JFD has launched a Compact Bailout Rebreathing Apparatus to improve safety for saturation divers
Improving safety for saturation divers was the motivation behind JFD’s Compact Bailout Rebreathing Apparatus (COBRA), which was used for the first time in the North Sea in April this year by Bibby Offshore.
Its manufacturer reports that it is the only commercial emergency rebreather system in the world to have been granted CE Marking status to NORSOK U101 (Diving Respiratory Equipment) and EN14143 (Self Contained Rebreathing Apparatus). It is part of the company’s Divex range of rebreathers and is designed to be smaller than most bailout systems.
It has been developed to provide up to 45 minutes of fully independent breathing gas, allowing a diver to return to the safety of the bell in an emergency. Its operation is completely mechanical and can be turned on and off as a pre-dive check. In the Norwegian sector of the North Sea, divers must have a minimum of 10 minutes of emergency breathing gas.
COBRA complements JFD’s Secondary Life Support (SLS) rebreather bailout system for commercial divers, but “there is now a recognition that an extended bailout breathing facility should be available to all divers, not only to those operating at depths greater than 200 m, but also in the depths more common in the world’s oilfields – typically 50-200 m,” the company’s literature says.
Bibby Offshore supported COBRA’s testing during 2017 and provided it to its divers during a contract with BP, which involved working at depths of up to 110 m. In a statement at the time, Bibby Offshore chief executive Howard Woodcock said that it significantly enhances the time its saturation divers have to return to the diving bell in an emergency. “[It is] a step-change in improving subsea safety and one we will adopt in the future across our fleet,” he said.