JFD, part of James Fisher and Sons plc, has won a significant contract with Singaporean company Flash Tekk Engineering for the design and manufacture of up to eight Self-Propelled Hyperbaric Lifeboats (SPHL).

An essential development to improve operational safety standards, SPHLs are to be installed as part of the saturation diving systems on the new Red-Class fleet of Diving Support Vessels (DSV).

The SPHLs are currently under construction for Flash Tekk’s parent company Ultra Deep Solutions, the leading builder and operator of ultra-deep diving heavy construction vessels, which is a driver for significant improvements in safety standards in the offshore industry.

In the event of a major vessel emergency, each SPHL has the capability to evacuate the entire complement of the saturation diving system under pressure, safeguarding the lives of the divers and ensuring that the required decompression process can be carried out fully and without additional risk. The divers are transferred to a pressurized chamber inside one of the vessel’s SPHLs (located both port and starboard). They are then deployed with a coxswain and life support crew to deliver the divers to a safe environment where decompression can be carried out.

The multi-million pound contract includes scope for the design, manufacture and integration of up to eight SPHLs, six with the capacity to accommodate 18 divers and two larger ones for up to 24 divers. Each SPHL can operate at depths of up to 300 meters, and the craft is fully certified by DNV-GL.

To execute the project, JFD has teamed its Divex branded hyperbarics and chamber design expertise with respected lifeboat manufacturer Vanguard Composite Engineering Pte Ltd, based in Singapore. JFD’s Divex chamber and life support systems will be installed in the Vanguard–designed lifeboat, and Vanguard will supply the launch and recovery systems. The partnership will provide a market-leading product which will be available to all builders, shipyards, and operators of saturation diving systems.

Giovanni Corbetta, managing director at JFD commented by saying: "We relish the opportunity to work with Flash Tekk and Ultra Deep Solutions as they bring their exciting new fleet of DSVs to the market. This exclusive partnership with Vanguard also allows us to offer a new, advanced range of SPHLs to the commercial diving market, which will greatly improve the likelihood of the successful, safe recovery and decompression of all divers working in these operations”.

Further explaining the relationship, Alastair Bisset, Vanguard’s CEO said: "We are honored to be part of this partnership with JFD, which will create a market-leading force within the offshore industry and marks the start of a new generation of SPHL for the diving market. At Vanguard, we are committed to producing quality lifeboats to help provide a safer and more secure working environment for those at sea."

"This is a significant addition to JFD’s portfolio” Mr. Corbetta added. "It represents a key component in our strategy for becoming the number-one provider of rescue equipment and services to the commercial and defense diving markets."

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