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."

12 JUNE 2012


Maritime Training & Competence Solutions (MTCS Ltd) claim the whole subsea industry is getting busier all the time, with companies investing and expanding - and one area in which this has been particularly noticeable is in remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). As the demand for ROVs increases, so does the need for qualified ROV Pilot technicians.

Fuelled by the search for oil in ever deeper waters and utilising numerous strands of technology, the world of ROVs is breaking new ground to develop ever more sophisticated vehicles - meaning an increased need for
pilot technicians. The global demand for ROVs was recently highlighted in a report from analysts, Douglas-Westwood, which revealed that expenditure on work class ROV operations had more than doubled since 2002. The energy analysts predict that by 2012, $1.458billion will have been spent in this sector

With this in mind, technician engineer, James Barrett (ex RAF) enrolled himself on to a recent ROV Induction course with MTCS Ltd in Windermere.

Barrett served in the RAF for 12 years (1998 to 2010), as a Junior Technician Eng tech airframe. He was stationed at Odiham (Chinook Aircraft servicing flight), Brize Norton (216sqn) and latterly, Lossiemouth (Aircraft Maintenance Fight and 14 sqn).

Barrett said: "I found the MTCS course a very good introduction to the ROV sector. Although the first week of the course was very interesting, for me the practical sessions in the second week were brilliant. The highlight being driving the ROV down at the dive centre in Capenwray and using the simulator."

MTCS an internationally recognised ROV training company, is all to familiar with the demand for ROV training, as it prepares to put on additional courses to keep up with the increasing requirement for ROV pilots. The next 10-day ROV Induction Course will run from
Monday 26th  November to Friday 7th December.
MTCS Ltd is a fully accredited assessment and training centre, whose head office is based in the Lake District. They provide a spectrum of operational, technical and supervisory training to the offshore industry, both in the UK and abroad. With a new training facility now open in Singapore, MTCS will also be delivering a range of bespoke courses throughout the year. A High Voltage, safety awareness open course is planned for July in Aberdeen, along with a new ROV awareness half-day course for office-based personnel. The majority of their courses focus on ROVs as used in the oil & gas, nuclear and renewable industry.

Richard Warburton, Managing Director for MTCS Ltd commented:
"ROV pilots are in huge demand in the oil and gas industry and this is set to continue over the coming years
. In recent months we've seen companies such as Canyon Offshore, CTC Marine, Subsea 7, Saipem and DOF Subsea all recruiting, plus agencies such as Advance Global Recruitment and EuroSearch have been putting out calls for ROV Pilot Technicians for their clients. In addition to these advertised posts, here at MTCS, we have been inundated with requests for student CVs - almost four times as many as we had for the same period last year. Estimates are that by the end of 2012 there will be almost 6000 subsea wells in operation, with vacancies in the Scottish sector of the North Sea, plus opportunities to work abroad, in Norway, the Middle East, Asia, South America, Africa, Australasia and China "

Barrett concluded: "I was delighted with how the course helped me to get the position of Pilot Technician at Canyon Offshore. It was one of the instructors at MTCS that handed my CV to Canyon, giving me an introduction to the company and getting me started in a new career. Canyon uses the MTCS competency programme too, so I haven't quite finished the course yet!"

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