By Rachel Brown
Underwater Intervention is a not-for-profit industry conference and exhibition, jointly owned by the Association of Diving Contractors International and the ROV Committee of the Marine Technology Society. Until the early 1990s, these two nonprofit, professional organizations hosted separate conferences—ROV Intervention and the Diving Symposium. The increased common ground between the commercial diving and ROV (remotely operated vehicles) industries created an atmosphere ripe for a merger of the two conferences.
Underwater Intervention 2020 took place from February 4-6, 2020, at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. Through the turmoil of the past several years within the industry, UI 2020 continues to be the go-to event, drawing attendees for three days of networking, exhibiting and education.
Jordan Buck, Exelon Corp., first-time attendee in 2020 says, “New Orleans is considered the mecca of diving and it feels great to be meeting and interacting with so many people in the industry.”
This is the fourth year that UI has been managed by Naylor Event Solutions and the show continues to evolve and improve under that management. “Since Naylor Event Solutions came on board in 2016 they have been instrumental in having us reformat, rebrand and really refresh Underwater Intervention,” says ADCI Executive Director Phil Newsum.
Again this year, the show featured a twoday discussion of the 2025 Offshore Oilfield hosted by BP. Tuesday saw an Operator Panel discussing in which select operators shared and discussed their wants and needs to the service companies who, through collaborative, performance-driven relationships, will deliver the step change in technology. Mark Siegmund, Sr. Subsea Systems Technical Specialist, was moderator of the panel.
On Wednesday, the discussion was a Service Company Panel, in response to the Operator Panel discussion from Tuesday. Select service companies shared their vision and thoughts on the requirements discussed during the operator panel discussion.
The UI Think Tank, conveniently located on the show floor, hosted a variety of sessions on industry challenges and best practices that span the industry. This year’s Think Tank featured presentations including: A Decommissioning Panel Discussion, moderated by Chuck Webb, president of the Webb Group; and Future of Subsea Intervention by Donna Kocak, Harris Corp.
While the UI Think Tank, Suppliers Solutions and Technology Showcase all took place on the UI Exhibit Floor, exhibitors were showcasing their products and educating customers on the breakthroughs made in the underwater industry.
One of the prime networking opportunities of the conference came at the Early Bird Reception, which was sponsored by Broco Rankin. Another special event took place on Tuesday, February 4, as the Underwater Intervention Annual Awards Dinner was hosted at the Hampton Inn & Suites across from the convention center. This annual tradition brought the industry together to celebrate both the future of the industry as well as its storied past, as both the MTS ROV Committee and the ADCI recognized scholarship winners and award recipients for 2019 as well as the induction of the new class of the Commercial Diving Hall of Fame.
Patrick L. Lahey, President and Co-founder of Triton Submarines, gave the evening’s keynote presentation, discussing some field operations and subsea technology.
After Lahey’s keynote address, Chuck Richards, Chairman of the MTS ROV Committee, recognized the association’s award winners, including the MTS-ROV Committee 2020 Academic Excellence Award to Mark Atherton of Kongberg Mesotech.
ADCI Executive Director Phil Newsum then took the stage to recognize this year’s ADCI Scholarship Winners Bridget Browne, sponsored by Collins Engineering Inc., and Emma Thomas, sponsored by Morgan City Rentals. He then proceeded to introduce the 2020 Class of the Commercial Diving Hall of Fame: Randy Abadie, Jim Elliott and Richard Fryburg
Also, a popular element of Underwater Intervention continue to be the technical tracks. Over the course of the three days, UI20 hosted educational sessions on topics that included: AUV & ASVs, Marine Education, Manned Submersibles, Commercial Diving, Instruments & Sensors/Ocean Research & Marine Archaeology and ROVs.
Stay tuned for more information about the exciting future of Underwater Intervention. We will take the next year to prepare for UI 2022 and keep you posted with further details.