Latest NewsCommercial DivingCommercial diving – a critical human resource in the age of technology

Commercial diving – a critical human resource in the age of technology

Article by Alistair Blue Diving Manager for Briggs Marine

Each commercial diving project presents its own unique set of challenges. From the planning stages right through to a detailed debrief and report at the end of the dive, every aspect of the job calls on the knowledge, hard-won experience and determination of the dive team.

 Briggs Marine’s diving teams are highly trained and experienced in providing asset protection services to support subsea inspection, construction, repair and engineering services projects in remote and challenging locations.

Floating vessels, platforms, pipelines, power cables and dams

 Commercial diving encompasses a broad range of services that are mission-critical for the assurance of marine operations and safe maintenance of subsea assets.

 All floating vessels, including barges, oil rigs, boats and ships, need regular underwater inspections for safety and regulatory purposes. Surveys and inspections that can be carried out whilst the vessel is in the water can save both time and money for the operator, compared to costly and time-consuming dry dock works. Briggs Marine divers are approved for in-water inspection by ABS, DNV, Lloyds Register and NKK. We are the class surveyor’s eyes under the water and provide survey and inspection services across the UK and in The Falkland Islands.

 Sometimes, inspections uncover the need for emergency or ad-hoc repair works and these can vary greatly in complexity. Challenges range from removing debris from vessel propellers and thrusters or clearing obstructions from lock gates for port authorities, right through to repairing and patching the hulls of vessels whilst still afloat.

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 Subsea power cables require specific intervention when inspection and repairs are due, particularly if they are situated in shallow water that is inaccessible for ROVs. Briggs Marine divers have worked on cable installation and repair projects at numerous offshore wind sites around the UK, supporting cable recovery, cutting and rigging and other tasks to complete jobs safely and efficiently.

 Our divers also work on surveys and inspections for a range of other assets, including oil and gas pipelines and distillery outfall pipes (inspection and installation) and hydro power stations and dams. Dams require regular surveys, cleaning, stop-log fitting and removal among other routine and ad-hoc tasks in order to operate safely and efficiently.

Salvage, recovery and unexploded ordnance (UXO)

 Another critical element of the work undertaken by commercial divers is that of salvage and debris recovery. Projects range from clearing cable routes of boulders and other debris to salvaging and supporting the surfacing of wrecks.

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 All commercial divers work with a permanent awareness of unexploded ordnance (UXO). UXO requires various types of intervention, from risk assessment to removal, from highly skilled and specialist divers. Briggs Marine calls on a pool of specialist resource (some ex-Royal Navy divers) to complement its existing team on these types of projects.

The human element

 Today’s autonomous technology is enhancing our understanding of the oceans, which is essential if we are to provide better stewardship of this global resource both now and in the future. Alongside this technology, commercial divers continue to play a vital role in safe marine operations and maintenance. A dynamic and agile dive team can respond quickly to varied and complex requirements and provide rapid intervention, often in confined spaces and with zero visibility, to keep ships moving and ports open for trade.

 Briggs Marine is a member of the Association of Diving Contractors (ADC) and our Inshore Diving Supervisors are all ADC certified. ADC Supervisor Certification is a seal of approval that indicates a broad range of knowledge across all aspects of the skills required for both inshore and nearshore dive sites. Our Offshore Dive Supervisors hold IMCA Offshore Diving Supervisor certification, reinforcing that they have fulfilled the training requirements of the IMCA Diving Supervisor scheme and passed the relevant IMCA examination.

 In addition to industry certification, Briggs Marine has developed its own inhouse training programme, an extremely thorough and comprehensive course of e-learning that has been checked and approved by the Class Societies. The course covers every element of floating vessels and platforms and combined with practical experience, thus stands the team in good stead to tackle the multitude of challenges that they may be confronted with under the water.

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