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  1. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luigi View Post
    I presume ye don't go into the fake helicopter wearing scuba tanks.


    When part of the job involves Git-Mo torture tactics you know you're getting paid well.
    No scuba tanks and yeah, it's the money and time off to spend it on things that *may* be illegal/immoral that are the real appeal of this line of work .

    That HUET thing scares the absolute shit out of me. I'm a big guy with wide shoulders that's got to get out of a small window while upside-down underwater behind other people who might panic and slow the exit down. Next problem is while I'm a strong swimmer and generally enjoy being in a pool or the ocean, I have one of those noses that doesn't block out h2o going straight into my lungs when upside-down under water. So the fear of drowning is very real while doing this shit, you can't really pinch your nose while undoing a seatbelt and making a beeline for the emergency exit window as both hands are needed to pull yourself along. I've heard of HUET courses before where you go thru the whole thing blindfolded to create the added drama of being in a Chopper that ditches and turns turtle at night. Seriously, if an instructor would have ever told me to do this I would have walked out and never taken a contract that needed HUET again.

  2. #77
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    They need to design helicopters that float (the right way up), like those life boats.

  3. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by Headworx View Post
    No scuba tanks and yeah, it's the money and time off to spend it on things that *may* be illegal/immoral that are the real appeal of this line of work .

    That HUET thing scares the absolute shit out of me. I'm a big guy with wide shoulders that's got to get out of a small window while upside-down underwater behind other people who might panic and slow the exit down.
    Had a big guy behind me as last man out of the upside-down underwater experience. Guy panicked and mauled me trying to get out asap.
    If the heli drops into the N. Sea off UK / Norway, your chances are pretty slim.

  4. #79
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    Shoulder measurements are part of the medical now and I think guys with big shoulders are seated next to one of the large windows of a helicopter.

    My survival course this year had to cover me for the UK and for the HUET I had to do two of each dunks, one by just holding my breath and one with a rebreather - a kind of plastic bag built into a face mask that gives you a few breaths of air. I think in the UK now you're issued with a compressed air mask for helicopter flights - a measure brought in as a consequence of a spate of Super Puma ditches and lost workers. Strangely the safey courses don't use the compressed air masks during the HUET, probably due to cost.

    I think that anyone working in the UK Sector has to have a CA-EBS course certificate (Compressed Air Emergency Breathing System. Shame they don't use them for HUET as it would take the panic away if you could breath at will while suspended upsidedown underwater in the helicopter training module.

  5. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luigi View Post
    They need to design helicopters that float (the right way up),
    The helicopter's engines, being on the roof, tends to complicate the physics. RNLI boats have their engines just above the keel, useful in the self righting condition.

  6. #81
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    Choppers are not exactly fun after the first one. The Super Pumas were absolutely horrendous , crammed in with your knees interlocked with the guy sitting facing you.

    Random offshore pics-sp225-jpg

    The H175s are lighter and quicker with big windows all around. Still 3 backwards facing seats at the front though.

    Random offshore pics-h175-jpg

    The Sikorsky S92s are the business, everyone facing forward (except one poor cnut sitting at the front facing everyone).

    Random offshore pics-s92-jpg



    First you get a taxi, in my case, to the heliport. There are 4 in Aberdeen: Bristows, CHC, Babcock and NHV.
    Then you check in, weigh your bags (I think 15kg is max) and weigh yourself. This is the best part cos once I've done this I'm getting paid for the day.
    Then your bags are scanned and searched by the staff. Medication (prescribed or not) must be removed and collected from the medic when you get to the platform. Lithium batteries must also be handed in. Laptops are checked to be switched off. Paint markers are not allowed. food, gym supplements etc may be allowed if they are unopened and seals are intact.
    Then once your flight is called you go through the scanner, empty pockets etc and then spread em for a pat down. Phones and smart watches to be switched off.
    Then you watch the video briefing for the relevant chopper.
    After this your survival suits are issued along with life jackets with CA-EBS. Once they are on and the CA-EBS has been activated the guy will come round and check everyone is correct. Newcomers to the rig will be given a green armband and big lads (XBR) will be given checkered armbands to identify them as having broad shoulders and may not sit beside small windows. Earplugs in and a bottle of water in your pocket and you're good to go.
    The pilot usually comes in at this point to tell you all about the shitty Aberdeen weather then you're out the door and into the paraffin budgie.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Random offshore pics-sp225-jpg   Random offshore pics-h175-jpg   Random offshore pics-s92-jpg  
    Lang may yer lum reek...

