Global Marine Systems Limited (Global Marine), a leading provider of subsea marine engineering, has launched a new Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) training
facility designed to meet increasing demand for experienced ROV-trained personnel within the industry. The ICMA-aligned (International Maritime Contractors Association) courses and certificate of competency scheme are run from Global Marine’s Portland Depot and in the surrounding waters and combine theoretical work with practical experience. The school is open to Global Marine employees, individuals and companies throughout the industry and can be tailored to meet an organisation’s particular needs.
The first ROVs were developed in 1953 by underwater photographer Dimitri Rebikoff, who realised the benefit of a vehicle which could access areas of the ocean where it was simply impractical for humans to go.
Today, ROVs are used in a large variety of projects, ranging from the installation and burial of telecommunication cables and the construction of subsea well heads, to more innovative uses such as the means to salvage deep-water wrecks and mineral deposits. In fact, in the past, ROVs were used in 1966 to retrieve an atomic bomb located subsea near Spain, and also to save the pilots of a sunken vessel close to Ireland in 1973. They were also used to take photographs and video of the Titanic in 1986.
ROVs play a crucial role in the offshore oil industry as the means to carry out construction and manipulator’s tasks down to ever increasing depths of water in the need to exploit the world’s O&G reserves. Due to advances in technology, ROVs are becoming an increasingly cost effective alternative to other means of intervention and are being used in a range of other fields, from the naval mine counter measures to academic groups for oceanographic research.
Global Marine Systems has extensive ROV knowledge based on 150 years experience in the subsea cable industry. Among other projects we have installed subsea cables for ‘Kit Valley’ near Korea which detects seismic movements in the earth’s tectonic plates, and we have provided cables to transport the energy from offshore windfarms to land. Having laid over 250,000 kilometers of cable since 1991 alone, we have recently installed a cable from Estonia to Finland which connects the Nordic and Baltic energy markets.
For all of these projects, we have utilised cable Ploughs, trenching ROVs and smaller touch down monitoring ROVs that continuously monitor the lay down point of the cable, flow line or umbilical as the installation vessel moves along the laying route.
These types of projects create a near constant demand for skilled ROV personnel. For example, a report commissioned by the Scottish Enterprise Energy Team from Douglas-Westwood at this year’s Subsea 07 (conference) highlighted that the subsea O&G industry is on the brink of a huge growth period. Global revenue is expected to rise by over a third from $29 billion to $41 billion by 2011 thus presenting the industry with a huge recruitment challenge. Beyond that, a large proportion of the people employed in ROV-related roles are close to retirement, so it is crucial that fresh blood needs to be injected into the industry rapidly. Therefore, we have set up the ROV training school to address the training needs for both our own internal requirements, and the requirements of the markets at large.
Our real world ROV training facility will help to fill the gap in the market for trained ROV personnel and act as a training portal for those small operators who do not have the means to have their own in-house scheme. We offer training which is flexible, informative, and run to industry recognised standards and best practice, so we can ensure that trainees have the right skill sets to contribute to continuous advances in the subsea industry.
Our three-week course teaches skills from operations to repair which are crucial to ROV related roles. We have a dedicated Sea Eye Falcon, a Trojan Work Class ROV, and an Open Frame Sprint at the depot, to give trainees hands-on experience. There are also a number of workshop activities that take a trainee through practical experience of electrical, electronic and hydraulic systems to include an operational sonar and cameras to a full reterm of an armoured umbilical (the means through which the ROV is powered and communicates to its host vessel). In addition, theoretical coursework is complemented with a simulator used for computer-based training and scenario modelling. These methods develop trainees in the role before going offshore as part of a team on an ROV or Plough System.
Trainees are evaluated through exams, assignments and practical assessments and upon completion they are also then entered into the Global Marine Certificate of Competence Scheme which continues after the course ends and ensures that there is consistent training throughout the trainee’s career.
The ROV training school admits students from a variety of backgrounds, ranging from ex armed forces personnel to industry experienced technicians and engineers. Those who come with technical background and relevant experience excel in the electro mechanical nature of ROV systems and will find the new skills required to operate and maintain these subsea vehicles an exciting opportunity to extend their already diverse knowledge base. The induction and technical training completed as part of Global Marine’s three-week course, offers this grounding in safety management and cross-skills training.
Those considering applying for a position on Global Marine’s ROV training course should note that certain qualifications are compulsory. A recognisable trade qualification (which can include a military service
qualification) is required in one of four disciplines:
- Hydraulics and/or
Currently the major investments being made in both the cable and O&G markets are on vessels and the systems employed on these vessels to carry out all the associated tasks relating to O&G and cable installation projects. ROVs and Ploughs play a crucial role in new field development together with the installation of the means to transport the product. These products being bandwidth, power, O&G from the wellhead to the beach or from city to city.
This real world ROV training course helps to fill the gap that exists in the market for trained ROV personnel. By offering training which is flexible, informative, and run to industry recognised standards, we can ensure that trainees have the right skill sets to contribute to advances in the subsea industry. The course is unique in this respect, and will develop a host of experienced and trained personnel.
In the future, there will be an even higher dependence on ROVs, as deep water exploration is ever extended and diverless intervention becomes industry standard practice. Therefore, with the current demand for ROV technicians, and the future potential opportunities that exist, it is a perfect time to choose a career in an ROV-related industry, and we at Global Marine are helping to fill this skills shortage. Given current market conditions and the demand for ROV technicians, it may a perfect time for those with the appropriate background to consider a career in an ROV-related industry.
GLOBAL MARINE SYSTEMS
John Davies is Subsea Construction Manager for Global Marine Systems Limited, a marine technology and engineering company specialising in the maintenance of submarine telecom cables.
For further information please visit: www.globalmarinesystems.com