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This text is based on an anecdote what I've heard from a fellow engineer and project manager. I respect him a lot not only for this story but for his magic way to combine engineering and project management.
I decided to use this story because the reality needs sometime anecdotes in order to be understood.
An anecdote coming from offshore industry tells us that a group of engineers (designers, manufacturers, end users, certification bodies and authorities) had a big meeting for deciding how a car could match the requirements if a well-recognized airplanes code.
Why the airplane code was requested to be applied and, maybe more important, who requested the use of the airplane code, it was not so clear. But all engineers in this meeting have been 100% sure – the airplane code shall be used because finally the car has so many things in common with an airplane … it has wheels and engine and carry people and it is mainly built from metal… has a pilot as well and a windscreen at front… place for luggage…
However, it was a persistent feeling in the room that something it is not exactly the same for the car as for the airplane … something was missing from picture…when suddenly one engineer jumped from his place, opened car’s doors and stated loudly:
“Look! Now have wings like an airplane! Now looks right!”
I have to confess that I felt relieved when I’ve heard this anecdote first time. Relieved that I am not the only one explaining people that matching the square peg of the functions and operations modes of new offshore equipment with the round holes of the actually available product codes is not such a great thing to do…
Hopefully these cases are not exactly daily cases but become more and more often as the result of the development of offshore works beyond oil & gas.
My final point here is that the spirit of the well proved safety principles and good practices deeply built in the existing codes and good practices should be preserved and continued but the offshore industry should establish sound requirements for all life stages of the offshore equipment what shall account the specific functions and tasks of the equipment rather than rigidly forcing the text compliance with the existing codes.
With other words we should recognize that a car is a car and an airplane is an airplane and the fact that the main characteristic what these two magnificent piece of equipment have in common is the safety!