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Subsea training facility launches new ROV course

Subsea training facility launches new ROV course to meet international demand

Australasian offshore market is likely to require investment of US$40bn over the 2014-2018 period

Internationally-renowned subsea training facility, The Underwater Centre, Tasmania, is responding to increased worldwide demand for skilled ROV personnel by offering a new course designed specifically to cater for the oil and gas industry.

As spending on ROV work class operations in the global sector is forecast to grow significantly over the next four years, the Beauty Point Centre has produced a calendar of dates for ROV courses for 2014.

The three week ROV Pilot Technician Course was developed at its sister operation in Fort William, Scotland, where the success of training competent ROV Pilot Technicians for the global oil and gas industry has been such that it is now being rolled out in Tasmania.

Meanwhile, Energy Analysts Infield Systems Limited forecasts that the Australasian offshore market is likely to require more than US$40bn of investment over the 2014-2018 period (Source: Offshore Australasia Oil & Gas Market Report), an increase from US$22bn over the previous five years and largely driven by the rapidly expanding LNG market. Vessel demand, including ROV services, is also expected to increase significantly going forwards.

ROV pilots in the southern hemisphere are currently commanding day rates which are among the highest in the world, ranging from AU$920 for a trainee to AU$1,840 for a Supervisor. ROV Industry union AMMA issued recommended day rates between July 2012 and July 2013, showing a 5% increase on the previous year, reflecting recent movements in other relevant offshore oil and gas industry labour markets, such as offshore construction, rigs, diving and, vessel operators.

The Underwater Centre, Tasmania, will launch its first ROV Pilot Technician Course of 2014 in February, with more scheduled to take place in May, July and October. They have been specifically timetabled to run alongside the commercial diver training also offered by the Centre, to provide ROV pilot technicians and diving students with first-hand experience of working alongside one another.

An inaugural course was recently delivered to employees of French Naval Defence company DCNS, and was specifically tailored to their needs with a new Seaeye Falcon ROV flown specially from the Centre’s sister operation in Fort William on the West Coast of Scotland.

The Underwater Centre’s ROV Training Manager Paul Bury said: “DCNS has recently purchased a Seaeye Falcon ROV after using the smaller Video Ray ROV, so they were looking for training in the new system, which we use and operate at The Underwater Centre in Fort William.

“We have extensive experience of working with these systems in Fort William, so training was based on the range of different scenarios and problems we have experienced with the system there. This provided a challenging, but relevant, course for the trainees – there was very poor visibility in the Tamar Estuary at Beauty Point thanks to significant rainfall in the area, which made it all the more realistic. They also experienced use of the launch and recovery system (LARS), pre and post-dives and checks, hazards in the water and anode, hull, pipeline and shipwreck surveys. The trainees were also taught to take the Falcon to bits and reassemble it.

“DCNS will use the ROV to undertake contract work, including surveys and inspection work, and we have helped them to develop a competence scheme for their staff in Singapore.”

Thibault Caritey, ROV Pilot with DCNS’ ROV division, was one of those who attended the course.

“We found the course at The Underwater Centre, Tasmania to be very useful and realistic, and it fully met with our expectations,” he said.

“We now feel confident that we will be able to use the new Seaeye Falcon ROV effectively and efficiently in all contract work.”

Manager of The Underwater Centre, Tasmania, Allan Brown said: “These new ROV courses have been designed with the needs of the oil and gas industry very much in mind.

“It is extremely important that we continue to train a competent workforce in the latest and most up-to-date equipment. Also, our new ROV courses are aligned to the diving courses, giving invaluable experience to both the divers and the ROV pilot technicians who will very likely be working side by side in real life. The next few years look very busy indeed for the global oil and gas sector, and we very much looking forward to playing a significant part in that.”

The Underwater Centre, Tasmania, was set up to address the need for well-trained commercial divers in the South East Asia Pacific region in the early 1990s. The Centre’s expertise and experience in commercial air and mixed gas diving operations means that it is best placed to offer courses that meet the needs of industry. Along with its sister school in Fort William, Scotland, it provides internationally accepted diving certification (ADAS from Tasmania, HSE from Fort William). The Underwater Centre’s key objective is to help deliver a competent workforce for the global oil and gas market.

Anyone interested in more information about The Underwater Centre should contact 01397 703786 or


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