Skip to content

Diver emergency decompression following construction barge anchor loss during tropical storm

A member has reported an incident in which a construction derrick lay barge lost all of its bow/weather anchors during a severe tropical storm. The incident occurred while the barge was in stand-by mode waiting on weather.

At the given time there were nine divers in saturation. When station keeping was lost due to the parting of the bow/weather anchors, the divers were immediately transferred to the hyperbaric rescue chamber. Given the severity of the circumstances, an accelerated emergency decompression schedule was initiated for the saturation divers, in co-ordination with diving medical specialists. The hyperbaric rescue chamber was not launched.

After a few hours, barge station keeping was regained with two anchors-handling tugs. Further to which, once matters stabilised, emergency decompression was stopped. The divers returned safely to the surface using the ‘routine’ decompression profile. Post-incident medical examinations on the divers were uneventful.

A full investigation is on-going.

Safety Event

Published: 30 January 2013
Download: IMCA SF 03/13

IMCA Safety Flashes
Submit a Report

IMCA Safety Flashes summarise key safety matters and incidents, allowing lessons to be more easily learnt for the benefit of all. The effectiveness of the IMCA Safety Flash system depends on Members sharing information and so avoiding repeat incidents. Please consider adding [email protected] to your internal distribution list for safety alerts or manually submitting information on incidents you consider may be relevant. All information is anonymised or sanitised, as appropriate.

IMCA’s store terms and conditions ( apply to all downloads from IMCA’s website, including this document.

IMCA makes every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the documents it publishes, but IMCA shall not be liable for any guidance and/or recommendation and/or statement herein contained. The information contained in this document does not fulfil or replace any individual’s or Member's legal, regulatory or other duties or obligations in respect of their operations. Individuals and Members remain solely responsible for the safe, lawful and proper conduct of their operations.