Dangers to Human Divers on Deep Dives
August 05, 2011
Vic Penuel English 301
Table of ContentsIntroduction 3
Figure 1 3
Figure 2 3
What are ROVs? 3
Figure 3 4
Cost of ROVs and ROV Personnel 4
Figure 4 4
Current Uses For ROVs 5 Figure 5 5
Advantages of ROVs 5
Figure 6 6
What Is Deep Diving? 8
Figure 7 8
Cost of Deep Divers 8
Figure 8 8
Current Uses For Deep Divers and Job Demand 8
Figure 9 8
ROVs Instead of Deep Divers Conclusion 9
Dangers of Deep Diving Introduction
Commercial divers are paid up to $100,000 a year to dive deep so that they can weld on rigs, scrape off barnacles, lay pipeline, search for oil, and hopefully stay alive while they are working in deep water. Other deep divers include underwater archaeologists and treasure hunters.Figure 2: Marine Archaeologist. Complements of: www.wikipedia.org
Figure 1: Commercial Diver. Complements of: www.cdiving.com
No matter what kind of diver, the risks involved with deep diving are always going to be the same. They include: death, the “bends”, nitrogen narcosis, bone degeneration, air embolisms, oxygen toxicity, high pressure nervous syndrome, and hypercapnia. Instead of risking human lives to work on oil rigs and pipelines, search for treasure, or take samples for biology, companies that need deep divers should use remote operated vehicles (ROVs).
What are ROVs?
Remotely operated vehicles are machines that can be driven without people in them. They can be operated in 2400 feet of water with no problem. They are linked to a ship by cables that power the ROV. ROVs are useful because different tools can be installed on them, such as drills, clamps, saw blades, flash lights, and cameras. Usually all ROVs have a camera and a light installed on them to provide lighted video footage for the crew to work.
ROVs can be the size of a bread box and can get much bigger. Some have garages that are placed at the bottom of the ocean. The ROV then leaves the garage to complete a mission, then returns to the garage to be lifted out of the ocean.Figure 3: Zeus. Complements of: www.ecophotoexplorers.com
Cost of ROVs and ROV Personnel
ROVs can be worth millions of dollars. Theyare a long term investment that saves marine companies money. ROV jobs are in high demand. Oil and gas companies need ROV staff to monitor and work on their rigs and pipelines. The jobs pay well. The ROV staff members are usually paid per day at a $40 per hour rate.
Current Uses for ROVs
Figure 4: ROV Crew. Complements of: Maritime Press
The ROVs are extremely maneuverable. They can move horizontally, laterally, and vertically by propellers. They are good for inspecting pipelines, ships’ hulls, or offshorestructures. They can be useful when solving problems by just using the camera to see what the problem is. If needed, the operator, a.k.a. “flyer”, can switch out or add on a tool in order to help out engineers when problems underwater happen.
“Zeus, a sophisticated ROV that acts as the crews' eyes and hands, is driven by a 250-horsepower motor. This 7-ton apparatus is equipped with fiber-optic video and still cameras, and has robotic arms that can handle the most delicate finds (see fig. 1). A vacuum system lifts the coins and other artifacts into a container for transport to the surface. The ROV has snapped about 7,000 pictures of the wreck and debris field, allowing the assembly of a detailed overhead photo map of the site. On a computer screen, they can zoom in tight on specific artifacts in the wreck and send the ROV directly to [the ROV crew] for pickup” (www.ecophotoexplorers.com).Advantages of Using ROVs
Figure 5: Zeus Descending to Ocean Floor. Complements of: www.shipwreck.net
ROVs are gaining popularity with the engineering, marine science, and marine archaeology crowds. The ROVs can search the ocean around the clock and discover things that man alone could never dream of seeing without ROVs. ROVs are helping to identifyand remedy problems
on oil and gas rigs in the deep seas. They also help engineers find oil. It takes people to operate the ROVs, which means there is a demand for ROV flyers and technicians.
The size of the ROV usually can determine its uses. Small ROVs check ship hulls for terrorist activity and look inside pipelines for examinations. Large ROVs go to the sea floor to do seismic testing and dig trenches for underwater pipelines.
Crews of 3-12 people are used to manage the operations of ROV work. An example of the work they would do is identifying how far a pipeline moved after a hurricane. To do this accurately, the ROV they use is equipped with mapping devices, up to 8 cameras, high beam lights, and about 500 volts of electricity supplied via fiber optic cables.
