Diving solutions for coastline and offshore industries

10th June 2005 By: abdul cook

Durban-based Dive Solutions – founded 20 years ago and formerly known as Propshine Diving – operates worldwide, specialising in the provision of accredited commercial diving solutions to many different industries based inland, along the coastline or offshore.

The coastal diving services operation is a twofold sector of the business. “One division focuses on marine civil engineering-related work, and the other specialises in a variety of underwater ship-maintenance-type services,” says Dive Solutions director Heidi Bransby.

In the marine civil engineering division, the company focuses its energies on port development or harbour-infrastructure-type improvement projects – such as those that recently involved the removal and installation of subsea caissons in the Port of Durban. Other work involved within port limits includes the removal of sunken objects that were considered a hazard to shipping traffic, trash grid outlet clearing, berth depth surveys, and marina mooring installations, repairs and surveys.

“The underwater ship-main-tenance division provides expert services in underwater ship hullcleaning, propeller reconditioning and super polishing, cathodic protection replacement; classification society-approved closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveys, cofferdam and doubler repairs, offshore anchor salvages and a host of other services,” adds Bransby.

The company’s offshore division also has marine outfall or desalination intake pipeline expertise.

“As a core focus of the company, this division is mainly involved with the subsea management of a number of offshore marine pipelines, to aid in the improvement of performance efficiencies throughout the operating lifetime of the pipelines,” says Bransby.

Examples of listed services include the installation of marine effluent-outfall pipelines, the installation of desalination or reverse- osmosis intake pipelines, flow assurance through adopting periodic pipeline pigging to dewax and remove debris build-up inside the line diffuser blanking and installations, maintenance, repairs and surveys to facilitate efficient control of pipeline discharges. Other work carried out covers cathodic protection surveys, supply and installation to control corrosion damage, subsea spool piece tie-ins, on-bottom pipeline stabilisation through concrete collar and mattress installations or trenching and burial, and pipeline excavation for repairs, surveys and maintenance.

In association with Marine GeoSolutions, Dive Solutions provides advanced underwater offshore marine geophysical survey capabilities, using the latest tech- nological advances in underwater marine geophysical survey and underwater CCTV equipment.

The types of surveys that the company undertakes include near-shore and continental-shelf map- ping, heavy-mineral and diamond- resource surveys, cable-route surveys, well-site investigations, swath bathymetric and vibrocoring surveys, marine geographic information systems, harbour development, wreck and pipeline surveys, seafloor or harbour debris surveys, marine engineering site and scientific diving surveys.

The inland diving services that the company offers, involve dams and hydroelectric power schemes – from surveys to cofferdam repairs and routine maintenance. “Integrity check assessments are carried out on all types of systems from splash pools to sluice gates, tailraces downstream for debris, buoyancy service gates, trash grids or beams, rack fins and screens, sealing strips, hydraulically-operated valves and pipes and scour intakes,” says Bransby.

Repairs and maintenance included are the locating, measuring and fabricating of plates for underwater grouting purposes, fitting of plugs into sleeve valves, cleaning or unblocking or removal of collapsed or damaged trash-rack fins, placement of plug-type service gates in front of bank silt outlets, stop log installation or removal, jetting, coring, drilling, welding, cutting, dewatering, pumping, pressure grouting, silt dredging and debris removal.

Other inland work includes leak detection and repair of reservoir linings, river depth surveys and bridge corrosion and scouring surveys.

Other specialist resources deployed on diving projects include a variety of basic underwater services, which overlap between each in- dustry sector.

These include airlifting, CCTV video or photographic surveys, nondestructive testing, blasting, coring, grouting, drilling, jetting, welding, pumping, dewatering, cutting, burning, blanking, plugging, sealing and salvage.

At the company’s head office in Southern Africa’s busiest port – Durban – a wide inventory of specialist equipment is maintained in readiness for swift mobilisation.

A full back-up system for each category of service rendered complements the primary inventory of gear used. Additionally, satellite offices are established at the various dive sites around the world in order to ensure effective project management and efficient service delivery.

“All projects are managed in an environment-friendly way, coupled with a strict health and safety management approach,” says Bransby.

Dive Solutions acknowledges the importance of broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) in the transformation of South Africa, and has adopted a strategy that will secure and potentially increase its competitive advantage into the future. “We have adopted a balanced scorecard approach to assessing our current BBBEE profile,” says Bransby. “As the commercial diving industry does not fall under a specific sectoral BBBEE charter at this point, we have broadly adopted the Department of Trade and Industry approach, in order to set objectives and track progress,” she adds. The company has taken into account the Maritime Transport Charter when doing its BBBEE assessment, as this is the general sector in which Dive Solutions carries out most of its core business. Further, it is interviewing and considering a number of BBBEE business partnership opportunities, and would welcome additional interested parties’ offers.

“We are working towards local and international accreditations that we will disclose within the next six months,” says Bransby.