The UN’s International Marine Organization (IMO) is endorsing diver safety proposals from the International Organization of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP) and the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA).

The IMO voted to approve joint amendments to existing codes on diver safety which will harmonize the codes “with current industry practice.” No national representatives opposed the amendments.

Specifically, the amendments relate to two IMO documents: Code of Safety for Diving Systems and Guidelines and Specifications for Hyperbaric Evacuation systems. In preparation for the Maritime Safety Committee’s decisive meeting, both IOGP and IMCA carefully explained the reasons behind the proposed amendments. Leading those efforts were IMCA’s former Policy & Regulatory Affairs Advisor, Eleni Antoniadou.

Joint papers submitted by IOGP and IMCA and a presentation at the meeting itself also ‘contributed to the successful outcome’ says IOGP Safety Director, Chris Hawkes. “Our amendments incorporate the great strides that the industry has made in the provision and use of diving and hyperbaric evacuation system safety issues since the existing code was issued almost 30 years ago,” says Chris Hawkes, IOGP’s Safety Director. “Now the challenge will be to maintain momentum with our suggested amendments. IMO’s work on these will begin in 2020, with a target completion of 2021. During that time, IOGP and IMCA will submit to the relevant IMO subcommittee a full and detailed draft of the amendments we would like to see incorporated in the Organization’s Diving instruments.”

With that in mind, discussions are underway for a joint IOGP/ IMCA workshop in early 2019 to elicit and exchange views on the amendments.

“Ultimately, what we want is the installation of suitable diving systems on all ships and floating structures engaged in saturation diving operations,” Chris says.