| Written by Michal Wozniakowski-Zehenter

Hydrocarbons are processed and stored on floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) units offshore. These sophisticated, floating industrial complexes with high-tech equipment and systems make it hard for them to do complex offshore production tasks. They're exposed to unpredictable weather and hurricanes because they're located in the sea. A specialised Emergency Response Team is even more important when there are dangerous substances around. Their presence is crucial not just for crew safety but also for protecting the environment. In crises, the ERT has experts trained to act fast and efficiently. So what kind of emergency response team jobs are out there?
Ermergency Response Team Jobs

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Emergency Response Team Jobs - Incident Commander

Let’s start with the boss, shall we? Being an Incident Commander requires someone who knows all about FPSO operations, including the technical, safety, and environmental aspects, and emergency management principles. In this role, you determine the severity and required response to any emergency, whether it's a fire, medical emergency, or chemical spill. The Incident Commander mobilizes teams and allocates resources efficiently based on the assessment. Coordinating different ERT members is part of this role to make sure everyone's doing their job in sync. Besides making sure information gets passed along clearly and accurately between the crew of the ERT and FPSO, this person makes sure emergency services outside too. When the Incident Commander is under pressure, their decisions can have a huge impact on the safety of the crew and the integrity of the FPSO (learn about emergency mustering). If you want to improve emergency procedures, debriefing and analysis are essential. Strong leaders guide and inspire their teams during crises; they can solve problems quickly, they can communicate well, they can coordinate information, and they can make informed decisions under pressure.


Firefighting Team

A firefighting team is key to the safety and integrity of an FPSO and its crew. They're skilled at dealing with all kinds of fire scenarios, particularly hydrocarbon fires, a big risk in the oil and gas industry. It's their responsibility to make sure the equipment is up to date and ready for action, not just firefighting. The team has to understand fire hazards and the complexities of dealing with fires at sea, where escape options and resources are limited. Besides emergency response, they're also doing prevention. Drills and training are done regularly, so they can improve their skills and teach FPSO crews about fire safety. Not only does this prevent fire incidents, but it also prepares the crew for emergency responses (e.g. doing drills for e-mustering). For the crew's safety both now and long term, the Firefighting Team is vital. Fire management capabilities and constant vigilance are essential to the FPSO's overall safety culture and emergency response framework.


Medical Team

It's the first thing the Medical Response Team does in an emergency, whether it's minor injuries or potentially life-threatening conditions. In addition to administering first aid, they're also responsible for performing emergency medical procedures, so they can get evacuated if necessary. To avoid injuries getting worse, the team needs to intervene quickly and efficiently. Also, the Medical Response Team takes care of the FPSO's medical facilities, making sure they're all in good working order so they don't have to deal with emergencies. Regular health checks and first aid training are also done by the team, which keeps the crew safe and healthy. Knowing the team is there in case of an emergency gives the crew a sense of security. It's their emergency medicine skills, as well as their ability to handle the pressures of the offshore environment, that makes them so important to the ERT. In addition to responding to emergencies, the Medical Response Team also provides preventative care so that the crew stays healthy and safe.


Hazardous Material Specialist

A Hazardous Material Specialist (HAZMAT) is essential if a hazardous material incident occurs on an FPSO. These trained professionals can handle chemical spills, leaks, and other risks associated with offshore oil and gas operations, making sure crews are safe and the marine environment is protected. Besides identifying hazardous materials, these specialists also use control measures to keep people and the environment safe. A HAZMAT Specialist also cleans up and disposes of hazardous materials after safely removing these substances. They use specialized equipment and protocols to do this. A  HAZMAT  Specialist is not just responsible for emergencies. He or she also crafts and executes safety procedures. They train and drill the crew so they know what to do if anything happens. As a result, emergencies are less likely and they're better prepared to respond. HAZMAT Specialists are essential to FPSO Emergency Response Teams because they know about chemicals, environmental hazards, and risk management. Their expertise with hazardous material incidents affects FPSO safety and operational integrity.


