Hyperbaric Reception Facility (HRF) Case Study

SEAFORCE HYPERBARIC – HYPERBARIC RECEPTION FACILITY (HRF)
Case Study – OCTOBER 2014


Test mating of Sea-Force Hyperbaric Reception Facility with a Technip Self Propelled Hyperbaric Lifeboat

Hyperbaric Reception Facilities (HRF) are used to provide a permanent onshore
environment for the safe decompression of saturation divers who need to be evacuated from a saturation diving vessel. Previously the use of HRFs by the commercial diving industry has been considered an optional item to have as long as an actual Hyperbaric Evacuation System (HES) is provided. For example a Self Propelled Hyperbaric Lifeboat (SPHL) used in conjunction with a Life Support Package (LSP). However with the recent Guidance on Hyperbaric Reception Facility which was published by IMCA in relation to (IMCA D 053), HRFs are now considered to be a fundamental requirement to form part of an effective HES given the length of time required to safely decompress saturation divers.

The completed Sea-Force Hyperbaric Reception Facility

The Challenge
Seaforce approached SMP to provide a full turnkey solution which encompassed a 3D design proposal, full HRF system manufacture, export logistics, onsite installation, testing and certification. As this project was a large undertaking for both parties, the key to the success of this project was to clearly define and agree with the client the design brief and scope of work to be undertaken. SMP was able to use its considerable experience in designing and developing of commercial diving equipment to provide an innovative solution that would put us at the forefront in the marketplace for our technical design and engineering capability for hyperbaric reception facility.

A number of design considerations needed to be accounted for in the design proposal. Firstly despite the physical size of the equipment, this needed to be transportable for ease of mobility including the rapid mobilization and assembly at the shore side facility.

As the HRF needs to accommodate saturation divers who can potentially be working at depths of up to 300 metres, so the maximum working pressure of the system needed to be rated for use at 30 Bar which is the equivalent pressure for a depth of 300 metres.

Another key element of the design which needed to be carefully considered was the SPHL mating trunk which allows the docking of the lifeboat (SPHL) or alternate HRV to the transfer under pressure (TUP) chamber. The divers can then transfer via the TUP chamber into one of the two HRF chambers which needed to accommodate up to 18 divers.

Environmental control of the HRF environment is also an important consideration for the well being and comfort of the divers housed inside the HRF. The monitoring and control of the environmental control would need to be integrated into the life support control panel.

In order to control the system a fully enclosed safe working environment also needed to be created to house the life support technicians who would be operating the system. This integrated life support panel would need to be able to control all 3 locks on the system i.e. DDC1, DDC2 & TUP.

Fire safety in the form of a fire suppression and activation system also needed to be incorporated into the design with the fire deluge system nozzles being external to the chamber.

Finally gas distribution, electrical switchgear, medical monitoring area were also requirements for the system.

The Solution

Read a report of the Sea-Force Hyperbaric Reception Facility Mated with Technip Self Propelled Hyperbaric Lifeboat .

View a Youtube Video of the Sea-Force Hyperbaric Reception Facility Mated with Technip Self Propelled Hyperbaric Lifeboat.

Read the technical specification of the Sea-Force Hyperbaric Reception Facility.

IMCA Making Waves – SMP Hyperbaric Reception Facility

Our Hyperbaric Reception Facility (HRF) has been featured in the June 2014 edition (Issue 71) of Making Waves.

Making Waves is the official quarterly magazine from the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA)

IMCA Making Waves June 2014

Click image to read full article

IMCA Announces Guidance on Hyperbaric Reception Facility

The safety of divers in saturation is of paramount importance. With this in mind, the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) – Booth S18 at OTC 2014 – has published ‘Diving Equipment Systems Inspection Guidance Note (DESIGN) for the hyperbaric reception facility (HRF) forming part of a hyperbaric evacuation system (HES)’ (IMCA D 053).
IMCA Announces Guidance on Hyperbaric Reception Facility

“D 053 should always be used in conjunction with IMCA D 018 ‘Code of practice on the initial and periodic examination, testing and certification of diving plant and equipment’,” explains IMCA’s Technical Director, Jane Bugler. “Indeed, cross references to this Code are provided where appropriate.

“Our new document addresses the provision of an HRF as part of an HES as utilised within the offshore diving industry, and aims to provide a comprehensive reference source, addressing the philosophy of what equipment and layout is required for an HRF, plus the examination, test and certification requirements necessary to meet agreed industry practice.

“This will apply anywhere in the world (i.e. outside the territorial waters of most countries or inside territorial waters where offshore diving, normally in support of the oil and gas or renewable energy industries is being carried out).”

The newly published document offers examples of good practice. It gives advice on aspects of an HRF that can be configured in certain ways in order to provide a safer system of working. It also identifies how inspection and testing can be carried out safely and efficiently.

The document has no direct legal status, but many courts, in the absence of specific local regulations, would accept that a company carrying out diving operations in line with the recommendations of IMCA D 053 was using safe and accepted practices.

Original Press Release from Subsea World News