New collaboration brings together high speed ROV capability and reduced costs

Source: press release, 10 March 2021

MV Viking’s cruising speed of 20 knots and able to operate 60 miles from shore
MV Viking’s cruising speed of 20 knots and able to operate 60 miles from shore (photo: Gulfxstream)

Two Scottish companies, Aberdeen-based Underwater Contracting (UCO) and Gulfxstream from the Isle of Lewis, have entered into a working collaboration that will reduce costs of underwater inspection and survey.

The agreement sees the permanent installation of one of UCO’s observation and inspection ROVs aboard Gulfxstream’sMV Viking. This means the spread can be mobilised at short notice and, with MV Viking’s cruising speed of 20 knots and able to operate 60 miles from shore, rapidly transit to location, significantly cutting mobilisation costs.

UCO observation and inspection ROV
UCO observation and inspection ROV (photo: UCO)

Stationed at Peterhead in North-east Scotland, and servicing the O&G, renewables, decommissioning, and marine sectors, the vessel and ROV will be equipped to carry out a full range of specialist support services.

Depth rated to 300 metres, the ROV is fitted with sonar and underwater cameras. Additional sensors such as 3D cameras, laser metrology and survey tools can also be fitted to the ROV. MV Viking is certified to carry 12 people and, with ample deck space, means client personnel and equipment can be onboarded for a range of mission specific tasks.

Projects are envisaged to include underwater inspection of marine and renewable structures, hydrographic surveying, environmental monitoring and ocean research, search and rescue, hull inspections at sea or in port, emergency response for cable and pipeline damage identification, aquaculture survey and support, media and film production and even unique leisure experiences.

In addition, it can provide UWILDs, EOD and MMO support, seabed surveys, wave buoy deployment, salvage support and guard duties, equipment, personnel transfer and also for fuel transfer, thanks to its high fuel capacity.

The collaboration came in response to the impact COVID-19 is having on some offshore operations, creating a need for a fast, quickly mobilised service capable of carrying out a variety of tasks across a range of disciplines.

Calum Buchanan, MD of Gulfxstream, says, “This exciting collaboration with UCO comes at a time when there has been a marked increase in enquiries for our vessels for activities such as the servicing of offshore renewables sites, inspection of vessels stationed at sea, personnel transfer and similar tasks due to the effect COVID-19 is having on operations.”

“The combination of the ROV and vessel in a cost effective package gives clients access to a single source solution for services, pre-mobilised and ready to work at very short notice. We believe this new way of working will bring efficiencies to marine operations for the future beyond COVID-19,” Buchanan adds.

Mick Bower, General Manager of UCO, says, “We are proud to work with Gulfxstream in bringing a solution to market that offers clients access to innovative technology and services from a highly adaptable platform. Giving them access to such a comprehensive range of services in one package will allow them to make optimum use of the time on hire to carry out other tasks.”

A rollout of the service to west Scotland and other ports around the UK is now being planned, a move which is expected to create additional jobs and further investment in the two companies. Two additional Gulfxstream vessels are ready for deployment for the next phase of growth, the GXS Valtos which has can operate 150 miles offshore and the GXS Venturer, a high-speed commercial RIB.