidance (Passive) strategy will prevail. The key principles of a successful Ice Management Plan:
- Well defined with clear lines of responsibilities and threat response protocols
- Timely receipt of reconnaissance information
- Calibrating satellite observations with visual observations made onboard the vessels
- Flexibility to meet any changes in acquisition priorities
Above all, preparation is the key and the plan must be dynamic to account for any changes in the area of operation.
The provision of adequate medical support in remote areas is a critical issue. Medevac by helicopter or other suitable means may or may not be available and response time may be significant. Reaching a tolerable medical emergency response in remote locations requires an integrated and upgraded approach to mitigate personal health risk to ALARP and reduce the likelihood of urgent medevac situations. A high degree of medical self-sufficiency in the operation supported by enhanced topside medical coverage made available via telemedicine capabilities provides a solution.
Remote healthcare strategy
To address the need for advanced medical care on board the vessel, a unique Remote Healthcare Strategy is designed for each project. Each strategy must address level of remoteness and emergency response capability as well as operational factors such as external communications as well as level of support available in or near the project area. Additionally, each Remote Healthcare Strategy will include provisions for:
- Appropriate fitness-to-work evaluations
- Project site medical team capabilities and qualifications
- Project site medical facilities enhanced for diagnostics and treatment