Underwater Welding School - Divers Institute of Technology
Divers Institute of Technology

Established 1968 – Veteran Owned & Operated

Jumping into International Waters Part II: Projects

Want to travel the world?

Some commercial divers do it on a regular basis – and they get paid for it. It’s not all sunshine and tropical fish, though. In our previous story, we learned what it takes to work in another country. Divers should pay close attention to the requirements, correct training and cultural nuances.

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Diver working off the coast of Malaysia

In addition, most projects take place in an offshore environment. Offshore commercial divers must meet international standards in safety and certification. They also work a different schedule than inland divers.

Several graduates of the Divers Institute of Technology (DIT) have worked in international settings, and they’ve gained lots of insight from their time overseas. We spoke with three of them to learn a little more about projects they were involved in and the experience they brought back with them.

International Diving Projects

Positioning Pipes in Venezuela

Welden worked offshore from Venezuela, and he installed pipelines and platforms. It began in the spring and finished up in the fall. Welden worked primarily in the same capacity as a deck foreman: performing surface dives, inspecting and repairing.

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Welden Offshore in South America

Traveling to the project site was a process all it’s own.

“First I flew into the island of Aruba, then I’d take boat to Venezuelan dock then get cleared. Finally, I could be transported to the work vessel,” Welden says.

Onsite, Welden worked with a variety of internationals – not just Venezuelans. The group included Russians, Germans, Malaysians and Scottish along with a few Americans.

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Some of Welden’s International Team of Co-workers

“ All communications take place over radio and are required to be in English, whether topside or in the water. in work or on water are required to be in English. Still, sometimes they use shorthand for certain terms which can be difficult to understand.”

Welden had to make sure he converted to the metric system in all measurements, and when he needed a specialized tool.

“Sometimes, you’d just have to create something from nothing. Everything’s exposed to salt water over a period of time, and you just have to improvise and work with what you have; occasionally we’d get the welders to create tools for us.”

The overall project was a result of extraordinary teamwork: A German engineer communicating with a Russian crane operator, Venezuelan surface support speaking with American divers – different nations working together in all capacities.

Cleaning Ship Hulls and Barges in Japan

Nioshi’s job takes place in several areas of Japan – Yokosuka and Sasebo.

In both cases, Nioshi’s company operates from the U.S. Naval Ship Repair Facility (SRF).

“We are in charge of cleaning the hulls of the naval ships,” Nioshi says.

His schedule varies, and depending on the project, it may take up to five days. On average, Nioshi works 8am – 4pm.

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Nioshi’s Jobsite in Japan

But conditions aren’t always perfect.

“I learn as fast as I can, and there is a plenty of challenges everyday. The visibility is about five feet on good days. I’m always trying to improve.”

On-site, Nioshi and his team work primarily with Americans. Some Japanese are involved as well. Since Nioshi speaks both languages fluently, he hasn’t encountered any communication barrier.

Platforms, Pipelines & More in Malaysia

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Jadon and a colleague on the job

Jadon’s travels have taken him into the Far East to Malaysia, situated between Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.

With offshore work, pipelines are often involved. Jadon has helped install these pipes through a series of steps:

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One of Jadon’s jobsites in Southeast Asia

First, the pipeline must be installed close to the offshore platform. Then, divers and engineers measure the distance between the two objects. Topside welders assist in providing divers with spooling to flange the pipeline and keep it in a stable position.

“Most projects run from 30 days to a year, depending on the job,” Jadon says. He noted that usually a multitude of nationalities and languages are represented on his jobs, though the English language is used for universal communication.

“You never know what the visibility will be like until you get in the water.”

Facing Adventure Head-on

At the end of the day, the rewards of international work far outweigh the cons. These projects provide new challenges and an endless capacity for experience gained on and off the clock.

These international projects are just a few the escapades available to divers. The right skills, connections and a strong resume or CV can take a diver to new depths in the global world of underwater construction.

Matt, Creator of Water Welders

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