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The International Marine Contractors Association

Remotely Operated Vehicle Intervention During Diving Operations

AODC 032 Rev. 1

September 1992

The International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) is the international trade association representing offshore, marine and underwater engineering companies.
IMCA promotes improvements in quality, health, safety, environmental and technical standards through the publication of information notes, codes of practice and by other appropriate means. Members are self-regulating through the adoption of IMCA guidelines as appropriate. They commit to act as responsible members by following relevant guidelines and being willing to be audited against compliance with them by their clients. There are two core activities that relate to all members: Safety, Environment & Legislation Training, Certification & Personnel Competence The Association is organised through four distinct divisions, each covering a specific area of members interests: Diving, Marine, Offshore Survey, Remote Systems & ROV. There are also four regional sections which facilitate work on issues affecting members in their local geographic area Americas Deepwater, Asia-Pacific, Europe & Africa and Middle East & India.


AODC 032 Rev. 1

This guidance was reviewed in August 1996 and, as a result, it was agreed that no changes should be made to it.

The information contained herein is given for guidance only and endeavours to reflect best industry practice. For the avoidance of doubt no legal liability shall attach to any guidance and/or recommendation and/or statement herein contained.


It is common practice for divers to work close to, or be monitored by, an ROV. There are potential problems which can arise when ROVs are used e.g. entanglement of umbilicals ROV/bell/diver, injury to a diver through collision or electrical shock or his obstruction by the ROV and/or its umbilical in the case of a vessel positioning malfunction etc. Where possible in order to prevent or minimise these potential problems, it is recommended that the guidance contained in this note be applied.



Physical Protection of Personnel

Electrical safety is fully addressed in AODC 035 "Code of Practice for the Safe Use of Electricity Underwater" which must be applied. One requirement of the code is that line insulation monitors with circuit breakers are fitted. Any insulation fault must, however, be advised immediately to the diving supervisor. ROVs operating on voltages of up to 3.3kV have demonstrated safe use by following the guidance given in AODC 035 Areas of high voltage on ROVs such as terminations, penetrators etc., should be clearly marked so as to provide a warning to divers. Markings should conform to those already in use to indicate electrical danger. All thrusters should be fitted with securely fixed guards to prevent the ingress of a diver's fingers, umbilical or equipment.

2.2 2.3



Vessel Interface
There should be a direct communications link between the diving supervisor and the ROV supervisor (or pilot). In addition, the diving supervisor should be supplied with a repeater monitor showing the same picture seen by the ROV pilot. If the ROV is fitted with a tracking device it must not be used as a primary reference for the surface vessel's DP system whilst divers are in the water. Where practicable the ROV deployment system should be sited an appropriate distance from the diving bell, basket or taut wire launch positions in order to minimise the chances of umbilical entanglement.

3.2 3.3

4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5

A chain of command should be clearly established and understood by all concerned with both operations. The diving supervisor must always have authority over the ROV supervisor (or pilot) when dual operations are being carried out and diving operations are underway. 'On-site' operational procedures should be set up in advance and any subsequent changes properly authorised and made clear to all concerned before they are implemented. When ROVs are used to support divers, pilots should be experienced in diver related operations, or, less experienced pilots should be actively monitored by a suitably experienced ROV supervisor. All members of the diving and ROV teams should be made aware of the potential hazards and operational constraints of working with an ROV.

IMCA AODC 032 Rev. 1


The diving supervisor should ensure that: the ROV supervisor (or pilot) understands the emergency procedures for recovering the diving bell and the implications of these; and, emergency procedures for recovery of the ROV are agreed with the ROV supervisor (or pilot) and are understood by diving personnel. The ROV should only be deployed or recovered with the authority of the diving supervisor and vessel master or OIM while diving is in progress and precautions should always be taken to avoid the possibility of umbilical fouling. All ROV movement should be co-ordinated by the diving supervisor and the ROV supervisor (or pilot) and passed to the vessel master or OINI. The ROV should only leave when cleared to do so by the diving supervisor.




Operational Procedures
When a garage is used it will be untended when the ROV is at the worksite and generally cannot be seen by either the ROV supervisor (pilot) or diving supervisor. Its position should, therefore, be established. In areas of current which may affect both the garage and the ROV their positions should be regularly monitored to assess the danger of entanglement with the bell or its umbilical, the diver's umbilical or the DP vessel's taut wire. The ROV may be used to survey the worksite to assess potential hazards, and provide operational information, in which case it may then be used to guide the diver. In the event of the ROV umbilical becoming entangled, the diver may, if the situation allows, take instructions for remedial action from the diving supervisor who should liaise with the ROV supervisor (or pilot). It must be remembered that the ROV umbilical will be carrying electrical power and should normally be electrically isolated before any such operation. If the ROV supervisor (or pilot) is unable to determine the relative position of the ROV due to poor visibility, high currents or for any technical reason, he should immediately inform the diving supervisor.

5.2 5.3



ROVs can be-a useful diver aid. Their ability to visually monitor the diver has been shown to be a positive safety benefit. Practical application of this guidance should prevent them from becoming a hazard to the diver.

IMCA AODC 032 Rev. 1