24-man HRF upgrade completed at JFD’s National Hyperbaric Centre

  • JFD completes building work and system upgrade which enables the facilitation of next generation 24-man SPHLs
  • Alongside JFD’s internal hyperbaric medical expertise, this ensures the National Hyperbaric Centre remains one of the most capable fixed HRFs in the world
  • This enhanced capability enhances JFD’s commitment to providing a world class solution for hyperbaric reception

JFD, the world leading underwater capability provider serving the commercial and defence markets and part of James Fisher and Sons plc, is delighted to announce the completion of an extension to its National Hyperbaric Centre in Aberdeen which enhances the Hyperbaric Reception Facility (HRF) capacity from 18 to 24-man.

Housing the only land-based saturation diving system in the UK, the National Hyperbaric Centre (NHC) has worked in collaboration with North Sea diving contractors for nearly 30 years by successfully providing a comprehensive 18-man emergency Hyperbaric Reception Facility, connected to a DMAC 028 (Diving Medical Advisory Committee) compliant medical chamber, helping to ensure the safety of saturation divers in the event of an emergency.

In response to larger diving support vessels coming into operation, JFD announced in November 2016 an investment to extend and upgrade the facility which would take the system from 18-man to 24-man capacity to support next generation Self Propelled Hyperbaric Lifeboats (SPHLs).

Martin Robb, JFD Head of Delivery, Commercial Services said:
“The NHC is now the only enclosed and fixed facility in the UK that is able to support the reception of new-generation 24-man SPHLs. Our facility benefits from being connected to a dedicated DMAC 028 compliant medical chamber, supported by leading hyperbaric specialists, allowing JFD to offer the most comprehensive HRF and support package in the world.”

In order to enhance the system’s capability and better facilitate the mating of a larger SPHL, a new hyperbaric module was engineered and manufactured providing a critical link between the 24-man SPHL and the NHC’s decompression chambers. It consists of a transfer under pressure chamber and spool piece contained within a steel support structure with a bespoke cradle providing alignment and support for the 24-man SPHL. The NHC building has also been extended and it’s overhead crane handling capabilities enhanced to accommodate the larger lifeboat and now offers a 50MT capability.

All works were designed and delivered on time by a local contractor in accordance with International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) guidelines and Lloyds Register certification.

This investment has ensured that JFD retains its position as a centre of excellence for hyperbaric rescue by offering an incredibly comprehensive land based facility at the National Hyperbaric Centre, with portable HRF and global hyperbaric rescue services (GHRS) capability supporting diving operators within the North Sea and globally.

Giovanni Corbetta, JFD Managing Director said:

“JFD has successfully improved the standard of hyperbaric rescue through its National Hyperbaric Centre for nearly 30 years. Having one of the most capable facilities in the UK means we can transfer these skills and expertise to help support hyperbaric reception globally.

“We have recently added a portable 18-man HRF to our asset pool to help support remote diving operations and plan to further strengthen our presence and capability in key locations across the world over the next couple of years. We are committed to enhancing the standard of subsea safety and believe a similar level of hyperbaric rescue capability to what we provide in the UK should be available for divers globally.”