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Diving Techniques

1- Surface Diving
The variety of work that may be conducted by a diver is almost endless: - carrying out inspection or survey work - installation and configuration of equipment, - monitoring of an operation, - recovery of lost or abandoned equipment. Much of the work hitherto conducted by diver is increasingly carried out by ROVs (remotely operated vehicles - unmanned submersible vehicles) but there are still tasks which cannot be completed remotely, and which require human intervention. There are different types of underwater operations. 'Air range' diving or surface diving is limited to a depth of 60m. The technique is so called because the diver's breathing gas is compressed air. - Depth range 0≤ d ≤ 60 m

Wet diving bell at a dive school

2- Mixed Gas Diving- Saturation diving
Below 60m the diver must be deployed from a diving bell and his breathing gas is a helium/oxygen mix (Heliox). The diving bell maintains the diver at the pressure of the working depth, and mates with a hyperbaric complex on board the vessel. The divers live in this hyperbaric chamber, also maintained at pressure, for up to 28 days, travelling "to work" in the diving bell. This technique is known as "saturation diving". The bell is usually deployed through the moonpool, an open well in the centre of the vessel. A typical "bell run" would consist of three divers (two swimmers and a bell-man) operating for an eight hour shift. The swimmers are provided with all gas, hot water for heating, and communications through umbilicals connected to the bell and ultimately to the vessel. At present the practical limit for bell diving is about 300m. Depth range 60 ≤d≤ 300 m

Diving bell

Saturation diving
• Saturation divers can take a week or more to decompress after diving.

Diving bell
A diving bell is a rigid chamber used to transport divers to depth in the ocean. The most common types are the wet bell and the closed bell. The wet bell is a cable-suspended chamber, open at the bottom like a moon pool structure, that is lowered underwater to operate as a base or a means of transport for a small number of divers. The pressure of the water keeps the air trapped inside the bell. They were the first type of diving chamber. Unlike a submarine the diving bell is not designed to move under the control of its occupants, nor to operate independently of its tether. The closed bell is a sealed chamber, which may be used for mixed gas bounce diving and for saturation diving. This form of bell locks on and off the chamber where the divers live, by way of a closed door sealing the divers in at pressure. Once on the surface, the bell is mated with the chamber system and the space in between is pressurized to enable to divers to make a seal and transfer through to the chamber which is at the same pressure. In saturation diving the bell is merely the ride to and from the job, and the chamber is the living quarters. If the dive is relatively short (a bounce dive), decompression can be done in the bell in exactly the same way it would be done in the chamber.

Diving bell

Closed dry Diving bell

Closed dry Diving bell

1- Remotely operated underwater robotics 2- Pipe repair system

3- Pipeline 4- Diving Bell

A closed or dry bell is basically a pressure vessel for human occupation which is lowered into the sea to the workplace, equalized in pressure to the environment, and opened to allow the divers in and out. These functional requirements dictate the structure and arrangement. The internal pressure requires a strong structure, and a sphere or spherical ended cylinder is most efficient for this purpose. When the bell is underwater, it must be possible for the occupants to get in or out without flooding the entire interior. This requires a pressure hatch at the bottom. The requirement that the bell retains its internal pressure when the external pressure is lowered dictates that the hatch opens inward, so that internal pressure will hold it closed. Locking onto a decompression chamber at the surface is possible either from the bottom or the side. Using the bell bottom hatch for this purpose has the advantage of only needing one hatch, and the disadvantage of having to lift the bell up and place it over a vertical entry to the chamber. The bell bottom hatch must be large enough for a large diver fully kitted with appropriate bailout cylinders, to get in and out without undue difficulty, and it can not be closed while the diver is outside as the umbilical is tended through the hatch by the bellman. It must also be possible for the bellman to lift the working diver in through the hatch if he is unconscious, and close the hatch after him, so that the bell can be raised and pressurised for the ascent.