Emergency Response Team Jobs - Search & Rescue

A Search and Rescue Operator is a crew who's been trained to conduct search and rescue operations offshore. As crew members are in imminent danger during emergencies like a man overboard or a structural failure, these operatives are essential. They are trained in maritime rescue operations, so they know what to do. You'll need to be able to navigate in the complex and often dangerous offshore environment, where things change a lot. In severe emergencies, they need to coordinate evacuations or search for overboard personnel quickly and efficiently, so their training teaches them how to do it. Aside from rescue skills, SAR operators are also good at providing initial medical care. As a result, rescued individuals can get stabilised until they get proper medical care. When an incident occurs, their role bridges the gap between comprehensive medical care and the immediate aftermath, making their quick response critical. Drills and exercises simulated emergency scenarios are routine parts of SAR Operations. They need these exercises to stay sharp and be prepared for search and rescue in real life. In addition to educating the rest of the crew, they also teach emergency response procedures and survival techniques, which further improves the safety culture on board. SAR operators are crucial to making sure all the crew on an FPSO is safe and secure. Emergency response capabilities of the FPSO are dependent on their ability to respond rapidly and effectively in emergency situations, especially when lives are at stake (see also: The emergency response drill).


Environmental Protection Officer

Keeping the marine environment clean is the job of an Environmental Protection Officer. In particular, they make sure environmental laws are followed and operations don't impact the environment when oil and gas activities occur, particularly in emergencies. In case of oil spills or gas leaks, these officers are on call. To make sure the environment doesn't get harmed, these officers assess the situation, implement containment and remediation strategies, and oversee the clean-up. They're also active in environmental stewardship on the FPSO. They also develop policies and practices, make sure operations follow environmental standards, and do impact assessments. They also train the crew about environmental safety practices. Their collaboration with regulators goes beyond that. They keep up with current environmental laws and incorporate cutting-edge conservation techniques. The FPSO can't function without the EPA. By emphasizing responsible operation in the marine environment, they reduce the ecological impact of offshore oil and gas extraction.



What does FPSO do?

Floating Production, Storage, and Offloading (FPSO) units are versatile, ship-like vessels used in the offshore oil and gas industry, particularly in deep water or remote locations. They serve multiple functions: processing hydrocarbons extracted from subsea wells, storing the processed oil in tanks, and offloading it onto tankers for transportation. FPSOs eliminate the need for extensive seabed pipeline infrastructure, making them ideal for areas where such installations are impractical or uneconomical. Their mobility allows for easy relocation, making them a cost-effective option for exploiting oil fields that may not be viable for long-term operations or permanent infrastructure. This flexibility also facilitates their reuse in different oil fields, enhancing their operational efficiency.

How big is the biggest FPSO?

At 220,000 tonnes and having a storage capacity of 2.3 million barrels, the Egina FPSO holds the title of the world's largest in terms of capacity. This $3 billion vessel, managed by TotalEnergies, measures 330 meters in length, 61 meters in width, and 34 meters in height. It is presently anchored at the Egina oil field, located 200 kilometres from Nigeria's coastline.



An FPSO's Emergency Response Team is only as effective as its multidisciplinary members, each with their own specialized skills. When dealing with offshore emergencies, coordination is essential since different types of crises require multiple experts to respond at the same time (see also: emergency response kit for FPSOs). For example, during a fire emergency, the firefighting team must control the fire, the medical response team must deal with any injuries that result, and the communication officers need to keep things moving internally and with the outside world. An integrated operation means team members have to know not just what their own roles are but also how they work together. To foster cohesive teamwork, regular training exercises and emergency drills (electronic mustering, for instance) are essential. Team members get a better understanding of other specialities through these simulations, fostering a unified response strategy. This practice enhances efficiency and safety not just in emergency scenarios but in everyday operations, too. Additionally, the multidisciplinary approach is great for problem-solving in general. In complex and high-pressure situations, more innovative and effective strategies emerge when diverse perspectives and expertise converge. This collaborative effort plays a big role in how successful an FPSO's emergency response is and how safe its operations are. In emergencies, the team's proficiency and coordination ensure robust, efficient, and effective responses, protecting the crew, the environment, and the ship.

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