  7. #82
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    Thankfully, all super pumas have been grounded for good.

  8. #83
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    You've reminded me why I hate helicopter crew changes so much, it's been several years now since I did one and my last was still with around 18 guys crammed in together.

    Post 18 above - that was from around 2004. Maybe you know Dirk, was that a a Supa Puma?

  9. #84
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    I think that was an Airbus H??? going by the built in tail rotor. I could be wrong though.

  10. #85
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    In 2015 I did a job from the Seven (Acergy) Eagle for a project that straddled the Congo/Angola border. The Eagle does flexible lay and has a dive system, so an expensive boat for a small survey but during the downturn most vessels were struggling for work so it made sense to utilise what was available, and reduce losses. It also saved transiting and mobilising a smaller vessel just for a two week job. The wake in the foreground was from a small boat I took the pic from. A good day for me as I was leaving the Eagle after nine weeks. It was only about two weeks work, but spread out between more important stuff going on. Not being regular crew and very low down the pecking order on such a specialised boat meant that I had a really shitty cabin and was glad to get off.



    The Eagle has an unusually modified bow for cable lay. The front or back of a vessel makes little difference once it's working and on DP (dynamic positioning), held in position by thrusters. It's only when transiting and on the main engines that the pointy end always goes first.



    And from onboard.


  11. #86
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    This is where I done my first survival back in 2008.



    I did the the second one in Aberdeen and my 3rd one in Songkhla.

    I got 7 more to do before retirement age. To be honest, I quite enjoy this part of the course.

  12. #87
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    When I was involved in laying pipelines in Thailand I was on the K1 (Kuroshio 1) Barge. 8.5 weeks blasting joints

    Random offshore pics-kuroshio1-1-jpg
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Random offshore pics-kuroshio1-1-jpg  

  13. #88
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    Fantastic thread !

  14. #89
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    While on the Eagle I had a lot of spare time and got friendly with one of the dive techs, these are the guys who support the saturation divers. There was no diving going on while I was there so the dive tech showed me around the system. Apologies to any diver reading this, it's not my industry and my knowledge is sketchy.

    From memory I think there were three dive chambers on the Eagle. This is where the divers live for their three week trip. They go in the chamber, are pressurised up to the working depth, breathe an oxygen/helium mix and stay either in the chamber of in a diving bell for the three week trip. It is relatively fast to pressure up, but slow depressurisation is done to avoid the bends (nitrogen bubbles in the blood stream. This is why the divers stay pressured up for the duration of their trip.

    A couple of views from the outside of the chambers. You enter through the hatch, and that's it. Not a nice feeling I'm sure at the start of a three week trip.





    A look in through the hatch...



    And from the inside. Imagine three weeks living here. I felt claustrophobic after a couple of minutes, and that was with the hatch open. Once you're in there and pressured up, the hatch doors can't be opened for any reason due to the risk of the bends. I would imagine it can take several days to slowly bring the pressure back down to atmospheric - depending on the depth the work was being carried out at.



    Spartan, at best...



    I think the divers generally work in teams of three, so the above is the living quarters for three guys, working under stress and with a constant risk. You have to be a special kind of person to do that. I know I couldn't - and these are just the living quarters, the real work is carried out on the seabed, maybe 250m down. Snorkeling is as deep as I ever want to go.

    In addition to the obvious discomfort, the divers are under video observation 24 hours a day in case of any medical problems. Food is passed in through airlock hatches to maintain pressure within the chamber. I guess life is easier now with the internet and wifi, but in the early days a stack of books and some videos would have been the only entertainment when off shift.

