It’s the stuff of offshore operational nightmares: A ship, offshore rig or platform needs to be evacuated in an emergency. But down below, or in a bell or a pressurized habitat on board, are deepsea divers going about their business. How do you evacuate them to safety while keeping them in saturation to prevent the serious and potentially fatal consequences of an un-managed decompression – commonly known as ‘the bends’?
One of IOGP’s first publications of the year is a revision of Report 478 which tackles this dilemma by providing recommended practice on how to create and implement and effective hyperbaric evacuation plan. Report 478 builds on Report 411 2008, Diving recommended Practice by taking into account a decade’s experience and improved understanding of the importance of methods for the successful evacuation of saturation divers.
While the report does not provide technical solutions – which generally come from regulators, industry associations and classification societies – it does recommend minimum performance criteria for key aspects of diver evacuation. These aspects include treatment area locations and the provision and status of essential equipment.
This revision updates the sections on emergency drills and training and provides two tools to help users implement the guidance: a template for a Hyperbaric Evacuation Plan (HEP) – produced together with the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA), a Safety Critical Element Anayalisis for a HEP and an example Matrix of permitted operations.