URS Background and History
Here’s how we started. Patrick Crawford launched Utility ROV Services in November 2013 to capitalise on a specialist ROV and tooling spread that had been developed to carry out commercial cargo recovery (salvage) operations. This is the recovery of high value cargo from sunken vessels.
During this time all aspects of the salvage business were undertaken by the same personnel.
The small team covered the planning and execution of the projects and the design, manufacture and operation of the equipment. As a result we developed a “whole system” approach allowing us to effectively streamline the system, getting the best performance out of each component. It also meant that the practical experience of equipment operation and maintenance was considered on the drawing board of any new builds.
The salvage operations were undertaken on a “no cure no pay” basis meaning if we didn’t succeed we didn’t get paid. Failure was not an option, our equipment had to be robust enough to do the job and work reliably. What we learnt from this is that cutting corners and utilising cheap components is a false economy – you always pay for it in the end.
Contrary to what would be expected of a salvage company we invested heavily in new technology as anything that helped us increase our efficiency enabled us to work more productively. In short it is the same as any project – time-saving technology made the job more profitable.
No matter how good pre-operational plans are – commercial salvage recovery projects inevitably produce the unexpected. When these unexpected instances occur it is not economically viable to bring in another vessel and system with different capabilities to perform a single task – so the UTROV system had to be capable of handling the problem without any outside assistance.
Commercial cargo recovery operations also involve multiple phases to be seen to completion. Ongoing survey is continually required during and between other operations such as cutting, excavating or recovering cargo. This has driven our multi-tool approach.
Initial salvage projects were carried out by divers. To increase safety and efficiency we changed to using remotely operated vehicles. Although we’re now delivering a service to a different market, our drive for safety and efficiency has continued with the growth of the company and remains as part of our ethos moving forward.