A Message From The Executive Director

phil newsum

I hope you enjoy this edition of Underwater.

Since my last message, several developments have taken place. Probably the most notable were the two student fatalities that occurred at Commercial Divers Academy (CDA) in Jacksonville, Fla. I am going to use this platform (as well as others) to communicate to the industry on how the ADCI addresses fatalities and all incidents that trigger our membership review process. In mid-April, a student drowned while participating in an underwater welding/burning exercise at the school. In one of the media reports on the student fatality, it came out that the school had experienced a previous fatality during a SCUBA training exercise. This fatality occurred in late February 2022, and was not reported to the ADCI office, as required. As unusual as it is to experience a fatality during a commercial diver training exercise, there has been a spike globally over the past three to five years, the bulk of which have been in Australia and Africa.

When an ADCI contractor or school experiences a fatality, where operational or equipment deficiencies cannot be ruled out as a root cause, the Association will initiate its membership review process. When this occurs, the contractor or school is placed into “suspended” status, while an audit-for-cause and review of the investigative findings are conducted by the Membership Review Committee. Once that has been concluded, the Membership Review Committee will make a recommendation to the Board of Directors on the future membership status of the said contractor or school. This process is fair and allows for ample time to review all the facts before making any decisions which can impact membership in the ADCI. Whatever was the root cause for each of these school fatalities, it is hoped that the “lessons learned” from them will help lead to the future mitigation of any commercial diver training fatalities.

There were also the fatalities in Trinidad of the four divers (and one near miss), that took place at the Paria Trading/LMCS while they were carrying out subsea maintenance work on SCUBA. Right of the bat, the use of SCUBA for the scope of work involved was confounding, to say the least. I can say that Trinidad’s OSHA has reached out to both ADCI and IMCA to assist with a review of the scope of work for diving, the methodology adopted in relation to applicable standards, emergency response procedures, the dive plan, and any other documents deemed necessary to assist with our analysis. It is hoped that the recommendations made by both associations with lead to safer operations in Trinidad and prohibit the use of SCUBA for offshore diving and inland diving operations that involve differential-pressure hazards.

The ADCI will be hosting an the IDIF Middle East Ports Authority Underwater Ship Husbandry Seminar in September, in Dubai. Both IOGP and IMCA, under the umbrella of the International Diving Industry Forum (IDIF) will attend and take part in the workshop. During that same week and at the same venue there will also be the inaugural ADCI Middle East Chapter Meeting, the IMCA Middle East & India Regional Meeting, and the International Diving Industry Forum Meeting. The focus of the entire week is diver safety, with an extra focus on safe operations in the conduct of underwater ship husbandry. This is meant to be a pilot for what the IDIF would like to do in both Singapore and in Panama, in the future. I will have more to report on this as we get closer to the events of the week of 12 September 2022.

We will deal with the accidents and fatalities that have hit our offshore and inland industry these past two to three years. What’s important is that we remain committed to following a defined process for dealing with these incidents and that we never let emotions dictate our response.

Stay Safe.