The Magazine for Underwater Professionals

Jul/Aug 2016


Subsea 7 to lay off another 1200 employees

Up to five vessels are scheduled to leave the company's current active fleet by early 2017. Photo: Subsea 7

Norway-headquartered oil and gas contractor Subsea 7 has announced a second phase of global resizing and cost reduction measures due to continued difficult business and economic conditions in the oil and gas market.

The company plans to reduce its worldwide workforce to roughly 8000 by early 2017, from the current level of 9200. Consultation with employees and employee representatives will take place on a local basis and consultation processes have begun in Norway and the UK.

Up to five vessels are scheduled to leave Subsea 7’s current active fleet by early 2017, as existing contracts expire. The firm expects the latest cuts, plus those initiated earlier this year, to realise US$350 million (£263 million) of annualised cost savings. It said the charge related to its resizing will be recognised in 2016 and is expected to be less than US$100 million (£75 million). There will also be a reorganisation of its existing business units.

“The reduction in the size of our workforce is a necessary step to maintain our competitiveness and protect our core offering through the oil price cycle,” said chief executive officer Jean Cahuzac.

Gardline and Neptune launch integrated vessel and ROV solution

Two energy industry specialists have joined forces to bring a new integrated vessel and ROV package to market.

UK-based Gardline Geosurvey and Neptune, Australia, have entered into a strategic partnership which will see Gardline’s DP2 multi-role survey vessel the MV Kommandor enhanced with the permanent installation of Neptune’s Explorer 06 100HP ROV. Manned by staff from both companies, the vessel has also seen a dedicated ROV control area created on board and benefits from mid-ship moon pool capabilities.


The ROV integration has strengthened the vessel’s full site investigation survey capabilities and allows it to offer enhanced features over standard site survey vessels, particularly with operations which require close approach work and extensive ROV operations, according to the companies.

The multi-role capabilities of the vessel also include the ability to undertake single pass site survey operations on the same cruise as ROV, geotechnical and environmental acquisition.

Kevin Stephen, Neptune’s operations and business development director for Europe, Mediterranean and Africa, said: “As we continue to explore opportunities within Europe and beyond, this new ROV survey and vessel package will be an attractive proposition for clients looking to benefit from an integrated solution and the MV Kommandor and its range of services is very much at the heart of this offering.”

The Underwater Centre plays host to Tekmar demos

Tekmar Energy, UK, which supplies cable protection systems (CPS) to the offshore wind farm industry, has carried out a full-scale demonstration of its products at The Underwater Centre, the subsea training and trials facility based in Fort William, UK.

 The objective of the demonstration was to prove the ability to rapidly and reliably remove a CPS without the need for divers. This is particularly key for the future as offshore windfarm projects are being installed in increasingly deeper waters where diving becomes more dangerous and costly. 


With several offshore wind industry leaders in attendance, Tekmar and The Underwater Centre carried out the installation and removal of a CPS from mock-up offshore foundations.


Cable protection systems are designed to be maintenance free for the full service life of the wind farm. However, for decommissioning purposes and in order to reduce risk within the industry it is important that any equipment that is installed subsea has a proven and robust method of removal. 

The Underwater Centre provided a work-class ROV which was launched from an offshore vessel and carried out the operations in Loch Linnhe. 


The demos were carried out over a two-day period. On the first day the removal operation was performed on a mock-up j-tubeless monopile foundation; whereas the second day was reserved to carry out the same operation on a mock-up j-tube. Both demonstrations were considered successful with operations being completed considerably quicker than expected.

Hydroid unveils new hyperbaric testing system

Hydroid, USA, has announced the installation of a new subsea hyperbaric testing system at its manufacturing facility in Pocasset, Massachusetts.

The testing system simulates hydrostatic pressures found at depths up to 6000 metres and will be used to test Hydroid’s autonomous underwater vehicles and other marine robotics products to ensure their integrity at rated depth. This testing was previously performed at third party facilities.


“The level of advanced testing this system provides is crucial in ensuring that our vehicles meet and exceed the highest standards for subsea missions,” said Duane Fotheringham, president of Hydroid. “As industry leaders, it is our goal to continue to maximise our vehicles’ capabilities, and advance marine robotics technology.”

Mermaid Maritime renews 'Mermaid Nusantara' charter
  • The dive support vessel 'Mermaid Nusantara'. Photo courtesy of Miclyn Express Offshore

Thailand-based Mermaid Maritime reports its Indonesian business unit, Seascape, has entered into a one-year charter-in contract with Nusa Perkasa Permai, Singapore, for the DP2 dive support vessel Mermaid Nusantara.

Formerly known as Windermere, the vessel comes with a 15-man built-in saturation diving system and air diving system, 120 beds and a 50-tonne crane. The DSV will undertake inspection, repair and maintenance contracts as well as performing saturation diving for construction support, ongoing field maintenance and call out repair.


Mermaid had previously chartered-in the DSV and deployed it to support its subsea projects in 2015. The re-chartering of the vessel comes at the back of anticipated continuing demand for subsea services in both Indonesia and the rest of the South East Asia region.

The charter also comes with a one-year extension option which, if exercised, would extend the charter through to July 2018.

