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ROV Operator

A remotely operated vehicle (ROV) is a tethered underwater vehicle. They are common in deepwater industries such as offshore oil extraction. An ROV may sometimes be called a remotely operated underwater vehicle to distinguish it from remote control vehicles operating on land or in the air.

ROVs are unoccupied, highly maneuverable and operated by a person aboard a vessel. They are linked to the ship by a tether (sometimes referred to as an umbilical cable), a group of cables that carry electrical power, video and data signals back and forth between the operator and the vehicle. High power applications will often use hydraulics in addition to electrical cabling. Most ROVs are equipped with at least a video camera and lights. Additional equipment is commonly added to expand the vehicle’s capabilities. These may include sonars, magnetometers, a still camera, a manipulator or cutting arm, water samplers, and instruments that measure water clarity, light penetration and temperature.

ROV Operator Job
The ROV Pilot Technician has the primary responsibility for the piloting of the ROV, maintenance and repair of the ROV system, implementation and monitoring of technical procedures and reporting, work management and execution of ROV operational tasks. Their job is highly specialized. ROV technicians are responsible for complex robotic systems, launching and retrieving them from the ship or drilling platform as well as for operating them at great depths.



Classification of Submersible ROVs
ROVs are normally classified into categories based on their size, weight, ability or power. Some common ratings are:
Micro: typically Micro class ROVs are very small in size and weight. Today’s Micro Class ROVs can weigh less than 3 kg. These ROVs are used as an alternative to a diver, specifically in places where a diver might not be able to physically enter such as a sewer, pipeline or small cavity.

Mini: typically Mini Class ROVs weigh in around 15 kg. Mini Class ROVs are also used as a diver alternative. One person may be able to transport the complete ROV system out with them on a small boat, deploy it and complete the job without outside help. Occasionally both Micro and Mini classes are referred to as “eyeball” class to differentiate them from ROVs that may be able to perform intervention tasks.

General: typically less than 5 HP (propulsion); occasionally small three finger manipulators grippers have been installed, such as on the very early RCV 225. These ROVUs may be able to carry a sonar unit and are usually used on light survey applications. Typically the maximum working depth is less than 1,000 metres though one has been developed to go as deep as 7,000 m.

Light Workclass: typically less than 50 hp (propulsion). These ROVs may be able to carry some manipulators. Their chassis may be made from polymers such as polyethylene rather than the conventional stainless steel or aluminium alloys. They typically have a maximum working depth less than 2000 m.

Heavy Workclass: typically less than 220 hp (propulsion) with an ability to carry at least two manipulators. They have a working depth up to 3500 m.

Trenching/Burial: typically more than 200 hp (propulsion) and not usually greater than 500 hp (while some do exceed that) with an ability to carry a cable laying sled and work at depths up to 6000 m in some cases.