Resolve Marine Group – Angler News
Jhe word ‘solve’ has many definitions, but two of the most commonly used meanings are ‘to settle or find a solution to a problem’ and ‘firm determination to do something’. Both definitions fully apply to Resolve Marine, a global marine solutions provider with a strong West Coast presence.
Resolve, which has particularly large operations in Alaska, offers a range of services for commercial fishing boats, container ships and other types of vessels. They include emergency response, sea rescue and fire response, wreck removal, diving and underwater surveys, ship stability modeling and restoration, coastal erosion control and recovery, wreck deposition, lightening, towing and damage assessment services.
In an exclusive interview with Angler News, Todd Duke, general manager of the company’s compliance services in Anchorage, said Resolve has invested heavily in state-of-the-art equipment and technology over the past year or so. One of the points of attention? Drones.
“We just use them for surveillance and identification,” he said of the drones. “So if you look at oil on water and use an infrared lens on the drone, you end up (along with the oil) a different color. The water is going to look colder that oil (will) above water, oil of any thickness, so we just used drones to identify where the oil might be and the extent of the oil spill.
He said drones have proven to be a much more effective solution than using manned aircraft to monitor oil spills from the sky.
“They’re much more portable, they’re easier to deploy than a bigger plane, and of course if something goes wrong, you’ve trashed a $6,000 drone, not a $6 million plane with people on board,” Duke explained, adding that the infrared technology is also a big plus.
“We use infrared technology a lot when we’re looking at salvage (operations), we’re looking at oil spills, we’re looking at burning ships, that sort of thing,” he said. “Even though it’s room temperature, you still see the differences, so you can tell where the oil is versus where the water is, and that’s perfect for the night when you you can’t see anything at all. This makes monitoring much easier.
Resolve has purchased a few drones and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) over the past year as part of an initiative to improve operational safety.
“Over the past five years we have been steadily adding things and buying different models as our operators mature with some of the technology and you get good at it, so you either buy the sturdier and more expensive models or you run into a project (and) you also need different capabilities,” Duke explained. “We’ve purchased ROVs and rented heavy ROVs for a few projects. We’re really using robotics instead of humans, more often for safety.”
Resolve has made investing in technology and equipment a company-wide priority over the past two years, with total spend exceeding $1 million in the Duke area alone.
“That number is huge across Resolve, but in Alaska alone we have invested approximately $1.2 million in spill response and emergency response equipment” , did he declare.
In addition to its Anchorage location, other Alaskan cities and towns where Resolve Marine operates include Dutch Harbor, where approximately 40 employees work, and Kodiak, where the company has a vessel and equipment depot. In total, Resolve has nine equipment depots across Alaska, Duke said.
“All the way from Nome to Seward, if you will, and all the way to Dutch Harbor,” he remarked. “We have material scattered all over Alaska, we have material scattered all over the West Coast.”
“I have a depot and probably a dozen employees in the greater Seattle area, and then we have an engineering division whose department is in New Orleans,” he continued. “We have a large deep water port in Mobile, Alabama, head office is located in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, we have 22 equipment depots across the United States including Alaska, Hawaii and in Puerto Rico.
“And then we probably have eight more offices around the world,” he said. “We are quite dispersed. You must go to where the ships are and be available to them whenever you are in the emergency response sector.
“We’ve invested a ton of money in equipment here in Alaska and just built three new depots this (last) year for spill response; it’s more equipment in Alaska and more investment to protect Alaska’s environment and protect the fisheries, because if you have a major spill, the fisheries are going to shut down, and that’s an economic hardship for us all. And so having more equipment and more personnel and training is better than not.
Larger or smaller ships
Duke said when it comes to responding to emergencies, the size and type of vessel definitely matters.
“Towing a fishing boat is honestly a bit easier because the size of the gear is smaller. You’re dealing with smaller ships (rather than a thousand ton container ship where you’re dealing with heavy wire and stuff,” he explained. “We prefer to tow boats fishing; often they are dealing with something simple like nets or something wrapped around their wheel whereas large vessels often have serious mechanical losses which require them to be towed to a port where they can make run their engine or something like that.
“Bigger ships obviously require bigger gear, but (often) when a big ship – container ship or otherwise – has an accident, it’s far enough offshore and there’s time to get there”, he remarked. “Many times the fishing boats are relatively close to shore simply because that is the fishing area. And so it’s important to have the ability to get to them faster, as well as to make sure that we ourselves don’t get stranded or something like that because they’re out there in the shallows.
“Towing is pretty much towing (but) one thing is that the Coast Guard has adopted a rule over the past few years: you’re supposed to have a towing safety management system in place. What this did was that those fishing boats shouldn’t be out there towing their partners, as it’s a relatively dangerous operation that you need to be skilled in.
This was a reference to how, in 2016, the U.S. Coast Guard established inspection standards for tugs, known as Subchapter M. Under these standards, most tug operators had to obtain certificates of compliance under the new mandates before July 20, 2018.
Subchapter M describes tug safety rules for inspections and standards and options for safety management systems. The regulations apply to all U.S.-flagged tugs that push, pull, or pull alongside, with some exceptions. These include assistance tugs and work boats operating in work areas.
Duke said the regulations were necessary and helpful.
“There have been instances where towing vessels have tripped over the towed vessel – that’s called tripping your tow – and sinking another vessel. That’s the whole reason these Subchapter M regulations are in place,” he said.
“It’s like a friend towing your car or a towing professional towing your car,” he explained. “Towing your car by your friend on a highway on a rope often calls for trouble.”
Resolve Marine also participated in an assessment of an emerging technology, nanoparticles. The project examines the use of “nanoparticles to extract oil from the water column,” Duke said.
“There is a lot of work going on in the area of identifying and locating spilled oil, especially under the ice, but none of these technologies are commercially viable yet,” he said.
While he wasn’t able to reveal much more, he noted that other participants include the Center for Environmental Nanoscience and Risk and the University’s Center for Oceans and Human Health and Climate Change Interactions. from South Carolina.
“We talked about ‘this is what we do in a normal case (and) these are the situations where we think this new technology would be really useful to us,’ and then they come back and refine some of the new technology,” a- he said, “It’s very interesting.”