Subsea operations and manufacturing company JFD has nearly completed the construction of two newly designed self-propelled hyperbaric lifeboats (SPHL), which have been developed in collaboration with Vanguard Composite Engineering (Vanguard).

JFD secured the contract to design and manufacture six SPHLs (four 18-man and two 24-man) under the saturation diving systems on-board a new fleet of diving support vessels (DSV) in February last year.

The first two 18-man SPHLs are almost complete, and final testing procedures are scheduled to take place shortly before installation and commissioning on the first DSV.

JFD managing director Giovanni Corbetta said: “We are delighted with the progress of our first collaborative project alongside Vanguard.

“The project is on schedule and we are looking forward to delivering two advanced, high-quality vessels, which will raise the safety standard of SPHLs globally, greatly improving the chances of a successful, safe recovery and decompression of the divers.”

The partnership leverages on JFD’s hyperbaric and chamber manufacture and design expertise with Vanguard's manufacturing capabilities.

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Both companies worked closely during the design and engineering phase of the boats.

The SPHL boats and davit systems were manufactured at the Vanguard facility in China, while the chamber fabrication was carried out at JFD’s Australian, Korean and UK bases.

Final outfitting is currently underway at JFD’s LEXMAR facility in Singapore.

"The project is on schedule and we are looking forward to delivering two advanced, high-quality vessels, which will raise the safety standard of SPHLs globally."

The SPHLs underwent continuous testing and DNV class build surveys during the manufacturing phase in order to ensure their compliance with the latest industry standards.

FAT testing will carry out pressure and leak tests, load and function tests and all other necessary requirements directed by Class, IMO and SOLAS. The trials are due to commence with the involvement of the client and shipyard.

The lifeboats will also need to qualify speed and endurance tests, which are currently scheduled in August, before final acceptance by DNV and delivery to the client can proceed.

JFD’s project team will start working on the additional two 18-man 300m SPHLs and the two 24-man 300m SPHLs following the delivery of the first two boats. 

Image: The newly designed self-propelled hyperbaric lifeboats (SPHL). Photo: courtesy of James Fisher and Sons plc.