Remotely operated vehicle (ROV) statistics for 2011 have been published by the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) as an information note (IMCA R 05/12). The statistics, intended to record personnel and vehicle levels, are collected twice a year in February and August. The 2011 figures show that IMCA members had fewer ROV personnel at work in 2011 than in 2010, and that ROV personnel numbers reported in August 2011 exceeded those in February 2011 by about 25%.
In February 2011 a total of 2, 410 personnel was reported to be involved in world-wide ROV operations (2373 ROV superintendents, supervisors and pilot techs; and 37 other offshore ROV support personnel) compared with 3, 018 in August 2011 (with the breakdown being 2923 and 95). In February there were 473 ROVs involved in world-wide operations; and 536 in August 2011 – Class III, work-class vehicles, were by far the largest proportion of the total at both times of year (394 in February, and 440 in August).
“The figures provide a snapshot of activity on those two dates roughly six months apart, ” explains Jane Bugler, IMCA’s Technical Director. “They do not include personnel on leave, sick or not working for any reason and only include those actually working on the two days of the survey. They do not take into account any major contract that may have been completed shortly before the days of the count, nor for that matter, one that may have started shortly after. They are divided by classes of ROV as defined in our ‘Code of practice for the safe and efficient operation of remotely operated vehicles’ (IMCA R 004).”
IMCA has collected statistics over many years for ROV personnel working in the North Sea, and in 2008 it was agreed that the collection of data should be widened to all geographical areas, and also to the types of ROV in operation. The purpose is to create a record and examine trends. There is a direct correlation between numbers of ROVs, team size and total numbers of ROV personnel. Since we are aware that many new ROVs will come into the market soon, this is exacerbating the shortage of competent personnel in this sector. IMCA is working with its membership to try to address this shortfall.
• IMCA is an international association with over 850 members in more than 60 countries representing offshore, marine and underwater engineering companies. IMCA has four technical divisions, covering marine/specialist vessel operations, offshore diving, hydrographic survey and remote systems and ROVs, plus geographic sections for the Asia-Pacific, Central & North America, Europe & Africa, Middle East & India and South America regions. As well as a core focus on safety, the environment, competence and training. IMCA seeks to promote its members’ common interests, to resolve industry-wide issues and to provide an authoritative voice for its members.
• IMCA publishes some 200 guidance notes and technical reports – many are available for free downloading by members and non-members alike. These have been developed over the years and are extensively distributed. They are a definition of what IMCA stands for, including widely recognised diving and ROV codes of practice, DP documentation, marine good practice guidance, the Common Marine Inspection Document (CMID) – now available electronically as e-CMID, safety recommendation, outline training syllabi and the IMCA competence scheme guidance. In addition to the range of printed guidance documents, IMCA also produces safety promotional materials, circulates information notes and distributes