Safe landings on offshore helidecks

Wood & Douglas was called in to supply a bespoke wireless solution when a remote offshore helideck fire suppression system was needed in the Middle East

Safe landings on offshore helidecks

Tyco Fire & Integrated Solutions is the world leader in electronic security and fire protection, working with more than seven million customers in over 50 nations. This includes 80% of commercial vessels at sea and some of the world’s largest mining and petrochemical operations.
These operations rely on Tyco products and services to prevent fires, safeguard fire fighters, and protect people and property through the application of fire suppressant systems and safe crew refuges. The operators of DOL-1 and DOL-2, offshore oil drilling platforms located off the coast of Qatar in the Middle East, assigned the company to design and install the latest foam fire suppressant systems for the helideck.

Aware of the importance of ensuring helicopter access to the platform, especially for crew rescue operations, a remote command and control function for a fire suppression system was conceived. This system would need to operate from a control room on the platform, but also offer the option to hand off control to helicopters or service vessels which may be better positioned to assess risk from fire when approaching the helideck.

The helideck platform is located above the main rig platform and has no operational connections to the rest of the platform. A bespoke wireless solution was required and Tyco Fire & Integrated Solutions turned to the expertise of specialist Wood & Douglas. 

As many of the required control elements would not be centrally located, Wood & Douglas proposed a secure narrowband radio network with a base station and distributed control system (DCS). The control room base station links to the platform DCS, which incorporates a further four portable terminals. These can then be used from both helicopter and surface vessels at a range of up to 1,000 metres.  

Deploying PACSNET 3500

To create the radio system, Wood & Douglas deployed PACSNET 3500, which offers a programmable controller that can be interfaced with Low Power Radio solutions to enable telemetry operation for data acquisition, process control and monitoring. The electronics were then built by Wood & Douglas into ATEX approved enclosures for use in hazardous areas.

Due to the stringent requirements of the installation, Wood & Douglas engineers worked closely with Tyco Fire & Integrated Solutions, arranging factory acceptance tests for the customer and providing engineers to support the installation on the two platforms.

The platforms now boast a fully operational DCS. The fire suppression system is directly controlled via the radio network from the control centre, though approaching helicopters or service vessels with  good observation may also remotely activate the fire suppressant system prior to touching down.

In this way, the platform meets the needs for safer operations as helicopters approach the platform in critical maintenance periods, when the platform may even be operating in unmanned mode.

Written by Wireless magazine
Wireless magazine

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