Hyperbaric evacuation in the IMCA spotlight

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The International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) has recently published the revised document ‘Hyperbaric Evacuation Systems (HES) Interface Requirements’ (IMCA D 051 Rev. 1); and an Information Note that demonstrates the importance of cross-industry collaboration of a topic as vital to safety as hyperbaric evacuation.

IMCA D 051 seeks to address the interface issues encountered when a diving contractor needs to remove its divers from a stricken facility by use of a hyperbaric rescue unit (HRU). It outlines IMCA’s recommendation of requirements for future builds, it is not written with intent to retrofit existing systems.

The guidance has clear objectives, as IMCA’s Technical Director, Jane Bugler explains:”In publishing the revised version of D 051 we are planning for the future; providing drawings and technical data that will advise and support all interested parties; recognising and reflecting current good practice; and aiming to gain recognition and total world-wide acceptance of the fact that the ultimate objective is that ‘every HRU will be able to mate with every DSV or HRF of any class anywhere in the world’.

“We recognise that this particular objective might not be met for 30 years or more, until non-IMCA D 051 compatible diving support vessels (DSVs), mobile saturation systems on vessels and/or barges; and hyperbaric reception facilities (HRFs) in use today have reached the end of their service life, but now is the time to plan for an ever-safer future.”

IMCA D 051 can be downloaded free of charge from the IMCA website at www.imca-int.com by members and non-members alike; and printed copies are available at £10.00 for members and £20.00 for non-members from publications@imca-int.com

IMCA and IOGP collaboration

IMCA published an information note in November ‘Guidance on the use of IMCA D 052 -Guidance on Hyperbaric Evacuation Systems – to meet the requirements set out in OGP 478 -Performance of Saturation Diving Emergency Hyperbaric Evacuation and Recovery’ (IMCA D 15/14) which clearly demonstrates the value of collaboration within the industry.

Jane Bugler explains the background:”In May 2013 IMCA published the second in its suite of guidance on hyperbaric evacuation – IMCA D 052 -Guidance on hyperbaric evacuation systems.This document provides guidance on the minimum requirements needed to achieve safe and successful evacuation of divers from saturation in an emergency and to identify the various factors that needed to be considered in the planning phase before diving commenced. It also provides guidance on the risk assessment process needed to ensure that an appropriate standard of safety was achieved.

“The International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP)’s Diving Operations sub Committee (DOsC) developed its report OGP 478 -Performance ofsaturation diving emergency evacuation and recovery. This report provides information on what IOGP members would expect to see in a contractor’s hyperbaric evacuation plan.

“To guide the industry on how to meet the requirements set out in OGP 478 using IMCA’s guidance, a joint workgroup comprising both members of IMCA’s Diving Division Management Committee and IOGP’s DOsC was set up as proposed by IMCA. A gap analysis was performed between IMCA D 052 and OGP 478 which identified some differences between the two documents.”

The information note is available via the members-only part of the IMCA website. Non-members can request a copy from IMCA.