An offshore structure is defined as any structure that is fixed into position and extends above or below the surface of the sea. Some examples include man-made drilling platforms, oil wells, dredging operations, offshore wind farms, ocean data platforms or aquaculture farms.
There is a requirement that all offshore structures need to be marked. Whether they are installed as a temporary measure or more permanently, they are a potential hazard and pose a risk to the safety of mariners.
Offshore structures require adequate marking, not only once commissioned but also during the construction and decommissioning phases of the project. The completion of a risk assessment helps to identify the marking requirements for the structure and is based on the level of risk for the lifetime of the Aid to Navigation (AtoN).
In areas of high traffic density, additional services such as guard ships or temporary vessel traffic services (VTS) may also be needed to ensure operator safety.
IALA provides recommendations in guideline RO139 “The Marking of Man Made Offshore Structures”. Marking requirements include, but are not limited to:
Buoy marks are used to deliver a specific message and their use is dependent on the application. They are considered to be the traffic lights of the sea and in 1976, their use was harmonised under the IALA Maritime Buoyage System.
Navigational buoys provide a visual daytime aid to mariners and can also be used as a platform to affix additional navigational equipment. This can include marine lanterns, power supplies, batteries and MET Data equipment.
The IALA recommendation R1001 specifies the buoy colour, shape, and topmark. If fitted, it also stipulates the colour of the marine lantern and flash character. The types of buoy marks used to identify offshore structures include:
|Lateral marks||Edge of a channel||Mark channel between structures|
|Cardinal marks||Position of a hazard and direction to safe water||Direct traffic away from a structure|
|Isolated Danger mark||Hazard to shipping||Mark a new/underwater hazard|
|Safe Water marks||End of a channel||Mark safe water ahead|
|Special marks||Feature||Mark aquaculture, speed restriction, mooring area|
|Emergency Wreck mark||New wreck||Identify new wreck not yet listed in maritime documents|
The size and mooring requirements for buoys are subject to depth of water, site and tidal conditions.
Marine lanterns provide added visibility at night or during poor weather conditions. They can incorporate options for monitoring and control such as GSM, AIS, RACON and SATCOM. These added features help AtoN managers to keep track on the status of their connected AtoN devices. They can also provide real time notifications, should a critical asset be damaged or run adrift.
On a case-by-case basis, National Authorities will use the IALA Recommendation and any additional risk assessments to help identify a site’s marking requirements. It may not be essential to light every floating AtoN, but rather use them to indicate the perimeter of exclusion or safety zones.
Every fixed offshore structure under IALA recommendation RO139 should have the fitment of a AtoN light. This is also a requirement of the civil aviation industry, where separate regulations apply to the painting of the obstacle and the use of obstruction lighting.
Civil aviation regulations are region specific and relate to the type, size and height of the obstacle.
For further guidance visit the obstruction page on the Avlite website and check with your local aviation authority to determine what is required to make your structure compliant.
On behalf of Karachi Port I am pleased to acknowledge your good service and provision of the new SL-75 solar marine lanterns installed by your firm in the harbour channel at Karachi Port. The new lanterns are very feasible and useful and equipped with the latest navigational technology.
-Captain Muhammad Altaf
As one of your new distributors (Belize and Honduras, Waller Marine Belize LTD), I would like to express my congratulations to you and your people in providing reliable, dependable and inexpensive products. Formerly we were distributors for a Canadian made product but these were found to be too expensive for the market and also offered only difficult and complicated programming. Our first order of lights from you (SL15’s) took only four days to arrive from Aussie Land, when I opened the box they were still flashing. I tested a SL60 (white) for four days (steady on) before it required a recharge…remarkable. I will be placing another order shortly. Keep up the good work.
-Capt Andy Suddes
We choose to sell Sealite … this is a long story, well we treat Sealite as our own and the relationship we have developed with Jeff and Chris and their attitude and commitment towards growing Sealite to this stage is remarkable. We feel at home when talking to them and the staff of Sealite and this in turn gives us more security and strength in selling products in India.
-Aliasgar E Patrawala
I just wanted to say thank you for the light and bracket Sealite supplied to Birkenhead Marina. As the other lights (old ones) need new batteries I will be replacing them with new lights from Sealite and the same brackets that you supplied with the light we received last week … Your product is excellent and the system of setting the light is good also. Thanks again for all your trouble.