Sea Technology

DEC 2018

The industry's recognized authority for design, engineering and application of equipment and services in the global ocean community

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Page 11 of 52 December 2018 | ST 11 In line with this, and as a direct response to the urgent need to drive significant improvements in safety stan- dards, JFD developed the COBRA rebreather set, which provides an advanced emergency bailout provision that greatly extends the supply of emergency breathing gas, providing a supply of up to 33 min. at a depth of 120 m. COBRA is entirely mechanical with no complex electronic systems that could potentially compromise its safety and reliability. Compared to conventional bail- out methods, such as the 7-liter/300-bar twin scuba set, which at 120 m provides 7.5 min. of breathing gas (based on a consumption rate of 40 liters per minute), the de- velopment of the advanced technology of COBRA is a significant step forward in improving subsea safety. Earlier this year, JFD delivered six COBRA sets to Bib- by Offshore in order to enhance diver safety, and since accepting delivery the company has successfully com- pleted the first deep test dives in the North Sea. Bibby Offshore is the first North Sea contractor to adopt CO- BRA, thereby setting a precedent for diver safety in the region. COBRA is expected to be adopted by a number of other North Sea contractors as the requirement for saf- er practice increases, and JFD has also attracted interest from overseas customers who are recognizing the bene- fits the system offers. The technology and capability exists in the market to- day to provide an extended emergency gas supply that will allow divers the best possible chance to get them- selves to safety in the event of an incident that could threaten their lives. It is essential when undertaking oper- ations of any nature or in any region that divers have the confidence that the companies they are working for will ensure the provision of a reliable, advanced emergency bailout rebreather capability that will provide absolute assurance that they can conduct their operations in the safest conditions possible. Self-Propelled Hyperbaric Lifeboat To safely return divers to the surface, all stages of the rescue and decompression process must be evaluated, and a capable provision provided to facilitate it in its entirety. Once the diver has left the diving bell, he or she is reliant on the primary rebreather function, with the emergency gas supply readily available as a contingency measure to enable a safe return to the bell. However, this is one scenario and just one stage in the recovery process. Saturation diving vessels (SDVs) require a rescue con- tingency for their divers in the form of a self-propelled hyperbaric lifeboat (SPHL). In the event of an emergency evacuation, hyperbaric lifeboats accommodate satura- tion divers for up to 72 hr. using onboard life support, during which time the vessel is transported to a facility where the divers can be safely decompressed. SPHLs are one of the main means of evacuating divers from a saturation diving environment in the event of an emergency and are an important part of the majority of modern closed bell diving systems. Prior to SPHLs, less sophisticated evacuation methods, including floating pressure chambers, were used, but the operators had lit- tle or no directional control, and these chambers often drifted away from the vessel, increasing the complexity of the rescue operation. Alternatively, diving bells would be lowered over the side of the vessel, however, this re- quired another vessel to rescue the stranded divers from the sea, increasing the length of time the divers remained at risk. Having access to an advanced SPHL capability ensures that divers can execute a controlled and safe re- turn to the surface while remaining at pressure, minimiz- ing the risk to the divers' lives. JFD has supplied more than 135 integrated and mod- ular saturation diving systems to clients around the world for the past 40 years, which includes some of the most advanced systems in existence. Through a recent joint venture alongside Singapore-based lifeboat manufactur- er Vanguard, JFD has increased its capability and is now able to deliver a new generation of SPHLs, which greatly improve the chances of a successful, safe recovery and decompression of the divers. JFD has developed a range of advanced SPHLs for the commercial diving industry that combine proven, high-quality internal chambers and life-support equipment with specialist hull construction, ensuring there is a robust and reliable emergency-evacu- ation-at-pressure contingency in place. The JFD SPHL (self-propelled hyperbaric lifeboat).

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