The Underwater Centre secures its biggest ever contract – worth $1.3million - to train Russian saturation divers
Thursday, Jun 21, 2012

The world’s leading commercial diver and ROV training facility, based in the Scottish Highlands and Australia,  has secured its biggest ever contract – worth US$1.3million – to train Russian saturation divers.  The award cements its reputation as a major service provider for the growing worldwide oil and gas industry.

The Underwater Centre, which has facilities in Fort William and Tasmania, was awarded the contract to train 17 divers by MRTS, one of Russia’s largest construction contractors in the fuel and energy industry.  They spent a total of nine weeks at The Underwater Centre’s Beauty Point facility in Tasmania, where they undertook a variety of courses, all of which were taught in Russian. 

Due to increasing consumption of oil and gas in the Asia-Pacific region, the inflow of capital into the Russian oil and gas industry is expected to increase, along with the volume of exploration work.  This training is part of the investment MRTS is making to ensure they are well placed to take advantage of the increased demand that will result. It is intended to help them reach the level of safety and competency that is expected from international diving operations.

The men, already experienced air divers, were trained on saturation procedures and techniques and will receive the ADAS Closed Bell certification on completion of training.  They also completed an air course (Recognition of Prior Learning Experienced Candidate Assessment Course) prior to the saturation diver training allowing them to complete the ADAS surface supplied diving examinations and gain their ADAS certification, an internationally-recognised qualification.

Saturation divers live in a chamber for up to 28 days, which is pressurised to the same pressure of the sea at the depth that they will be working at.  Living and working at pressure means that they can be transported quickly and efficiently to the work site under the water without decompression stops, allowing divers to work to much greater depths and for much longer periods of time.

MRTS Managing Director Alexander Kolikov said: “We are delighted with the training our divers received in Tasmania. The Underwater Centre has a reputation which focuses on quality and safety and this has been evident in the training of our divers.

“Oil and gas firms in Russia are currently facing a skills shortage due to the rapidly increasing amount of exploration work underway at the moment.  By investing in the training of our divers in saturation diving, we are addressing this need for experts in maintenance and repair activities vital to maintaining Russia’s subsea infrastructure.”

The Underwater Centre’s Tasmania General Manager Allan Brown described the contract as ‘fantastic news’, not just for The Underwater Centre, but the local economy as a whole.

“The Russian contingent was an excellent team of men to work with – very professional and hard working, but the fact that we could teach them in Russian was a real bonus,” he said.

“We must give credit to MRTS who have decided to ensure their divers are trained in the level of skill and safety that we deliver here in Australia. Securing this contract will help us to develop our relationship with the Russian subsea industry and this will continue to grow as word of our world-class reputation continues to spread.”

Steve Ham, General Manager at the Fort William Centre said: “We were delighted when MRTS chose The Underwater Centre to train its divers in saturation diving, and I think this is testament to the hard work we have been putting in to ensure our reputation as a world-class training facility.

“The subsea industry in Russia is definitely on the up and, as a result, there is going to be an increased need for divers who are trained in all aspects of the job.  MRTS and The Underwater Centre both strive for the highest levels in health and safety and I think this is very important as organisations in this region try to meet the needs of the industry.”

The Underwater Centre’s expertise and experience in commercial diving air and saturation operations mean that they are well placed to offer courses that meet industry needs globally.  Both schools in Fort William, Scotland, and Tasmania, Australia, provide internationally accepted diving certification (ADAS from Tasmania, HSE from Fort William). Its key objective is to help deliver a competent workforce for the subsea market.

Anyone interested in more information about The Underwater Centre should contact 01397 703 786 or

Source: The BIG Partnership

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