The internal space must be large enough for a fully kitted diver and bellman to sit, and for their umbilicals to be stowed neatly on racks, and the hatch to be opened inwards while they are inside. Anything bigger will make the bell heavier than it really needs to be, so all equipment that does not need to be inside is mounted outside. This includes a framework to support the ancillary equipment and protect the bell from impact and snagging on obstacles,and the emergency gas supply, which is usually racked around the framework and connected via manifolds to the internal gas panel. The bell umbilical is connected to the bell via through hull fittings (hull penetrations), which must withstand all operating pressures without leaking. The internal gas panel connects to the hull penetrations and the diver's umbilicals. The umbilicals will carry main breathing gas supply, a communications cable, a pneumofathometer hose, hot water supply for suit heating, power for helmet mounted lights, and possibly gas reclaim hose and video cable. The bell umbilical will usually also carry a power cable for internal and external bell lighting. Hydraulic power lines for tools do not have to pass into the interior of the bell as they will never be used there, and tools can also be stored outside. There may be an emergency through-water communications system with a battery power supply. The bell may also have viewports and a medical lock.

Hyperbaric chamber – watertight Divers enter the chamber

Welding the pipeline using TIG welding

3- Atmospheric diving suit
At greater depths than this, the work must be done by deep-water ROV or a diver in an atmospheric diving suit (ADS) must do the work. ROVs or unmanned submersibles are increasingly sophisticated units able to operate a wide variety of tooling, sensors and other instrumentation. Depth range 300≤d≤650m

An atmospheric diving suit or ADS is a small one-man articulated submersible of anthropomorphic form which resembles a suit of armour, with elaborate pressure joints to allow articulation while maintaining an internal pressure of one atmosphere. The ADS can be used for very deep dives of up to 2300 feet (650 m) for many hours, and eliminates the majority of physiological dangers associated with deep diving; the occupant need not decompress, there is no need for special gas mixtures, and there is no danger of decompression sickness or nitrogen narcosis. Divers do not even need to be skilled swimmers.

ADS
• The purpose of an ADS is to create a barrier which protects the operator from the high pressure of the deep ocean, yet does not prevent the operator from doing useful work in the ocean.

Supply of breathing gas to armored diving suits.
• There are two ways to supply breathing gas to an armored diving suit. 1- a hose from and to the surface In this case compressed air is forced down via a hose to the suit and flows back to the surface via another hose where it is expelled. The suit is cleaned of CO2 in this way. The method is simple but has disadvantages. You need extra personnel on deck and more space to leave over 500 meters of double hose. Besides this you need a very powerful compressor to press air down to, lets say, 250 meters.

Oxygen rebreather system.
• • • The diver carries a rubber face piece over nose and mouth. Attached to this mask are two hoses that lead to a flexible bag. This bag contains CO2 absorbent material such as caustic soda. With the help of non-return valves the diver inhales from one hose which has a pressurized tank of oxygen fitted to it. The diver exhales in the other hose. The exhaled air is lead through the breathing bag, the CO2 scrubbed out and passed on to the divers mouth via the first hose. He constantly re-inhales the same oxygen. Even the latest rebreather systems still follow this principle.

A seabed tractor or trencher may be configured to lay and bury a cable. These vehicles are tracked crawlers, built to be controlled from the vessel, with operators 'driving' the unit as if they were on board. These units usually move slowly, depending on soil conditions. In some cases an ROV is deployed independently, to record progress and performance. Trenchers for pipeline burial are much larger and heavier. The trencher is lowered onto the seabed over the pipeline and the DP control system can set the centreof-rotation of the trencher.

Rock Dumping Operations

The commonest need for rock dumping is to provide protection to untrenched pipelines.

Rock dump via flexible pipe and ROV

Rock dump via flexible pipe and ROV

Rock dump via flexible pipe and ROV

Rock filler bags

Pipeline Stability Concrete Matrix

Pipeline Stability Concrete Matrix

Upheavel buckling

Rock dump ROV

Rock dump ROV