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    IMCA unveils guidance on selection of diving vessels

    Publications // February 4, 2005
    Due to the limited availability of purpose-designed ships, there are regions of the world that frequently use vessels of opportunity from which to carry out surface supplied and saturation diving work. The vessels available in these regions exhibit varying degrees of 'fitness for purpose' and it may be necessary to clarify what is and what is not a suitable platform from which to dive. The range available may vary from a derrick lay barge to a DP ship, to a four point moored vessel. Each diving platformwill have its own characteristics that need to be assessed to enable the diving work to be carried out safely and successfully.

    With these challenges in mind, Guidance on the Selection of Vessels of Opportunity for Diving Operations has been developed under the direction of the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) Diving Division Management Committee by a workgroupof members active in the IMCA Asia-Pacific Section.

    The new IMCA publication provides guidance to both clients and contractors when selecting a vessel of opportunity for diving operations; it is not designed to be exhaustive, but is intended to cover the minimum requirements that should be satisfied.

    "Many countries do not have specific regulations that govern offshore diving operations and in such cases best practices should prevail which incorporate the client's requirements and specifications together with the diving contractor's safety managementsystems and IMCA codes of practice/guidelines," explains IMCA's technical director, Jane Bugler.

    "Our new publication provides generic guidance on assessing the suitability of 'vessels of opportunity' for diving operations and provides an indication of factors to be considered in selection of the diving support vessel (DSV)," she explained.

    "The guidance given in our new publication is broad-based and should be considered in conjunction with specific project requirements such as the type or nature of tasks to be undertaken; depth and duration of diving operations; environmental conditions;suitability of accommodation and messing facilities. From a marine perspective we recommend that the DSV be inspected in accordance with our Common Marine Inspection Document and the results of the audit reviewed to assess its suitability for the required operation."

    The Selection of Vessels of Opportunity for Diving Operations contains sections on safety; deck and working areas; mooring/positioning; accommodation and messing facilities; medical facilities; and additional services (encompassing communications; powersupplies; cranage; life saving appliances; fire-fighting appliances; other vessel services; and hyperbaric evacuation systems).

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