    The shower area, connected to the chamber. I think two or more chambers were linked to the shower areas so that more than one team of divers were under pressure at any time, to provide 24 hour shift coverage.



    There's even video observation in the wet area. The dive tech told me of one diver who liked a bit of 'me time' during his after shift shower. Against the rules, but he said the dive techs respectably covered their monitor with a towel to give the guy some privacy until he was done!

    And the business end. This is the diving bell on the deck above, with the gas canisters secured around it. The red framework is the housing when on deck. The diving bell is lowered to the seabed (or dive work location) through the moonpool (a hole through the vessel's hull). I think the divers enter/leave the bell when at work on the seabed through the bottom, and use the white grill to stand on to go off to do whatever work they have been assigned. Two divers will go to the work site on the seabed, one will remain in the bell to provide support.



    On deck, pressure has to maintained while the divers transfer from chamber to bell. The bell is moved on rails to latch onto a hatch at the top of the chamber. The divers transfer, then the bell relocated above the moonpool to be lowered for a shift's work.



    I don't know how these guys do it. They are highly paid, I think the rate was around 1800 quid a day back in 2015. The rates of course depend on how buoyant the industry is and the skill level required, and most divers have inspection and welding qualifications. And whereas 1800 a day sounds great, regulations enforce long breaks between saturation trips, and it's a short career - you have to be strong and fit.

    The risks are obviously there for this kind of work, both short term and the long term affects of working in high pressure. For me, being offshore is now just working in a floating office with most shifts 12 a day on the computer. The most dangerous part of my job is without a doubt the taxi journey from Korat to Suvarnabhumi and back.

  15. #90
    Thailand Expat Airportwo's Avatar
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    This is an interesting vessel, built for decommissioning work, which is going to be huge as fields become exhausted and government insist that platforms are removed. This beast just takes the complete platform away

    https://allseas.com/equipment/pioneering-spirit/

    Random offshore pics-allseas-pieter-schelte1-jpg
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Random offshore pics-allseas-pieter-schelte1-jpg  
    Last edited by Airportwo; 18-11-2019 at 12:37 PM.

  16. #91
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    Fascinating thread thanx. The photos put images to the stories i've been told over the years, mainly by sat divers and air divers.
    Until a couple of years ago, i was told sat divers were on $1000 a day and air divers $550 per day. Working locally, Gulf of Thailand and a bit further away. 30 days on, but that included travelling to & fro. I'd see them about 2-3 days after they'd got back home, but they'd already large'd it on the lash in Songkla and other oil/gas shore places. That, and the combination of lack of sunlight for 20 odd days made them look rough as fuck.
    I think they had internet and movies, and whatever food they wanted, but yeah, i could not do that job for any money, i'm too claustrophobic.

  17. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirk diggler View Post
    This is where I done my first survival back in 2008.



    I did the the second one in Aberdeen and my 3rd one in Songkhla.

    I got 7 more to do before retirement age. To be honest, I quite enjoy this part of the course.
    Still got my 1st HOTA certificate from 1990. The offshore industry had just increased the minimum training from a 2 day (I think) course to 5 days, to include fire fighting and training procedures. (This was just a year or so on from the tragic Piper Alpha rig explosion in the N. Sea).

    Random offshore pics-hota-jpg
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  18. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by thaiguzzi View Post
    Fascinating thread thanx.
    Indeed.


    Cheers. Very interesting to see.



    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    The dive tech told me of one diver who liked a bit of 'me time' during his after shift shower. Against the rules
    3 weeks locked in a chamber that the Nazis used for medical experiments, knowing that it cannot be opened for any event.


    And you're videoed 24/7 and not allowed to wank.




    Fuck.







    That.

  19. #94
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    ^^^ A special breed. The rates vary tremendously with the buoyancy of the industry - supply and demand. Rates are generally better in Europe than the Far East - it depends if you're prepared to do the traveling. More and more subsea structures are now designed to be ROV-friendly for installation/maintenance to avoid the cost of divers and the ever stringent HSE regulations. Also, as the industry moves into deeper water, more and more work is becoming impossible for diving.

