Planning, Training and Competence Delivers Safe and Successful Results Diving using NITROX

Africa Diving Services (ADS) was awarded a surface diving contract offshore Nigeria in 2021. The contract required the planning for over 1000 dives of which the majority were to be carried out using surface decompression. During the planning phase of the project, it was identified that the safest and most productive means to complete the works was to use NITROX diving methods. A client requirement was to ensure that all the dive team members(divers and diving supervisors of approximately 50 personnel over the project duration) can demonstrate competency with this mode of diving.

In many areas of offshore diving operations, NITROX diving is not the first choice due to the potential hazards of working with increased pressures of oxygen on the surface and increased partial pressures of oxygen for the divers in the water. However, when planned and implemented using the correct equipment (built to IACS Class certified), safe work procedures that follow industry guidelines by trained and competent personnel, the benefits of using NITROX diving can far exceed the concerns. ADS implemented all the industry guidelines and best practice during the project, utilising IMCA D 048 and US Navy Guidance on surface supplied diving operations using nitrox, supporting all the divers and diving supervisors to complete the KBA Training Centre (KBAT) course – Surface Supplied Diving using NITROX (www.kbatraining.org/elearningcourse-18/surface-supplied-diving-using-nitrox), and ensuring that NITROX supplies which was all done by on site mixing was conducted safely.


This planning and preparation enabled the project that consisted of a range of tasks such as cutting out sections of 36" pipe and installing a mechanical connector, grit blasting, weight coat removal, excavation, spool installation, lift bag use, subsea rigging and lifting, bolt tensioning to be completed incident free and on schedule. The total diving statistics recorded demonstrate the significant scope of work with 1123 dives, totalling 56,569 minutes bottom time, with a maximum depth of 30m and a total time under pressure including decompression of 101,346 minutes, each dive with a typical working time of up to up to 56 minutes. Managing Director of ADS commented “ADS have many years’ experience with NITROX diving but the KBAT course was invaluable for supplying recognised certification to our personnel. The added benefit of on-line training made the course very accessible and flexible which synchronised seamlessly with our mobilisation plans for personnel. The training and certification gave our client the confidence required to go ahead with the project in the knowledge that competent personnel were employed. The KBAT training course was excellent providing a level of training assurance for our team and developing their knowledge and competence to help deliver a successful project.”

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