Diving company ready to take the plunge

Aiming high in the offshore diving industry may sound like a contradiction, but for one of the most experienced figures in the industry the challenge of continuing to raise standards is the main motivation.

After more than 34 years in the sector, Alan Melia insists he is still learning as new developments push the boundaries of subsea capabilities and enhance the safety of the army of professionals working in the world’s most inhospitable environments.

Alan Melia

The Global Diving offshore diving manager said: “In my opinion, you cannot find an industry in which the processes and safety culture are stronger than those in diving. We are constantly evolving to ensure we remain at the leading edge in terms of science and technology.

“My career in diving began in 1980 and the past three decades have seen huge changes. There has always been a focus on creating a safe working environment but there have been huge leaps forward, particularly with equipment. While the fundamentals remain the same, the sophistication of dive systems has moved forward year on year.”

The Aberdeen-based expert’s passion for the profession has found a new outlet through his role with the newly-established Global Diving, a division of the Global Energy Group.

Handed a blank sheet of paper and tasked with forming an organisation to take diving to a new level, he has made a clutch of key appointments in recent weeks as the freshly assembled team prepares to launch dive operations worldwide.

The division has been formed to support inspection, enhancement, maintenance and life of field extension solutions through innovation in diving, rope access and alternative access. A £7million investment in the latest offshore dive system has been supported by the recruitment of five new Aberdeen-based team members.

The manager will use all of his 34 years of experience as he looks to the future.

He said: “We have invested in a cutting edge system for our divers and that not only benefits our team but also clients, with advantages in terms of efficiency and capabilities.

“We are a brand new Scottish company and are proud of the expertise and knowledge that brings. The North Sea has consistently led the way and we are able to take that experience and expertise worldwide with our new division at Global Energy. It completes our access and coatings offering, with the ability to abseil down to the water line and then use our dive team for subsea work – protecting and maintaining the entire asset.

“The system has been delivered and we went through extensive proving trials. We are now ready to go to work. We will continue to build in the months and years ahead, with our second dive system due for delivery in December, providing us with the first zero rated air and nitrox diving set-up in the industry, opening new opportunities to carry out work where it would previously not have been possible.

“Early in 2015 we will take delivery of a 50m daughter craft which is being designed and built in South Africa, complete with a three-diver panel which gives us the capability of working subsea for a full day without topping up gas. That is something which would have been unheard of when I entered the industry. The systems we have for monitoring and communicating with the divers are state of the art.

“We have also commissioned a transfer craft, to move personnel between the daughter craft and the mother ship. It will feature the biggest single davit load and recovery system ever developed by the specialist manufacturer responsible for that equipment.”

The multi-million pound equipment inventory has been complemented by a significant investment in time to ensure policies and procedures are equally robust. A dive manual, the bedrock upon which the safety of all dive operations is built upon, has been prepared from scratch.

As a member of the International Marine Contractors Association’s safety, medical, technical and training committee (SMTT), Alan Melia was able to call upon expert insight into the latest guidelines and regulations as he prepared the comprehensive publication.

He said: “The dive manual will govern all of our operations. Getting that right is imperative and it has been an exhaustive process. It will ensure all dive operations are carried out with safety as the absolute priority. We enlisted Dr Philip James, the leading medical authority in the diving industry, for approval of the manual. No stone has been left unturned and we are excited about the future for Global Diving.”

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