22 September 2011
Rare Bronze Ram Find during a Forces Resettlement Process
RAF engineer, Ian Woodbridge couldn't believe his luck, when his resettlement process not only gave him valuable training in the use of a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), but also took him to far flung parts of the Adriatic to uncover a rare bronze ram, dating mid 3rd century BC.
Woodbridge, due to exit the RAF next June, is currently stationed at Brize Norton, serving with 33(Eng) Sqn, Ground Engineers. As part of his resettlement process, he recently underwent 2 weeks training with Maritime Training & Competence Solutions (MTCS), which is based in Windermere, Cumbria.
Commenting on his training, Woodbridge said: "MTCS is perfect for guys like me, who already have an engineering background, gained through my aviation career. They operate an informal class with small numbers and very helpful instructors. There's a state-of-the-art ROV Simulator with a range of deepwater construction activities to gain hands-on experience, plus a further practical session with an ROV operation at Capenwray - a local Cumbrian quarry."
MTCS Ltd is a fully accredited assessment and training centre providing a spectrum of operational, technical and supervisory training to the offshore industry. The majority of their courses focus on ROV's as used in the oil & gas, nuclear and renewables industry.
Since completing his course, MTCS have been in regular contact with Woodbridge, passing on his CV to companies who contact them. An ROV placement was offered to Woodbridge through MTCS to gain practical experience working with the RPM Nautical Foundation (RPMNF).
Dr. Jeff Royal, Archaeological Director for RPM Nautical Foundation, said: "Our projects allow candidates, such as Woodbridge to acquire field experience, while working with our equipment and systems. Artefacts are recovered from the sea-bed with the use of an industry recognised Seaye Panther ROV, where objects are then returned to the surface for further investigation by me and other archaeologists. The ROV tasks for the candidates are both broad and of a high technical nature that newly-trained individuals don't often have the opportunity to experience."
RPMNF offered field experience with all flights and travel paid for, where Woodbridge travelled to Tivat, Montenegro to join a 175-ton research vessel R/V Hercules. Using the RPMNF Seaye Panther ROV on board Hercules, Woodbridge said: "We were able to locate shipwrecks via mapping with a multibeam sonar, and afterwards launched the ROV to investigate targets that often produced stunning images via the ROV's HD camera."
"We found numerous amphoral including a bronze ram from the mid-3rd century BC, which the ROV recovered by using the manipulator arms to feed a lifting strap around it before using the vessel's crane to raise it. After one week in Bar, Montenegro, I travelled to Sazan Island, Albania for another week then onto Trapani, Sicily for a further two weeks. I certainly believe the experience gained was second-to-none and the fact that the Royal Air Force enabled this all to happen was a very positive side to the resettlement process for me."