TEN YEARS AGO, there was no regulatory body for the operation of jack-up barges or “self-elevating platforms”. That’s when our Honorary President and founding Chairman Mr John Howard held the first meeting of the International Jack-up Barge Operators Association (IJUBOA) in Bristol with a mission “to set, sustain and promote standards for the safe and effective operation of self-elevating platforms throughout the world”. He felt passionately that there should be some sort of qualification so people could be sure that those operating the barge knew what they were doing. There were around 40 issues – including, hydraulics, mechanics and man-management – that needed clarification. Following on from that initial meeting, we have now evolved into an Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) accredited training association, recognised by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Marine and Coastguard agency (MCA) and have numerous full, associate and honorary members.
The certificated training courses that we have introduced and manage are not mandatory but the view is that these will be seen as the worldwide standard in the training of operators and managers from self elevating platforms and lift ships through to non-propelled construction jack ups and barges. Over time, we hope they will become an industry requirement. If a barge has an accident but hasn’t operated to best standards, people should and will ask questions. We want barges all over the world to operate and comply with these standards, that is our objective. From an operator’s point of view, that creates a level playing field, as well as ensuring the safety of our staff and for our clients.
We want to create a credited career path for barge operators, to improve safety and training and to continue to build the association to ensure it encompasses barges worldwide in many different legislative authorities. We have just passed the final external accreditation stage of the IJUBOA Award in Jack Up Barge Operations. The accreditation of this IJUBOA course for Barge Masters is a very positive step for the jack up barge industry, because for too long there has been no accredited training standard for the highly skilled and complex operation of jack up barges and lift ships. The accreditation of this 4-day course by the Scottish Qualifications Authority, recognised by the HSE and the MCA, has established a worldwide standard in the training of Barge Masters, from sesv/lift ships through to non-propelled construction jack ups. The course is run in conjunction with STC b.v Nautical Training College in Rotterdam.
The other popular course on offer through IJUBOA is the jack up barge Manager’s Course. This three day course is aimed specifically at project/site managers involved in the either the procurement or the management of jack-up barges on live sites, this course takes place at DNV-GL offices in London.