    ^ To be honest I think you are allowed to wank - but just be prepared that a lot of people may be watching!

    A typical (ROV-supported) subsea installation... a manifold in the Nile Delta. First a barge is towed out with all components to be installed. On the left the foundation template, behind which lie four piles. In the middle a trawl guard and on the right the manifold, what it's all about.



    The template is the first structure to be lowered down to the seabed. You can see four pile guides at each corner. The template provides the foundations for the manifold - an assembly of pipework and valves to connect a wellhead to export pipelines.



    Once the template is on the seabed, position and level checked, the piling is carried out. Four piles, one for each corner.



    The first pile during the nightshift...



    And operations continuing during the next day. This gives some idea of the size of the piles - I think 30m long for this project. There's thick sands and clays in the Nile Delta so the foundations need to go a long way down. The piles are driven down by a huge hydraulic hammer, and needless to say you don't get much sleep during piling operations, the noise rattles right through the boat. We carried out the piling and also provided ROV support throughout the installation.



    Looks like one pile left...



    Once the template is piled in, the manifold is lowered onto guiding pins and secured (I only seem to have a picture of the manifold taken at night). A short pipeline, or 'jumper' usually connects a wellhead to the manifold, which then controls and distributes the flow of oil/gas to export pipelines. The white bars on the manifolds are anodes - designed to sacrificially corrode and protect the steel of the structure against corrosion.



    And last of all, the trawl guard is lowered on guiding pins to finish the installation. This is to protect the manifold from trawl nets and the like - the idea being to deflect trawl boards up and over the structure.


  20. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmart View Post
    Still got my 1st HOTA certificate from 1990. The offshore industry had just increased the minimum training from a 2 day (I think) course to 5 days, to include fire fighting and training procedures. (This was just a year or so on from the tragic Piper Alpha rig explosion in the N. Sea).
    My first offshore survival was in Warsash, close to Southampton in 1991, almost exactly a year after yours. That was a five day course and the four-yearly refreshers were two and a half days back then. My last refresher was just a day, and not a busy one at that.

    The survival courses have been made easier and easier to accommodate the aging workforce (of which I admit, I am one) and HSE requirements. My first firefighting course involved walking through a burning building and putting out real fires with real equipment. If you got it wrong, you could get burnt. My last refresher involved walking through a shipping container filled with fake smoke and putting out a couple of small fires in a metal box with an extinguisher.

  21. #96
    Thailand Expat Airportwo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    More and more subsea structures are now designed to be ROV-friendly for installation/maintenance to avoid the cost of divers and the ever stringent HSE regulations.
    In the offshore drilling sector this is certainly true, semi-submersible/drill ships all used to have diving equipment installed on a permanent basis, now they have ROV installed, BOP are now designed for ROV intervention, one of the many advantages of ROV is that they don't need to WOW (wait on weather) rig time is very expensive, the actual cost of the divers or ROV is secondary.

    The real "glory" days for divers was the seventies in the North Sea, they were really pushing boundaries! with a cost off course, over 50 divers lost their lives! COMEX were the premium diving company in the world, they were able to get ROLEX to make them a watch that divers could rely on, if you have one in the bottom of a drawer may be worth selling now!

    Random offshore pics-comex-jpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mendip View Post
    The survival courses have been made easier and easier to accommodate the aging workforce (of which I admit, I am one) and HSE requirements. My first firefighting course involved walking through a burning building and putting out real fires with real equipment. If you got it wrong, you could get burnt. My last refresher involved walking through a shipping container filled with fake smoke and putting out a couple of small fires in a metal box with an extinguisher.
    I still remember my first fire fighting course in Montrose, must have been ~1975, there are no happy memories! - it was ridiculous, crawling through tunnels with BA on - I seriously still remember that! claustrophobia - never knew what it was until then! They used to keep an ambulance on site! after the final day of fire fighting two people were taken to hospital with burns, one of whom was an instructor, the week previous someone had died from a heart attack, it was plain bloody ludicrous! 20 minutes jogging with full BA was part of the warm up before fire fighting, not so bad when you are young, the oldies at the time were keeling over!
    I was asked if I wanted to go back for the advanced fire fighting which was even more horrendous - needless to say I never went!

