The International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) set up an industry-wide workgroup during 2011 to develop guidance on hyperbaric evacuation. The work was split into five main topic areas: risk assessment, technical, operations, medical and standards.
Hugh Williams, IMCA’s Chief Executive explains: “The standards subgroup has focused its attention on the development of establishing common technical interfaces for hyperbaric lifeboats and reception facilities. The work, which has involved informal discussion with contractors and equipment manufacturers, has led to the development of a technical proposal that covers the ten main interface areas, including lifting strops, falls, support position, locating pins, the hyperbaric lifeboat (HLB) flange and its position.
“The proposal is not intended to be a standard as such but rather is set out as an industry good practice recommendation. IMCA recognises that the proposed recommendation could have far reaching consequences for our industry from the actual diver in saturation all the way through to the shipbuilder constructing as new diving support vessel (DSV).
“The current draft proposal, reflecting the operational requirements of a self-propelled hyperbaric lifeboat, rather than a hyperbaric rescue chamber, is written so that many of the elements will be common to both. Other areas, such as life support packages, are considered integral to the successful resolution of transfer and safe recovery of divers, but the technical standards part of the work focuses on the hyperbaric lifeboat and the hyperbaric reception facility.
“The proposal has been finalised and sent out for an industry–wide consultation including – users, manufacturers, class societies, oil companies as well as all those who took part in the informal discussions over the next three months. The resulting proposal will then be put forward as a recommendation for future builds. It will not be retrospective, nor mandatory, but provides a useful way forward towards standardisation and thereby delivery of greater levels of safe and efficient working.”
Those interested in seeing, and commenting on, the proposal should contact IMCA’s Technical Director, Jane Bugler, at IMCA email@example.com.
Full information on IMCA is available from www.imca-int.com and from the association at 52 Grosvenor Gardens, London SW1W 0AU, UK. Tel: +44 (0)20 7824 5520; Fax: +44 (0)20 7824 5521.
- IMCA is an international association with over 850 members in more than 60 countries representing offshore, marine and underwater engineering companies. IMCA has four technical divisions, covering marine/specialist vessel operations, offshore diving, hydrographic survey and remote systems and ROVs, plus geographic sections for the Asia-Pacific, Central & North America, Europe & Africa, Middle East & India and South America regions. As well as a core focus on safety, the environment, competence and training. IMCA seeks to promote its members’ common interests, to resolve industry-wide issues and to provide an authoritative voice for its members.
- IMCA publishes some 200 guidance notes and technical reports – many are available for free downloading by members and non-members alike. These have been developed over the years and are extensively distributed. They are a definition of what IMCA stands for, including widely recognised diving and ROV codes of practice, DP documentation, marine good practice guidance, the Common Marine Inspection Document (CMID) – now available electronically as e-CMID, safety recommendation, outline training syllabi and the IMCA competence scheme guidance. In addition to the range of printed guidance documents, IMCA also produces safety promotional materials, circulates information notes and distributes safety flashes.