After 18 months of work, IMCA’s Core Diving Industry Workgroup (CDIW) has just finalised efforts on revising and updating the IMO Code of Safety for Diving Systems (resolution A.831 (19) and the Guidelines and Specifications for Hyperbaric Evacuation Systems (resolution A.692 (17)) and has submitted its report to the 8th session of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE) which will consider the report when it meets in Q1 2022.
We announced in March 2020 that the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE) at its 7th session had endorsed a proposal submitted by IMCA and its’ co-sponsors, the Bahamas and the Marshall Islands, to establish an intersessional Correspondence Group to progress the revision and update of the IMO Code of Safety for Diving Systems (resolution A.831 (19) and the Guidelines and Specifications for Hyperbaric Evacuation Systems (resolution A.692 (17)).
The Correspondence Group comprised representatives from IMCA’S CDIW, together with representatives of Australia, Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States and Vanuatu together with the following non-governmental organisations: International Chamber of SHIPPING (ICS), International Association of Classification Societies (IACS), International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the Nautical Institute.
The Group was instructed to:
- consider key areas to be addressed for the revision of the Code of Safety for Diving Systems, 1995 (resolution A.831(19)), based on the proposal from IMCA and its co-sponsors; and
- develop a draft new diving code using the goal-based standards approach, incorporating relevant parts of the Guidelines and specifications for hyperbaric evacuation systems (resolution A.692(17)); and
- submit a report to the 8th session of the Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE) which will meet in Q1 of 2022.
The revision task encompassed restructuring the Code in line with the principles set out in the Generic guidelines for developing IMO goal-based standards based on three main aspects:
- issues related to ships or structures conducting diving operations;
- diving systems, including abandon and evacuation; and
- additional guidance, as needed.
The aim of the work was also to ensure that the draft new diving code would provide equivalents to SOLAS to fill in any regulatory gaps which were identified.
The Correspondence Group commenced work at the end of March 2020 and undertook nine rounds of discussion concluding in October 2021.
The focus of the revision exercise was to:
- strengthen the implementation of the draft new Code; and
- address the means of evacuation of divers in saturation.
Given the technical nature of the work, two virtual meetings were convened by IMCA to provide participants with an opportunity to raise any issues prior to finalisation of the draft report.
IMCA looks forward to progressing the work at SSE 8 and to finalising the new IMO Diving Code by 2024.