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    Quote Originally Posted by aging one View Post
    ... this one is a great one. Thanks for something worth looking at.

    Agreed AO

    It's a snapshot into a fascinating world I'm unlikely ever to experience.

    Really appreciating ALL the input from the different members.

  24. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by Headworx View Post
    No scuba tanks and yeah, it's the money and time off to spend it on things that *may* be illegal/immoral that are the real appeal of this line of work .

    That HUET thing scares the absolute shit out of me. I'm a big guy with wide shoulders that's got to get out of a small window while upside-down underwater behind other people who might panic and slow the exit down. Next problem is while I'm a strong swimmer and generally enjoy being in a pool or the ocean, I have one of those noses that doesn't block out h2o going straight into my lungs when upside-down under water. So the fear of drowning is very real while doing this shit, you can't really pinch your nose while undoing a seatbelt and making a beeline for the emergency exit window as both hands are needed to pull yourself along. I've heard of HUET courses before where you go thru the whole thing blindfolded to create the added drama of being in a Chopper that ditches and turns turtle at night. Seriously, if an instructor would have ever told me to do this I would have walked out and never taken a contract that needed HUET again.
    Ever concerned about sharks when having to dive in the waters off Africa etc? In Mendip's first post he said they had to check for damage to the rig after some kind of collision, so I'm presuming you're gonna need a volunteer or two to actually get in the drink and have a look?

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    I've never heard of a problem with sharks. I think divers may have more problems with likes of moray eels or wolf fish trying to take a chunk out of their hands.

    As for the collision, most inspection is carried out using an ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle). The development of these has transformed the offshore industry - they provide the 'eyes' underwater by using video cameras that relay real-time video back to the vessel. A multitude of survey and tooling equipment can be bolted on to the ROV also, depending on the work at hand. And with reference to your question about sharks... many years ago while working in the Med a monster tuna attacked an ROV and knackered the cameras - caused several hours of down time.

    A typical ROV being deployed below. This one was configured for pipeline inspection. At the front there are two side cameras on adjustable booms and a central camera up high. A CP probe has also been attached to the manipulator at the front - to measure the CP (cathodic potential) at anodes to test whether the pipeline is protected against corrosion. There is also a multi-beam echosounder that builds up a map of the seafloor. It works exactly the same way as a conventional echosounder any yachtsman will be familiar with to find the water depth, but instead of transmitting a soundwave along a single beam, it transmits several hundred beams. Other survey eqipment often used are side scan sonars to detect seabed features and obstructions, and sub-bottom profilers to give a profile of the shallow geology beneath the seabed.



    Some guys doing maintenance on a newer ROV - the buoyancy is built into the framework.



    And off it goes... the Black Sea.

    ROVs are tethered to the vessel with an umbilical. This carries the electrics and hydraulics used to power and control the ROV and the various equipment. Data is constantly transmitted back up the umbilical to the vessel.



    And another ROV about to be deployed.



    The company I've been working for over the last couple of years has developed a new generation of hydrodynamic survey ROV. The 'Superior' ROV can survey at 1.5 metres per second (3 knts) or faster, with the main limitation on speed being the density of data required and video resolution. New technology will change that soon enough.



    For long, open water pipeline inspections and regional seabed surveys AUVs are increasingly being used. The Autonomous Underwater Vehicles have no umbilical and operate independently to the support vessel. The survey coordinates are programmed in, and off they go. Accurate GPS and high precision underwater positioning has made this possible in recent years.

    I'm hoping that the new technology and increased automation of the industry slows down a bit... I need another ten years at least! I still work with a few guys who were at the advent of the offshore industry and carried out pipeline inspection back in the early 80s from manned subs. They flew the sub along one side of a pipeline, taking notes, and then flew along the other side. The notes were made using a pencil and paper! The development of ROVs completely replaced the manned subs.

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