[QUOTE=anchorman;191826]I doubt seriously he meant 4 months of land base courses are a stand alone qualifier. You need to have years of experience to even qualify for the class, and then need the nod from management before a promotion in that position.[/QUOTE]
That is right, nobody becomes OIM directly from secondary school.
You need to already be a Master Mariner, holding an unlimited ticket and with experience from MODUs in lower positions, usually starting as Ballast Control Operator/DPO, then Stability Section Leader/Senior DPO, before qualifying as OIM.
Besides Stability and Mooring of MODUs the course contains knowledge of Maritime Law, Rules and Regulations pertaining specifically to MODUs, as well as Drilling Technology and Well Control.
Of cause, even if you hold the required qualification, you still need to be accepted by the Owner as capable of taking responsibility for their multi-million asset.
Powerabout; It is a different world to the one we are used to in S.E.Asia, or in the GoM for that matter.
I must admit that I never went through all this additional training myself, but I can definitely see the need for it. To step from Master of a deep sea ship, or OSV, directly onto a MODU as OIM is not easy, or advisable.
An OIM with Maritime background does not “take charge” of day-to-day drilling operation, that is the business of the Tool pusher. He don’t tell the Chief Engineer how to run his Engine Room either, but it helps to know a bit about what is going on when “the sh*t hits the fan”.
Neither should a Tool pusher with a rudimentary 5 day “OIM course”, (with multiple choice “exam” on the last day) be in charge of Marine Operations, nor have final say-so on when to prepare for a storm etc.
Even worse, when shore based Managers and Operator personnel give orders without having full understanding of an emergency situation. In three of the four worst accidents offshore it was found that the “Line of command” was not clear and that this contributed to the catastrophic outcome. (Ocean Ranger, Glomar Java Sea and Sea Quest)
In all three cases the Master was over ridden by orders from shore, or by Operator personnel on board.
The fourth one was the Alexander Kielland, which capsizing while acting as an accommodation unit at Ekofisk field in 1980.
This last one resulted in the before mentioned additional training for OIM in Norway, as well as additional stability requirements for Semisubs and changes to operating procedures, later adopted world wide.
What did the other three result in? Since the accident investigation recommended that there should be a “Maritime qualified person” in charge on MODUs, the rudimentary “OIM course” was invented to allow the Tool pushers to still be in charge.
On the small Drillship I was Captain on in 1978-80 we drilled in an areas with frequent shallow gas occurrence.
We established a system that worked fine; When drilling uncased top hole into the zone where gas was likely, the Tool pusher would be on the drill floor, I would be in the wheel house. Both of us with head phones and throat microphone connected to our VHFs. (Anybody that has been in a shallow gas blowout situation would know why)Personnel manning the winches would be briefed and all watertight doors closed.
When we hit gas it would first be diverted to blow itself out, which could take some time.
If it could not be controlled, the Tool pusher would shout to me to move off, which would be by “sling shooting”, either to Port or starboard, depending on the conditions.
That decision would be conveyed to the winch operator by blowing the horn and ringing the bells; 1 blast to Stbd., 2 blasts to Port. (We did have a remote system, but that would drop 6 chains on the seabed)
This was not a system instigated from ashore, or mandated in any written manual, but something we worked out by ourselves. No ego clash over who was “the Boss”.
This would be discussed with the Company man before spud-in, but not when the decision was made to move off. He would be observing, but not interfering.
BTW; Contrary to popular belief the Company man is not all powerful. He is there to look after the interest of the Operator and is not taking any responsibility for safety of the rig, or the crew.