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How to survive at the bottom of the sea!

How to survive under the sea!

Commercial diving is a wonderful and fascinating world. How do divers get to the bottom of the sea, what do they do when they are there, how do they survive in the freezing cold water, how do they breathe, how does the ship stay in one place? Many questions that truly boggle my mind.

Commercial diving used to be one of the most dangerous jobs in the world but due to changes in technology and stricter standards being put in place it is now not even in the top 10!

Depending on the depths there are two types of commercial diving, surface-supplied diving or saturation diving. Surface-supplied is going no more than 50 – 75 metres sea water (msw) and saturation diving is passing this depth, sometimes as far as 550msw!

On board a DSV (diving support vessel) there are saturation diving/living chambers where the divers are pressurised to the same pressure in which they are going to dive. This can generally take 5 days either side of the dive. All areas which they are working/living in need to be at the same pressure or it can cause serious illness which can result in death!

So how do the divers get to the bottom of the sea and how do they survive? Using a diving bell, two divers are lowered to the depth they are going to be working, once they arrive one diver will exit the bell and get on with the days work ahead whilst the other will stay in the bell and monitor for any dangers, there is also an on board team in the control room which monitors both the bell and the divers. Each diver has a number of umbilicals connected to their diving suit. These are there to keep the diver alive. They pump in warm water as the temperature at the bottom of the sea is very very low. We all know how cold the North Sea is! The other umbilicals are feeding precision levels of gas needed to work in these conditions, this would be a mixture of helium and oxygen (more helium than oxygen, that’s another story!).

This is where Analox comes in. Due to the levels of gases needed for each part of the saturation diving set up Analox provide a wide range of gas analysers for the living chambers, the TUP’s, hyperbaric lifeboats and the diving bell. It is essential these areas are monitored as the divers need the right levels of gas for living and working. Our main monitors for this industry are our SDA’s, which can monitor levels of O2, He, CO, CO2, and more. The Hyper-gas MKII is designed for the diving bell and to this day Analox are the only company which has been able to design a monitor which is suitable for working in these conditions and monitoring for hydrocarbons which can be found on the sea bed. The Hyper-Gas MkII is mandated by The Association of Oil & Gas Producers (OGP) in their 411 Report which means that any diving contractor working for an OGP member such as Shell, BP, Total or Chevron must have a Hyper-Gas MkII installed in their saturation diving system.

If you need any further information on our diving analysers, please feel free to contact me (matt.lambert@analox.biz).


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