Boskalis jaarverslagen 2011

Environmental and safety awards on the Gorgon project, Australia

The Gorgon Project in Australia is one of Boskalis’ largest and most complicated projects. Boskalis is responsible for the design and construction of a large LNG port at Barrow Island, 50 kilometers off the coast of Western Australia. The project involves numerous challenges, not just in terms of technology and logistics but also with regard to safety and the environment

In addition to the construction of the LNG port the project involves creating a material offloading facility, 200 meters of quay walls, several mooring dolphins and a roll-on/roll-off facility. Boskalis was also assigned the logistical and project management responsibility for part of the basic infrastructure.


A priority on this project is the protection of the characteristic native animal and plant life on and around Barrow Island. The work was carried out under an extensive set of environmental requirements, ranging from the use of biodegradable hydraulic oil and waste separation, to stringent quarantine requirements. Anyone travelling to Barrow Island by air or sea was subject to strict checks to prevent non-native plant and animal species from being introduced to the island. For example, all vessels must have their hulls thoroughly cleaned, in many cases in dry dock. Every last piece of dry equipment is brought to a specially designated, demarcated area where it is taken apart and checked for the presence of any seeds, substances and small creatures. Boskalis has trained its own multidisciplinary inspection team, including biologists, to carry out these inspections.
In April 2011 Chevron presented our team with the ‘Environmental Excellence Award’ in recognition of their observations of animal life, compliance with the terms of the Environmental Management Plan, employee awareness and the implementation of mitigating measures.


Client Chevron is known for its stringent safety measures and – just like Boskalis – Chevron insists on strict incident reporting. However, the company was somewhat surprised by the degree to which Boskalis complied with this. “It seemed as if we were having a huge number of incidents, but we reported simply everything,” said Marine works manager Anne Jan Fokkema. “We explained to Chevron that it is not the figure we care about, but about what is behind each incident. Because we want to learn from it.” It is worth noting in this context that any action undertaken tends to stem from inspections rather than from incidents. Dredging works manager Frank Duijnhouwer: “It demonstrates our pro-active approach to safety.” And the client sees it too, according to Anne Jan Fokkema: “They value our approach. They know they can trust us.”

The number of serious incidents on the Gorgon Project stands at zero; with over 2,600,000 man-hours worked, there has not been a single incident resulting in absence from work. Chevron awarded a ‘Certificate of Appreciation’ in recognition of this.

Living and working at sea

One of the most remarkable aspects of the Gorgon Project is that everything takes place at sea: working and living. Apart from an airport Barrow Island has no other facilities. This means that all the staff – at the height of the project as many as 550 people – had to be housed on the accommodation vessel Finnmarken. Every day large quantities of food had to be delivered to the vessel - quite a logistical challenge, which was pieced together by the logistics department in the port town of Dampier.
It also meant that hundreds of employees had to be ferried to and from work every day by ship. Given that embarkation and transferring between vessels carries well-known risks, much attention was paid to this during the preparation. A number of smaller boats used for crew changes underwent technical modifications to make transfers as safe as possible. This remained a recurring item at the so-called toolbox meetings. And it paid off: around 450,000 safe transfers have been made during the course of the project.


The frequent cyclones in the region are a complicating factor and constant contact is maintained with the Australian meteorological institutes. Frank Duijnhouwer: “If the weather conditions force us to do so, all activities are halted. All vessels and other equipment are demobilized to a sheltered location at Dampier, around 80 nautical miles east of the project. Responsibility for coordinating this large-scale operation is shared with our colleagues at SMIT, who see to it that all the equipment is properly anchored to weather the storm. We were demobilized 12 times during the last cyclone season (2010-2011). Sometimes it lasted a few days, sometimes more than two weeks.”

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