Commercial divers upgrade Hebe Haven moorings

Commercial divers are at work at Hebe Haven up-grading the boat moorings. Several of them are Sai Kung lads, staff of a locally based marine contractor.

Diver Supervisor Jason Corr said the contract for the HH Yacht Club calls for replacing 220 buoys and checking moorings down to the block embedded in the sea floor called the “Dead Man’s Anchor.” It’s a relatively easy job for the professionals, working in 10ft to 30ft of water depending upon the tide.

Left to right: Norman Gurung, diver tender; PeterRichards, marine technician; Jay Corr, diver supervisor; Zed Vaughan, diver; and Nick Parkes, trainee diver

The team carries out diving contracts globally. Jason said that in the past 10 years they have worked offshore in Iraq, Russia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Egypt, India, Sri Lanka and Singapore. Most of the jobs require the divers to assist with laying of oil, gas and water pipelines also fibre-optic cables as well as positioning of heavy structures underwater.

Often it is challenging.  Jason said he had been “really scared only a handful of times”. They take on jobs unimaginable to ordinary people. For example, swimming for 100 metres inside a sewage pipe that is not much wider than the diver’s body. “You can’t turn around,” Jason said. “You can’t see what you are heading into.  Things touch you. You don’t know what they are.”  The diver is literally swimming in sewage in the pipe sealed in a contamination suit. “The first time was heart pounding to say the least.”

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Portable divers control kit

Jason is certified as a Part 3 Diver under (ADAS) Australian Divers Accreditation Scheme. This means he is qualified to dive to 170 feet, “more or less the deepest you can go breathing air”.

Describing some difficult jobs the divers have faced, Jason told of working in the waters of mudflats in the Gulf of Kutch, India. “There was zero visibility. The tide fluctuated by eight metres, water dragging you this way and that.  You find it difficult to stay in position.” The divers were helping to install pipelines and moorings for oil tankers.

Sometimes the pressures on divers become quite heavy. “Dropping big heavy structures to the seabed, such as oil platforms, into the water can be very demanding.”

Jay leads the dive team working on the Hebe Haven moorings. He is assisted by Diver Zed Vaughan, Trainee Diver Nick Parkes, Diver Tender Norman Gurung and Marine Technician Supervisor Peter Richards. They operate from a boat with a portable diver’s communication panel.

The diver goes into the water suited and helmeted, connected by an umbilical cord.  This has three strands, for air, depth gauge and two-way communication. The diver is backed by a safety diver at all times. If Jason is in the water, Zed is safety diver or vice versa.

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