Release date: 02 December 2019 

Rever Offshore case study 

Leading the way in driving the highest standards in safe diving operations 



There is nothing of greater importance for offshore divers than safety. Commercial divers operate in some of the most dangerous and extreme conditions of any industry. Particularly in areas such as the North Sea, they will conduct complex operations whilst continually managing the risks associated with working at great depth, in very low temperatures and sometimes in harsh environmental conditions. Saturation divers are highly capable and experts in their field, and are trained to recognise the signs of danger that may pose a risk to their lives or the lives of their fellow divers.

Whether through accident or circumstance, the risks associated with any incident when operating subsea are of the highest degree and cannot be overstated. Divers need absolute assurance that, should they need it, their emergency breathing gas supply will allow them sufficient time to return to safety, even in some of the most challenging and hazardous environments.

Rever Offshore, formerly Bibby Offshore, is a leading subsea services supplier to the oil and gas industry. The company maintains a strong focus on two key areas; safety and innovation and strives to be a leader in diving with the highest standards in diving safety, covering all aspects of its operations.

Last year, Rever Offshore successfully completed the first dives within the North Sea using JFD’s COBRA (Compact Bailout Rebreather Apparatus) set, marking a significant leap forward in diver safety. The company is the first North Sea diving contractor to adopt this advanced emergency rebreather capability, thereby setting a precedent for driving continual improvement and ensuring the highest levels of safety in protecting the lives of divers.


Setting the standard for the provision of emergency breathing gas

Rever Offshore has extensive experience in conducting complex subsea operations in the North Sea and beyond. The environments in which the divers operate present a number of challenges and these must be carefully considered, and contingency measures put in place before any operation can be conducted.

Should their primary gas supply become compromised, divers will have to rely on their emergency breathing gas provision to allow them sufficient time to return to the safety of the diving bell. In today’s industry, the standard for the provision of emergency breathing gas is limited to a few minutes, with variable performance and the duration of supply influenced by the diver’s depth, volume and pressure rating of his bailout bottle and breathing rate. Having recognised that the technology and capability exists in the market today that will ensure divers have access to a greatly extended emergency breathing gas supply, JFD developed COBRA, offering up to 45 minutes of reliable emergency gas supply, thereby ensuring that their divers can operate under the safest possible conditions and have the maximum possible time to reach safety.  

In March 2018, JFD delivered six COBRA rebreather sets to Rever Offshore, with the aim of enhancing diver safety within the saturation diving teams. Over a two-week period, the COBRA sets were operated at depths of 110 metres, and in all, over 30 bell runs were safely and successfully completed during the course of the dive operation. Onboard assistance was provided by JFD technicians, with Rever Offshore dive team undertaking both familiarisation and on-hand operational training. 

Rever’s divers also supported JFD in the CE approval trials of the COBRA set, ensuring the system was tested and certified under realistic operating conditions. As a result of the success of the testing and trials, Rever Offshore continued to support JFD in further testing and development of the COBRA sets. A further six COBRA sets were supplied by JFD to Rever Offshore in June 2018. The technology has since been deployed across all of Rever’s DSVs for operational use, with the company going on to safely complete over 1100 dives throughout 2018 & 2019.

The Director of Diving at Rever Offshore, commented:

‘The entirety of our dive team responded positively towards the induction of COBRA rebreathers. In particular, they emphasised the benefits of an extended emergency breathing gas supply, the ability to test the COBRA system at any time, and the apparatus’ ease of use with regards to weight, all making it easier for them to feel safer as they conducted their dives’.

JFD Managing Director Giovanni Corbetta said:

‘Enhancing the standard of subsea safety is JFD’s main driver. We have a longstanding reputation of producing the world’s most innovative, capable and proven diving equipment and technologies. By working closely alongside companies like Rever Offshore, who share these same values, we can ensure our products are developed in direct response to user requirements. After a lot of hard work, time and dedication from the JFD team throughout the development and testing phases, it’s a huge triumph to deliver COBRA to one of our most valued clients’.

COBRA was designed and developed by JFD as a direct response to the crucial need for more advanced bailout technologies that would provide divers with an extended supply of emergency breathing gas in the event of a primary failure. The set was released having undergone rigorous testing and has been granted CE marking status to 300msw to NORSOK U101 (Diving Respiratory Equipment) and EN14143 (Self Contained Rebreathing Apparatus). COBRA is the only commercial emergency rebreather system in the world which can satisfy both of these requirements. As a result, the system pioneers a new level of safety for divers conducting operations around the world.