Diving supervisor certification – mutual recognition agreements

This note updates information previously provided in IMCA D 04/07 (TCPC 06/07) to reflect an extension of the Canadian agreement (section 2).

Contractors need to ensure that personnel working for them in safety-critical positions are fully trained and competent to carry out their roles.

To assist members, IMCA runs its internationally accepted offshore diving supervisor certification scheme which was set up in 1987.  The scheme involves attendance at an approved training course, logged experience as a trainee diving supervisor and a written examination.  Around 2000 certificates have been issued to date.  IMCA certificates have long been recognised around the world as an important qualification and a vital aid when companies are seeking to employ new supervisors for their operations.  They also assist the free movement of personnel, enhancing flexibility for both employers and supervisors alike.

In some areas of the world offshore diving is subject to specific regulation.  IMCA has developed optional legislation modules to cover these local requirements and successful candidates’ certificates are endorsed to show which modules have been passed.  Currently such modules exist for Norway and the UK.

IMCA is pleased to report that it has entered into mutual recognition arrangements with two national bodies following review of their certification scheme requirements (and their review of the IMCA requirements).  This will further aid both diving contractors and diving supervisors by providing clarity and portability.  Discussions are continuing with other organisations regarding further recognition agreements.

1       Australia

IMCA and the Australian Diver Accreditation Scheme (ADAS) signed a memorandum of understanding on 18 January 2007.  A copy of the memorandum is attached, but the key phrase is that “IMCA and ADAS accept that their offshore diving supervisor qualifications are equivalent and accept the certification issued by the organisations in respect to their schemes as proof of meeting the requirements to undertake supervision of diving operations subject to a demonstration of knowledge in the areas requiring the appropriate additional legislative modules”.

The main points are:

  • ADAS offshore diving supervisor certificates issued from the start date of the ADAS scheme of 1 July 2007 will be recognised for the purposes of compliance with IMCA guidance; and
  • IMCA offshore diving supervisor certificates are accepted by ADAS;
  • ADAS has already issued some certificates under its ‘grandparenting’ arrangements.  These certificates are now recognised by IMCA for the purposes of IMCA guidance.
    An Australian legislative module is under development by ADAS.  Further details will be provided in due course.

2       Canada

IMCA and the Diver Certification Board of Canada (DCBC) signed an updated memorandum of understanding on 4 March 2009, which extends the agreement to include DCBC bell diving supervisors.  A copy of the memorandum is attached, but the key phrase is that “IMCA and DCBC accept that each other’s offshore diving supervisor qualifications are equivalent and accept the certification issued by the organisations in respect to their schemes as proof of meeting the requirements to undertake supervision of diving operations subject to a demonstration of knowledge in the areas requiring the appropriate legislative modules.”

The main points are:

  • DCBC offshore air and bell diving supervisor certificate issued from the start date of the DCBC scheme of 1 April 2007 will be recognised for the purposes of compliance with IMCA guidance; and
  • IMCA offshore diving supervisor certificates are accepted by DCBC.

3       Netherlands

IMCA and the Netherlands Diving Centre (NDC) signed a memorandum of understanding on 6 April 2005.  A copy of the memorandum is attached.  This sets out:

  • the special requirements for qualified IMCA offshore diving supervisors to gain an NDC certificate for working in Dutch waters;
  • the requirements for qualified NDC supervisors to be recognised under the IMCA International Code of Practice for Offshore Diving in Dutch waters only; and
  • the requirements for qualified NDC supervisors to gain an IMCA offshore diving supervisor certificate.