To become a dynamic positioning operator (DPO) with an advanced DP certificate, qualified to operate the station-keeping systems on ASD platform supply vessels, a mariner has to have 120 days of experience on a suitably equipped ship.
To get four months of sea time, a candidate has to find a ship to work on - but these days there aren't as many DP ships on which to ship out, mariners say. Todd Hornbeck, CEO of Hornbeck Offshore, said in August that "anyone calling for a market bottom in the OSV space is very likely mistaken." The sector-leading firm has idled nearly 75 percent of its fleet, and that percentage could rise by the end of the year. Hornbeck called on his competitors to follow suit and further reduce the supply of actively-trading OSVs in the Gulf.
With so many DP vessels cold-stacked alongside the dock, sea time is getting hard to come by, according to Fort Lauderdale-based training provider Maritime Professional Training (MPT).
"Holding station alongside a rig or FPSO is no joke. Being able to safely conduct operations is key and it is becoming increasingly difficult for many mariners to obtain the necessary experience right now," says Captain Scott Field, MPT simulation facility manager.
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