Mermaid has already secured subsea contracts worth around US$10 million (£7.6 million) that will utilise the vessel for a scheduled duration of approximately 70 days.

Earn rewards from Fishers for photos and videos

JW Fishers (JWF), USA, is inviting customers in commercial diving, law enforcement, military and marine archaeology to submit photos and videos of their underwater search equipment. A US$250 (£190) gift certificate will be given for each video interesting enough to post on the company’s website, and a US$100 (£77) gift certificate for each good photo.

“Videos should be edited and three to five minutes in length. Underwater footage shot from any of Fishers’ ROVs or other video systems is desirable, as well as videos showing the equipment being deployed. Videos of the boat-towed detectors as well as the pipe and cable trackers are also eligible,” said a spokesman for the company.


“Photos can be a posed shot of your dive team with JWF equipment, or a picture showing the equipment in use. Photos of sonar images produced by Fishers’ sub-bottom profilers, scanning sonars or sidescan sonars will be given special consideration,” he added. 

For more information, please contact Christopher Combs at

New Forum deepwater test facility

Subsea technology provider Forum Energy Technologies (UK) Ltd has unveiled a deepwater test facility and received industry accreditation for the calibration laboratory at its new European Operational Centre in Aberdeen.

The new indoor test tank is one of the largest in the north-east of Scotland and is dedicated to testing subsea tooling and survey sensors as well as work-class remotely operated vehicles.

Staffed by dedicated personnel, the test tank and laboratory have a primary purpose to provide full control, certification and faster turnaround in preparing Forum’s rental inventory for hire. In addition, the firm will also offer a full test and calibration service to customers.


Ian Porter, vice president for Manufacturing Subsea, said: “Our continued investment in testing and calibration capabilities ensures that clients can be assured our systems have been prepared to the highest possible standards. This focus on delivering quality products means clients know they are receiving ROV systems that will perform reliably in the field and safeguard the project costs.

“These latest facilities have been created as part of the consolidation of Forum’s Aberdeen businesses and to supplement those available in our other UK plants.”

The large fresh water tank, measuring five metres by six metres by 4.5 metres, is fitted with an overhead 10-tonne crane, lighting, cameras and a viewing platform.

KBAT and PDA join forces to train divers to the UK HSE offshore diving standard

Training providers KBA Training Centre Pte Ltd (KBAT), Singapore, and the Professional Diving Academy (PDA) in Dunoon, Scotland, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to train divers to the UK HSE offshore diving standard.

KBAT has attained the acceptance of its commercial diver training programme to allow PDA to run a fast-track HSE competence assessment type course for its graduates. Delegates who have successfully completed the nine-week inland/inshore commercial diving training with KBAT can thereafter apply to PDA to attend a bespoke training programme that will fast-track them towards a UK HSE offshore diving qualification.


The HSE commercial diving certificate is automatically recognised by IMCA, and is still regarded by many in the oil and gas industry as the “gold standard”. It is preferred by many major clients that require divers for sub-surface repair and maintenance projects.

“Diving standards vary across the board in Singapore, and this has raised an important concern that untrained commercial divers and diving supervisors have been entering the industry leading to various accidents/ incidents in recent years,” says KBAT. In order to promote professionalism and safety standards in Singapore’s commercial diving industry, KBAT says it has been working closely with local authorities and the Commercial Diving Association Singapore (CDAS) to develop the highest standards of training and certification for commercial divers in accordance to Workplace Safety and Health Act (WSHA).

The courses are accredited under ISO 29990: 2010 standard and under a train-and-job placement programme spearheaded by Employment and Employability Institute (e2i), delegates who are Singaporeans have been eligible for a training grant. Both e2i and KBAT will assist the delegates to be recruited by local diving companies on successful completion of their training. The KBAT course is also approved for SkillsFuture Credit where all Singaporeans aged 25 and above are entitled to a further grant for their skills development and lifelong learning.

“It is a win-win situation for all parties where diving companies acquire a trained and certified diver whilst the diver receives a training and potential of secured job placement,” KBAT says.


Over recent months KBAT has been working closely with the PDA to provide the relevant information so that HSE recognition of a prior learning and competence programme would be accepted. Commercial divers who have completed a full KBAT training course can now apply to PDA to attend the shortened HSE Surface Supplied with Top-Up competence assessment programme.

Darren Brunton, managing director of KBAT, says: “The training programme is initially developed with the aim that we have a more competent workforce with safer work systems and procedures for the Singapore commercial diving industry. Because of their excellent reputation, we wanted very much to work with the Professional Diving Academy on this training advancement.

“We are satisfied that this MOU will allow KBAT trained commercial divers to further their career options with arguably one of the best commercial divers training schools in the world, gaining a highly recognised international offshore commercial divers’ qualification in the process.

“Ultimately, we seek to provide a training platform where our delegates are able to develop their competencies, thus improving their international employment opportunities, whilst simultaneously enhancing local commercial diving services and standards.”


Alastair Baird, managing director of PDA, says: “KBAT are a highly respected training provider within the diving industry, and we are delighted to be working with them. By furthering training and enhancing global employment opportunities for divers graduating from KBAT’s diver training programme, we are proud that we are directly influencing diving safety standards within the region.”    





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