UXO diver training for the renewables industry

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Commercial divers will be trained to detect unexploded bombs in a new partnership between explosives disposal experts Ramora UK and the Professional Diving Academy, Dunoon.

The partnership means the Professional Diving Academy is fully accredited by Ramora UK to enhance its existing commercial diver training courses with a bolt-on module in unexploded ordnance (UXO) surveying, detection and identification.

The possibility of the presence of unexploded ordnance is a very real threat during the construction phase on many offshore windfarm projects in North West Europe, and that threat has to be managed.

As well as vessel based-magnetometer and high frequency side-scan sonar surveys, commercial divers and ROV’s are also required to identify suspicious items on or around production platforms or turbine locations and cable routes during the pre-construction phase.

Major operators such as e.on have stipulated that divers who wish to participate in this area of work must first have undergone a suitable training course. The course will focus on awareness and identification of unexploded items and will include the use of diver-operated magnetometers.

The Aquascan DX 300 Magnetometer has been chosen for this purpose, as it is arguably the most commonly used in this field. The DX300 is a highly-sensitive detection tool which can pinpoint the location of suspect items underwater, even when buried.

The course content draws on Ramora UK’s world-renowned expertise in explosives detection and disposal. The PDA, which has a global reputation for delivering high-quality, internationally recognised training for divers, will offer this course as a bolt-on within its Premier Career Package, or alternatively as a two-day standalone course for divers who wish to expand their skills.

David Welch, Managing Director at Ramora UK, said: “We are delighted to be entering into this strategic partnership with the Professional Diving Academy.

“As leaders in our respective fields we see this as a perfect fit, combining Ramora UK’s expertise in explosive ordnance disposal with the PDA’s leadership in diver training.

Neil MacMillan, Training Manager at the Professional Diving Academy, said: “For commercial divers, this is an area that has not been covered in great detail by traditional training courses and this partnership ensures that divers trained by us can now be given proper awareness in UXO surveying, detection and identification.

“It also cements the Professional Diving Academy’s reputation as a worldwide leader in recognising the current trends of the diving industry and delivering the required training courses that enable divers to achieve competence in their field of operations.”

Ramora UK, based in Hampshire, operates a round-the-clock emergency helpline with immediate response to incidents by specialist Bomb Disposal teams. The company’s highly-experienced ex-military experts also offer explosives-related training services to governments, corporations, military and law enforcement agencies around the world.

The Professional Diving Academy is based in Dunoon, Scotland and delivers HSE accredited (IMCA recognised) offshore commercial diver training.

By Jake Frith

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