ROVworld Subsea Information

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ROVworld Subsea Information FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)



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Question
•  When is the North Sea ´Season´
•  What Qualifications Do I Need to Get Into ROVs?
•  What are the different ROV Grades?
•  Do I need to be certified to be an ROV Pilot

Answer
•  When is the North Sea ´Season´
Generally the majority of contract work in the North Sea takes place between April and September. Oct to March produces some pretty rough sea conditions and clients tend to try and avoid operating in these periods due to the non productive cost of weather downtime.
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•  What Qualifications Do I Need to Get Into ROVs?

ROV people tend to be in one of two categories:- Electrical/Electronic or Mechanical/Hydraulic.

When you first start out in ROVs you will tend to be one or the other. As you progress in your career you will have to learn about the other. The job title is Pilot TECHNICIAN. Some people tend to forget this! By the time you reach Sub Engineer Level, you are expected to know how to fix ALL parts of the ROV system, both electrical and hydraulic.

The best qualifications to have are either experience (in the form of Armed Forces training or a "proper" apprenticeship) or vocational qualifications such as ONC, HNC, NVQs etc.

Degrees are not particularly helpful, as it is thought that there is not enough practical experience gained (someone who had a Degree in Engineering - "he could tell you the square root of an orange but he couldn't peel it").

Likewise, qualifications in Marine Biology or Environmental studies, just because it involves the sea, it will not help you fix an electrical problem on an ROV.

 

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•  What are the different ROV Grades?

Some companies have invented several grades of Pilot, of Sub Eng, even of Trainee! This is mainly to allow them to give small pay increases to people without bumping them up a whole level.

Generally (and following IMCA guidelines) there is usually the following (from low to high):-

Trainee - as the name says, brand new out of the box.

Pilot Tech 2 - minimum 6 months experience. Assists in the operation and maintenance of the ROV system under the guidance of the ROV Supervisor and Senior Pilot. Not expected to be able to carry out complex flying or manipulator tasks. Expected to be pro-active and self-motivated in learning all aspects of the ROV system

Pilot Tech 1 - minimum 12 months experience.  Assists in the operation and maintenance of the ROV system under the guidance of the ROV Supervisor and Senior Pilot. Expected to be able to carry out flying or manipulator tasks, and carry out planned maintenance and repairs under the direction of the ROV Supervisor and Senior Pilot

Senior Pilot or Sub Engineer - minimum 2 years experience.  Assists in the operation and maintenance of the ROV system under the guidance of the ROV Supervisor. Expected to be able to carry out complex flying or manipulator tasks. Experienced and knowledgeable in the operations and technicalities of all parts of the ROV system. Responsible for ensuring that all parts of the ROV system are operational and that maintenance is carried out. Responsible for the technical paperwork, fault reports and stores.

Supervisor - minimum 3 years experience. Runs the operation and maintenance of the ROV system sometimes under the guidance of the ROV Superintendent. Expected to be able to carry out complex flying or manipulator tasks.  Experienced and knowledgeable in the operations and technicalities of all parts of the ROV system.  Responsible for ensuring that all parts of the ROV system are operational and that maintenance is carried out by the Senior Pilot and Pilots. Responsible for the daily and weekly reports, and liaising with the Client.

Superintendent - minimum 5 years experience.  Responsible for the smooth running of one or more ROV systems. Liaising with the Client to ensure that all required tasks are carried out. Usually Company representative while onboard a vessel. Dealing with all ROV personnel under him, including appraisals. Normally on jobs where more than one ROV is involved.

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•  Do I need to be certified to be an ROV Pilot

 No.

There is no such "qualification" as ROV Pilot. Unlike the Diving Industry which requires people to have specific training and qualification requirements.

IMCA, who are a Trade Organisation, have developed a minimum training and competency scheme which most companies follow. However, they have no legal standing and they do NOT certify anyone, despite what some of the Training Schools try and say.

From the IMCA website:-

"IMCA receives a number of enquiries issued relating to its competence assurance and assessment guidance. As suggested above, these are not IMCA-issued certificates and any enquiries relating to them should be addressed directly to the issuer or employing contractor as appropriate. This topic is addressed in the set of FAQs relating to the competence assurance and assessment guidance."

"IMCA does not issue certificates of competence. IMCA's role in direct certification is very limited indeed and only involves certain positions in the diving industry (offshore diving supervisors and life support technicians). Other than this, certificates may feature the IMCA logo when indicating IMCA membership on the part of the issuing organisation, but they are not imcaissued or imcarecognised certificates.

Certificates are not mandatory under the IMCA guidance, but some contractors may find them useful. There should, however, be an auditable trail of work experience and assessment records, which can include logbooks, competence records (combined in the IMCA logbook series), computer-based records, certificates or other documents. Those working for companies with schemes in line with the IMCA guidance will be able to be assessed and achieve a record of their training, experience and competence assessments that will be more easily transferable and ready for other such companies. Many companies take advantage of IMCA logbooks and the stand-alone ‘IMCA Record of Competence’ for recording these details in a formalised, consistent manner.

IMCA guidance recommends that competence assessment should be ongoing and that a three-year revalidation period might be appropriate, (see "How long does competence last"), but the specific requirements will be down to the employing contractor's work practices and interpretation of the guidance in formulating its own competence scheme. Employees will need to contact their certificate issuer if they find themselves with an expired assessment record."

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