Italian air force rescue crew trains at Fort William sub-sea diving centre

Italian air force crew members Beniamino Panduccio (left) and Massimiliano Lai with  Paul Bury, ROV Training Manager
Italian air force crew members Beniamino Panduccio (left) and Massimiliano Lai with Paul Bury, ROV Training Manager

By DARA BUTTERFIELD

An Italian Air Force Search and Rescue team has recently completed a training tour at The Underwater Centre, near Fort William.

Three members of the Sardinian-based team spent three days at the centre undergoing advanced, intensive and challenging ROV operations training, during which they worked primarily with the Centre’s Saab Seaeye Falcon observation class ROV.

Paul Bury, Training Manager at The Underwater Centre, said: “The conditions were at times very difficult but they got through it all well and the underwater conditions didn’t disappoint – they were black, deep, and there was zero visibility, which is exactly what they wanted and needed to be able to train properly in real-life conditions.”

A challenging simulated rescue was undertaken on the loch using the ROV hook, a specialist piece of equipment designed to assist ROV operators, latching and un-latching equipment safely for deployment and recovery. 

A dummy cargo was lowered to the seabed using the hook allowing the team to practice hooking and un-hooking the weight to simulate a recovery.

The Underwater Centre, at Loch Linnhe is a purpose built training facility with all the facilities required to provide its students with the skills and experience to succeed, as well as providing the subsea industry with the workforce that it needs, including an extensive pier complex, dive stations, A-Frame Launch and Recovery Systems, and Grove Crane systems with Tether Managements Systems.

* Meanwhile, Aberdeen-based Bibby Offshore – the North Sea subsea installation and maintenance group – has formed a partnership with the Aqueos Corporation in the US to jointly market their services to Gulf of Mexico oil companies.

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