Autumn 2019

Pressure testing rescue operations

Teams within JFD have had a busy summer conducting test rescue operations for customers using JFD’s highly specialised and life-saving dive equipment designed to safeguard the lives of submariners and saturation divers worldwide.

This summer, the JFD team completed rigorous mating trials of its latest portable hyperbaric reception facility (PHRF) for global oil and gas company, TechnipFMC. 

In the event of an accident for any diver working at depth, there is always only a very limited timeframe available to provide critical life rescue and support services to them. But the PHRF system has been designed to be transported swiftly to any port where it can act as a mobile emergency decompression facility. It enables divers to be kept at pressure, but looked after and monitored closely – with access to medical care onshore as the decompression process is safely underway.

However, the effectiveness of such a facility depends on its ability to be rapidly deployed, and then to mate effectively with the self-propelled hyperbaric lifeboat (SPHL), also supplied to TechnipFMC by JFD, being used to transport the divers under pressure.

For this test, TechnipFMC’s SPHLs were lifted from a harbour and transported by trailer to the PHRF at the National Hyperbaric Centre near Aberdeen where the successful mating took place.

This enhanced rescue capability now provides divers with the assurance that every possible measure has been put into place to ensure their safety should there ever be an incident. 

Martin Robb, head of delivery commercial services at JFD says:

‘The health and safety of divers must always be the primary concern for any operation, and it is paramount that there are emergency measures in place which cover the entire rescue and evacuation process. Divers operate in challenging environments which can swiftly become life-threatening, and these trials are part of an ongoing drive to realise significant improvements in safety standards across the global subsea industry.’

Indian Navy trials

In July, the JFD team also successfully completed sea acceptance trials and training on the second of two advanced submarine rescue systems recently delivered to the Indian Navy.

The trials, conducted on the east coast of India at Visakhapatnam where the system will be based, completes the rigorous sea trials process for both systems. This represents a significant milestone in the £193m contract signed in 2016 to supply and support a sub rescue facility for the Indian Navy.

The successful test means the Indian Navy now has a full submarine rescue capability although the JFD team will continue to assist with training and trials for the foreseeable future.

‘The delivery and sea trials acceptance of these two new third generation fly-away submarine rescue systems ensures the provision of a highly advanced rescue capability, not only to the Indian Navy, but - crucially - to submariners operating all over the world,’

Says Richard Devlin, JFD head of global defence sales.

The submarine rescue systems have been specifically designed to operate at the leading edge of capability whilst also being optimised to be easily transported by as many different aircraft types as possible.

 

EXERCISE GOLDEN ARROW
In 2015 JFD was awarded the contract for operating and maintaining the NATO submarine rescue system in a permanent state of readiness, and in February the team successfully completed its eighth comprehensive submarine rescue exercise to mobilise the entire NATO Submarine Rescue System (NSRS).

The exercise, titled Golden Arrow, is conducted on a regular basis to ensure the NATO system is well maintained, and processes are as streamlined and as efficient as possible.

Cdr Chris Coles – NSRS project manager (on behalf of the NSRS Authority), says:

'The French, Norwegian and UK NSRS Authority was very happy with the conduct of Exercise Golden Arrow as a demonstration of system capability. It is important to regularly reassure ourselves that our rescue system is both safe to operate and being operated safely. The demonstration of DLARS was a great milestone and improves confidence of our ability to work in higher sea states.'

Once the exercise was completed the equipment was returned to HMNB Clyde where it remains primed and ready to respond instantaneously.

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