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IMCA issues revised version of key diving plant and equipment code

World Pipelines,

The International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) has produced a revised version of ‘Code of Practice for The Initial and Periodic Examination, Testing and Certification of Diving Plant and Equipment’. The revision has taken place as part of the overall review of the DESIGN (Diving Equipment Systems Inspection Guidance Note) documents (IMCA D 023, 024, 037, 040) in 2013/14.

“Just as the name of the document implies, this code addresses the initial and periodic examination, testing and certification of all diving plant and equipment as utilised within the offshore diving industry,” explains Jane Bugler, IMCA’s Technical Director.

“Its aim is to provide a comprehensive reference source addressing the philosophy of the competent person and the examination, test and certification requirements necessary to meet agreed industry practice. This will apply anywhere in the world being either outside the territorial waters of most countries (normally 12 miles or 19.25 km from shore; or inside territorial waters where offshore diving, normally in support of the oil and gas or renewable/alternative energy industries, is being carried out.”

Diving operations being conducted in support of civil, inland, inshore or harbour works or in any case where operations are not conducted from an offshore structure, vessel or floating structure normally associated with offshore oil and gas or renewable/alternative energy industry activities are specifically excluded.

Good practice

The code offers examples of good practice. It gives advice on ways in which inspection and testing can be carried out safely and efficiently. It 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 this code was using safe and accepted practices.

Any company which wishes to do so is free to carry out its operations in ways which do not comply with the recommendations in this code, but in the event of an accident or incident it may be asked to demonstrate that the methods or practices that it used were at least as safe as if it had followed the advice of this code.

It is also recognised that other codes or standards exist. In the absence of specific local regulations, companies carrying out diving operations are free to use this IMCA code or any other suitable standard as the basis for their activities.

IMCA D 018 Rev. 1 is intended to assist manufacturers and suppliers of diving plant and equipment; diving contractors commissioning new build diving systems; personnel involved in diving operations; staff involved in the maintenance, repair, test or certification of plant and equipment; client and contractor representatives; vessel owners and marine crews involved with diving operations; all personnel involved in quality assurance (QA) and safety; and diving system auditors.

Balancing commercial consideration and safety implications

“IMCA has included recommendations in areas where there is a difficult balance between commercial considerations and safety implications,” says Jane Bugler. “It is recognised, however, that safety must never be compromised for any reason.”

The information is presented in the form of detail sheets each of which specifies the requirements for a generic item of plant or equipment, or a group of items, which are covered by the same criteria. This is the basis of the certification which the diving contractor normally maintains in a plant and equipment register, or records in the planned maintenance system. Only generic items of diving plant and equipment are addressed and the detail sheets do not include information on constituent parts of ancillary equipment.

Adapted from press release by Hannah Priestley-Eaton

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