Spring 2014

JFD demonstrates submarine rescue capabilities

James Fisher Defence has been commended by the Royal Australian Navy for its leading role in a successful submarine rescue test exercise.

JFD has worked on the annual exercise, codenamed Black Carillon, since 2009. Each year sees a different focus: this year, the challenge was to deploy the James Fisher Submarine Rescue Service (JFSRS) by air to the opposite seaboard of Australia.

Project manager Stuart Irwin explains:

“The JFD rescue vehicle LR5, and Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Scorpio 45 were taken by air from our HQ at Henderson, Western Australia, to Roselle, New South Wales. The rest of our equipment was sent by road.” 

Meanwhile in Roselle, the mothership – Australian Defence Vessel (ADV) Ocean Shield – was being prepared.

“By installing four specially designed deck stools onto the vessel, we were able to mount the launch and recovery system used for the LR5 over the side of the vessel instead of over the stern. This avoided the need for costly stern modifications, and had never before been demonstrated successfully.”

Explains Stuart.

Initial trials focused on work-up of the system, including recovery of LR5 using the Scorpio 45 ROV. Then, a full ‘rescue’ operation was conducted with the crew of the submarine HMAS Farncomb, which was berthed at a depth of 112 metres. As part of the operation, JFD and the Royal Australian Navy’s dive team successfully went through a ‘real time’ 36-hour decompression cycle in order to demonstrate capability for providing services such as food and hygiene over an extended period of time.

Stuart adds:

“From mobilising our equipment at Henderson to returning it there, ready to be used in a real submarine naval emergency, this was a highly successful exercise for both JFD and the Royal Australian Navy. And we are delighted to have successfully demonstrated our innovative, cost-saving rescue vehicle launch system.”

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