MEMBER NEWS: New collaboration brings together high speed ROV capability and reduced costs

April 20, 2021
MEMBER NEWS: New collaboration brings together high speed ROV capability and reduced costs

Two Scottish companies, Aberdeen-based Underwater Contracting (UCO) and Gulfxstream from the Isle of Lewis, have entered into a working collaboration that will reduce costs of underwater inspection and survey.

The agreement sees the permanent installation of one of UCO’s observation and inspection ROVs aboard Gulfxstream’s MV Viking. This means the spread can be mobilised at short notice and, with MV Viking’s cruising speed of 20 knots and able to operate 60 miles from shore, rapidly transit to location, significantly cutting mobilisation costs.

Stationed at Peterhead in North-east Scotland, and servicing the O&G, renewables, decommissioning, and marine sectors, the vessel and ROV will be equipped to carry out a full range of specialist support services.

Depth rated to 300m, the ROV is fitted with sonar and underwater cameras. Additional sensors such as 3D cameras, laser metrology and survey tools can also be fitted to the ROV. MV Viking is certified to carry 12 people and, with ample deck space, means client personnel and equipment can be onboarded for a range of mission specific tasks.

Projects are envisaged to include underwater inspection of marine and renewable structures, hydrographic surveying, environmental monitoring and ocean research, search and rescue, hull inspections at sea or in port, emergency response for cable and pipeline damage identification, aquaculture survey and support, media and film production and even unique leisure experiences.

In addition, it can provide UWILDs, EOD and MMO support, seabed surveys, wave buoy deployment, salvage support and guard duties, equipment, personnel transfer and also for fuel transfer, thanks to its high fuel capacity.

The collaboration came in response to the impact Covid-19 is having on some offshore operations, creating a need for a fast, quickly mobilised service capable of carrying out a variety of tasks across a range of disciplines.

Calum Buchanan, MD of Gulfxstream, said: “This exciting collaboration with UCO comes at a time when there has been a marked increase in enquiries for our vessels for activities such as the servicing of offshore renewables sites, inspection of vessels stationed at sea, personnel transfer and similar tasks due to the effect Covid-19 is having on operations.

“The combination of the ROV and vessel in a cost effective package gives clients access to a single source solution for services, pre-mobilised and ready to work at very short notice. We believe this new way of working will bring efficiencies to marine operations for the future beyond COVID-19.”

Mick Bower, General Manager of UCO, part of Ocean Marine Group, said: “We are proud to work with Gulfxstream in bringing a solution to market that offers clients access to innovative technology and services from a highly adaptable platform. Giving them access to such a comprehensive range of services in one package will allow them to make optimum use of the time on hire to carry out other tasks.”

A rollout of the service to west Scotland and other ports around the UK is now being planned, a move which is expected to create additional jobs and further investment in the two companies. Two additional Gulfxstream vessels are ready for deployment for the next phase of growth, the GXS Valtos which has can operate 150miles offshore and the GXS Venturer, a high speed commercial RIB.

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AREG has played an important role in the growth of Scotland’s renewable energy sector, engaging the supply chain and developing the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. However, we are only at the very beginning of the transition that AREG was established to both lead and support so there are still opportunities for companies to get into the constantly evolving renewables supply chain. We look forward to continuing our work together as renewables builds on its place as Scotland’s main source of power, and as we seek to deliver real change in the crucial areas of heat and transport.

Scottish Renewables

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce has worked closely with AREG since its formation. The recent progress in the developments of offshore wind projects by Equinor and Vattenfall are as a result of the work of the group over many years. The north-east is known as the oil and gas capital of Europe. At the Chamber, we believe the region must evolve its position to being recognised as the energy capital. Whilst hydrocarbons will continue to be essential in driving our economy for years to come, the generation of renewable resources will play an increasingly important role in providing cost-effective power, innovative development and economic growth.

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Vattenfall has forged a strong working relationship with AREG through the development of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. AREG has worked tirelessly on behalf of the North East and it can take enormous credit for the growth of sustainable energy in the region and the path it has cleared for the region to capture further investment.


Aberdeen City and Shire is emerging as a key location for renewables by successfully transferring its world-class oil and gas expertise into the sector and AREG has done much to advance this through a broad range of initiatives. It has acted as a catalyst in driving further investment in the local economy by engaging with companies, Government, public bodies and existing projects and we have been pleased to support their efforts. Scottish Enterprise will continue to engage with AREG as we increase Scotland’s use of renewable energy.

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