Live and let dive
The Bluestream Group is a leading group of companies that specialises in air and saturation diving support operations, survey studies, rope access support and subsea services.
In recent years the business has experienced rapid expansion through its re-development of air diving operations in the offshore market, gaining it a reputation for excellence and service quality throughout the industry.
Kieran Pieters, CEO at the company explains: “First and foremost we have been very successful in re-defining the air diving support vessel market with our vessel, the Northern River. We are one of the first companies to re-introduce the potential of air diving to the industry since its popularity decreased in the UK market in the late 1980s. At this time many of the major operators switched to saturation diving vessels for all of their work. However, at the turn of the century we were confident that there would be considerable potential for high-spec air diving support vessels offering all of the benefits of a modern saturation vessel.
“Since then, we really have re-developed the idea of air diving support vessel operations, proving to many of the leading North Sea operators that we are able to run a very safe, highly efficient and economic operation with maximum availability, yet at a fraction of the costs of a modern saturation diving support vessel,” he continues. “The Northern River is a 93 metre air diving support vessel that features the latest stateof- the-art equipment and has a 1000 square metre deck space, which is extremely generous. To this we have added a secondary crane to give us a secondary load carrying capacity.”
This re-development of the air diving support vessel market, and the capabilities of the Northern River has seen the company expand rapidly in recent years: “In the early 1980s the business was a very small operation that was limited to supporting local drilling companies operating in Dutch waters,” says Kieran. “During the 1990s I acquired the majority of the shares in the business, implementing drastic changes, whereby we moved towards high-quality, highspec operations and customers, whilst developing the market potential for air diving services. This has been a stepping-stone, and we are now on the verge of operating a second vessel, with plans for a third already in place.”
The new ship, the Toisa Paladin, is available to Bluestream through a charter agreement with Sealion Shipping, and will allow the company to expand in the diving and subsea markets. “Together with air diving we believe that there is an excellent market out there for saturation diving, and think that the five year charter of thisnew vessel will allow us to really maximise our potential,” Kieran comments. “Following the recent naming ceremony, the ship is in the water and due to be finished by the end of February. This will then be followed by a month of trials, testing and commissioning to allow us to work her, and her crew, up to operational standards.”
Kieran elaborates on the development of the new vessel’s crew: “We are now focusing on putting the right team together and currently have a very strong nine man team that will be dedicated to the trials and acceptance of the boat. Obviously we are very aware of the current personnel challenges facing the industry, and are trying to address this as we add more people to the Toisa Paladin crew. We are aiming to have a broad core educational plan, whereby we give our young personnel training alongside the already experienced team onboard the Northern River with the air diving equipment, whilst at the same time they can also learn from the experienced team aboard the Paladin. In this sense, the overall aim is to introduce a flow between the two vessels, which will also create new positions within the company.”
As with any diving operation, Kieran explains that safety concerns are paramount to The Bluestream Group: “The bottom line is that safety is essential, and one of the key reasons for our success is that we have a very good record with very few incidents, accidents and lost time in operations. One of the keys to implementing such a successful safety programme is simplicity. We have a very rigid safety management system that is combined with a practical approach to educating our employees and actively involving them in various safety programmes.”
Reflecting on recent success, and the continued growth within the company, Kieran is confident about the future of The Bluestream Group: “The market is really booming at the moment, and we have been experiencing this in the best possible way – in the last two years we have doubled our turnover each year, which is an amazing achievement. We will continue to invest further in all aspects of the business, particularly to ensure the continued pace of technical developments and in-house training programmes. The foundations of the business are very strong and held together by a highly motivated group of people. With this, I am positive that we can continue to be a leading player in niche areas, and make a real difference to our customers,” he concludes.
The Bluestream Group
Services: Diving support services