Let’s face it. In this day and age energy is going to have to be harvested in more treacherous and challenging conditions. The days of oil and gas extraction from the safety of land are beginning to fall behind us yet the demand for those resources are continuing to climb. Since the demand for energy continues to climb, companies have begun to look to the open sea to harvest these resources.             This could include energy solutions such as drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico. Many nations have been building wind farms offshore also. Of course these structures require people to operate and maintain them, and moving people off and on these platforms has become a challenge for companies. They need to consider how they are going to get people from a ship to an offshore oilrig or windmill without colliding the ship against the structure or damaging the structure. Even the slightest unexpected movement could result in death of personal or damage to expensive equipment.

            That is why the Ampelmann has been developed to help companies meet these challenges in a cost effective fashion. Creating a platform that moves people from the ship to the rig isn’t simple. On land, the base of a bridge does not shift and that allows people to build a solid structure. That just simply isn’t the same on the water. The water can be calm some days or it can be extremely rough on other days. A sudden jerk or pull on the platform can be deadly.

            What the Ampelmann system does is it provides ships with an extendable platform to connect the ship to the offshore structure. First of all, the structure itself can be extended or retracted based on the distance between the ship and the offshore structure. It doesn’t require a modification of the structure either. The Ampelmann system will rest on the structure itself so that in the event that something goes wrong, the ship isn’t tied to the offshore structure. The platform is encased with side rails to keep people from falling over the edge and it’s a rough surface to prevent slipping and falling.

            On the shipside, the Ampelmann system rests on a series of hydraulic stabilizers. These stabilizers take into account ship movement and react accordingly to keep the platform level. That does two things. One thing it does it allows the platform to stay in a constant position regardless of what is happening underneath. That means a ship can load or unload people in either calm or severe weather. It also prevents the platform from slipping off of the offshore rig unexpectedly. The other thing this does is it creates a safe surface for people to walk on (Walk to Work Offshore with Ampelmann).

That’s why Ampelmann boasts that they create a system that feels just like crossing the street. The unit is easy to install on the ship. In fact it can be done in less than a day. After that, the ship is fully equipped to move people safely on or off of an offshore platform.


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    Paul de Vroom is a Dutch offshore operator. This blog is his outlet to share knowledge about the world of offshore access.


    November 2013