Creating an elite Bruneian team in IRM underwater services

|     Nabilah Hamid     |

THE life of working at sea is undeniably challenging for many of us – working offshore, bad weather, seasickness, and the most is being distant from family for weeks and even months.

Some may say, only the strongest at heart will survive, but people tend to overlook the opportunity it offers in terms of developing their inner skills and capabilities.

Though the oil industry began in Brunei almost a century ago, many Bruneians have been shy in taking up many of the challenging tasks offshore. The demand of the works involved in Inspection, Repair and Maintenance (IRM) has been one of them.

This is why at Kreuz Subsea (B) Sdn Bhd, training the Bruneians is a priority. With greater exposure and opportunity in the IRM industry, Kreuz Subsea placed hopes in hiring locals, especially graduates. They believe the new generation has the capability to share new ideas in developing the industry. Not only to contribute their efforts but also to see them progress to supervisory positions.

In addition to being a contractor member of the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA), an internationally recognised organisation, Kreuz integrates the industry’s best practices and international standards to train its people. Kreuz’s involvement in IRM work engages in Inspection, Repair and Maintenance of offshore assets as well as underwater surveys. To cater to this job, Kreuz has its own equipment such as a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) and Hyperbaric Reception Facility.

Local diver, Saifulrizal, in his diving suit with colleagues
A diver performing an underwater inspection
Nazujrin Zahini, a data recorder, at his working station

Kreuz also has a vessel specifically built for subsea IRM works and is expected to enter Brunei waters late this year. The Diving Support vessel, Kreuz Challenger is capable of Air, Saturation and ROV work.

“Kreuz Subsea is a great platform to develop a career as an air diver. The company provides training and on-the-job exposure not limited to a diver but other disciplines as well such as construction and inspection,” said 27-year-old trainee air diver, Ahmad Wafi. Being only a year as a trainee, he has seen a lot of new things during his days at offshore. Though he found some tasks quite challenging, the positive team spirit has kept him motivated.

As part of a career progression plan, Kreuz aims to train its people by defining their strengths and weaknesses to encourage them to demonstrate their level of competencies not only in Brunei but also for overseas projects. Today, Kreuz Subsea has 56 Bruneians working for the company where trainees are graduates from both local and non-local institutions.

‘In the next five to 10 years, I would like to see myself working in international waters’ – Haji Khairuddin Zaini

Haji Khairuddin Zaini, one of the trainee data recorders, a recent Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) graduate majoring in Environmental Studies, said he joined Kreuz Subsea for the opportunity of being among the few who specialised as Underwater Inspection Engineer.

Another trainee data recorder, Azhar Hakeem said he sees his career as an opportunity especially when he heard that Kreuz Subsea is one of the leading subsea service providers in the oil and gas industry.

‘My role as an ROV pilot is not only to monitor from the screen but gives me the privilege to witness underwater structures and various marine life’ – Abdul Hakiim Hasan

Meanwhile, Abdul Hakiim Hasan, a trainee ROV pilot/technician, who graduated from Sheffield University, personally advised graduates to apply and join Kreuz Subsea because, in a short span, the company has offered him many opportunities to learn new skills and compelled him to push himself out of his comfort zone while working offshore.

As for the more experienced Inspection team members, Ridhwan Karim and Akmal Mansor, who are both local graduates, each of them has undergone a challenging journey at Kreuz Subsea.

Ridhwan said that having a good mentor and the never fading interest is the key that kept his team going strong. The 30-year-old data recorder/reporting engineer hopes to be in the managerial position to set an example to all Bruneians that perseverance, sacrifices, patience and hard work do pay off.

The IRM underwater services are a vital component in ensuring uninterrupted production of our oil and gas. For Akmal, working under Kreuz Subsea gave him the satisfaction that he is contributing to the nation’s main source of income as well as acquire knowledge and skills from the seasonal expatriates.

“Strive and struggle,” said Fikri Johari, a 23-year-old air diver. With the support and motivation from his family, he was able to cope with the extreme conditions working at sea. He has prepared himself mentally and physically for upcoming challenges at Kreuz Subsea.

In the years to come, Kreuz Subsea would like to see many locals achieve work experience and job knowledge through continuous training and exposure. The company aspires to see many Bruneians fill up the many supervisory positions within the organisation.