The incident

Namely, one end of the spool rose off the seabed in an uncontrolled manner. The umbilical of one of the divers was caught in the lift bag rigging causing the diver to ascend with the spool until the spool’s ascent stopped.

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Subsequent events led to the diver’s umbilical to trap between the spool and a seabed structure, which resulted in the diver losing his primary breathing gas supply. His secondary life support (SLS) was deployed and seems to have operated correctly, however this did not prevent the fatality.

Detailed and exhaustive investigations into the cause of the incident are currently underway along with relevant authorities and the client.

Recommendations

After the incident, IMCA presented the following recommendations:

  • All diving activities should be risk assessed and planned. The risk assessment and planning should include all key personnel who will take part in the work to be undertaken. Plans should be documented, unambiguous, authorised and communicated to everyone involved.
  • All aspects of the diving operations should be properly supervised. This includes ensuring that the risks involved, work to be done and emergency procedures are communicated to the divers before starting work at the dive site and thereafter, before each dive.
  • Make sure that the dive site is continuously monitored for changes to the task or conditions. If new hazards are identified or control measures are not enough, work should be stopped, and the situation reassessed and, if necessary, changed, before starting again.
  • Review and reinforce individual and collective responsibilities with regard to the management of equipment safety lines/tie backs, lift bags (parachutes) and diver umbilical and every individual’s duty to apply the ‘stop work policy’.