Global hyperbaric rescue service

Global hyperbaric rescue service (GHRS) is a JFD initiative, to provide the international commercial diving industry with diver safety critical emergency hyperbaric rescue services.

Globally, wherever saturation diving takes place, there must be a hyperbaric evacuation plan (HEP) and hyperbaric rescue facilities (HRF). However, it is arguably the case that none yet meet the full requirements of the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP) report No. 478.

The GHRS will fill these gaps and effect asset sharing and partnering to provide a broad, cost effective solution.

One element of the GHRS is recovery of a self-propelled hyperbaric lifeboats (SPHL) in the event of a hyperbaric evacuation, and rapid transit to the designated port of safe haven. For the UKCS (United Kingdom Continental Shelf) SPHL-R the guaranteed time to first rescue (TTFR) is 32 hours, as shown in the timeline below.




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There has been significant progress in the last 10 years, but the industry is still not there yet. IOGP Report No. 478 lays out the requirements for hyperbaric rescue and evacuation planning, while IMCA D052 and D053 offer guidance. Interpretations of the requirements vary by region and environmental conditions, made up of a mixture of:
  • SPHLs / HRC 
  • LSPs 
  • Fixed and mobile
  • Recovery solution
  • HRFs ns 
  • Rescue ships
There is no consistent interpretation of the requirement and management of the risk. Solutions are driven by what is currently available rather than what is required.






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  • Safe management and recovery of a launched lifeboat is required sufficient that the complement can be safely decompressed. 

  • Equipment, people and processes are needed to be available and in place in sufficient time, in order to reduce the risk of injury and health deterioration during the recovery process.

  •  A cost-effective solution for all stakeholders.

  • Scenario based mapping, to identify all aspects of the solution and determine where the risks lie.
  • A JFD managed global hyperbaric rescue service, operated in conjunction with the submarine rescue service to benefit from its infrastructure and synergies.

  • Rational industry sharing of HRF and LSP assets managed by JFD.

  • Cost effective approach enabling savings to be made by both contractors and operators.



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SPHL recovery to port

The UK HRS will have four SPHL Davit LARS (Launch and Recovery Systems). Three of these will be located at ports in:

  • North UK 

  • Mid-UK 

  • Southern UK

The fourth will be a “floating” system for backup and training.

In the event of an SPHL launch, a Davit LARS recovery system will be  deployed on to pre-engineered “MOSHIP” vessels of opportunity. The MOSHIP will be able to leave port to recover an SPHL within 24-hours of an emergency being declared.


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The MOSHIP vessel will rendezvous with the SPHL and recover it onboard. The Davit LARS system can recover and accommodate two 24 man SPHLs if necessary.

Once safely out of the water, the SPHL will be connected to the onboard LSP (Life Support Package). The LSP will maintain a sustainable environment for the divers, and extend the time available for the MOSHIP to return to quayside and SPHL transfer to the HRF. In some circumstances, the HRF may be onboard the MOSHIP, enabling earlier decompression of the divers.

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The UK HRS will have four HRFs (Hyperbaric Reception Facilities): 

  • Three portable - Orkney, Mid-UK, Great Yarmouth 
  • Fixed - National Hyperbaric Centre - Aberdeen

Transfer of all occupants from the SPHL to the designated HRF will be achieved within a maximum of 54 hours.

Each of the portable HRFs will have a dedicated decompression-capable Life Support System (LSP), generator, medical support container and workshop container.