The equipment needed on an ROV can get heavy. Some ROVs require up to 250 horsepower engines to navigate. Arms on ROVs can house high pressure water jets, grinding tools, suction pumps for dredging, drills, saws, jack hammers, and more.Figure 6: Life at 1044 Meters. Complements of: www.allmarine.blogspot.com
Biologists use the ROVs to study fish colonies at rig sites. They also test soils for researching recovery times from hurricane damage and other dangers. Biologists and people around the globe will soon be able to enjoy knowing what lurks in the lowest depths of the ocean as ROV manufacturers develop more advanced ROVs that can travel deeper than ever before.SERPENT
Scientific and Environmental ROV Partnership using Existing iNdustrial Technology (SERPENT) is a company that does ROV research for biological, oil, and gas companies all over the world. The company’s goals are to provide cutting edge technology in order to give people up-to-date information about the unexplored ocean. SERPENT brings information to the public's attention on ocean related activities.
SERPENT’s Golden Rules are goals to decrease the risk for death and being on time to work. Their website produces information on everything they do. Anyone can read up on their findings and progress with projects. When SERPENT personnel are on a rig performing ROV research, they comply with all the rules that are set forth by the rig operators. The company’s personnel also present their findings in meetings aboard the rigs to rig personnel so that rig personnel better understand the underwater environment.
What Is Deep Diving?
Deep diving is classified by depth in three different skill levels of diving: recreational diving (100 feet or more), technical diving (200 feet or more), and surface supplied diving (330 feet or more). Technical and surface supplied divers must breathe an air mixture of different gases to allow them to dive deep. For extreme dives down to 700 meters (2296.5 feet), a special suit that protects humans from more than 50 times atmospheric pressure must be worn. The suit allows a diver to dive extremely deep and to stay at normal atmospheric pressure.Figure 7: Diver Returning From 600 Foot Dive. Complements of: www.wikipedia.org
Basic open water diving is the safest type of diving there is. The dangers involved in open water diving would be death and the “bends”, or decompression sickness. Divers get the “bends” when
they ascend to quickly, causing air bubbles to form in the blood stream. Once the diver gets to the surface they experience aching in the joints. Air can form inside the bones and cause bone degeneration. If someone with the “bends” goes untreated, a brain embolism could kill them. Remedy for the “bends” is to sit or lay inside a decompression chamber for a prescribed amount of time.
According to www.scubadivingplace.com, deep diving has more dangers. Getting the “narks” is similar to getting drunk. Nitrogen narcosis, or the “narks”, gives the diver a feeling of euphoria and confidence, but leads to numbness and memory impairment. Deep diving can cause oxygen toxicity, which can cause an underwater convulsion. High pressure on the body causes the diver to breathe more rapidly, and can cause hypercapnia, an excess amount of carbon dioxide in the diver’s blood (www.scubadivingplace.com).Cost of Deep Divers
Figure 8: Diver. Complements of: www.ddiinternational.com
Deep sea divers can earn up to $100,000. “Under the right conditions, salary increases could average $10,000 to $15,000 per year. The top salary a veteran professional can earn is usually in the $60,000 to $100,000 range”(www.whatitcosts.com). The constraint to diving deep is that there is a limited amount of time a diver can spend diving.
Current Uses For Deep Divers and Job Demand
Figure 9: Diver. Complements of: www.whatitcosts.com
Offshore diving jobs are in high demand. Hurricanes damage oil rigs and pipelines. This increases the need for maintenance on offshore structures. According to www.whatitcosts.com, divers are needed for,
“…diving to deeper ocean depths for performing such duties as inspection, installation,
and repair of oil drilling platforms and piping. Working from large ocean vessels on search and recovering missions, deep sea salvage operations worldwide, treasure hunting enterprises, or in support of scientific/archeology projects are just some of the work-related duties performed in offshore diving” (www.whatitcosts.com).ROVs Instead of Deep Divers Conclusion
Divers can suffer health problems or die when they dive deep. ROVs are beneficial because they can be operated from above water in safety. Divers should continue diving offshore for marine companies; however, they should not go any deeper than 100 feet below the surface of the ocean. Any job that requires diving at depths greater than100 feet should be done by ROVs. Using ROVs for deep diving jobs is safer than using divers to do these jobs. The possibility of death or illness is reduced, and the demand for ROV jobs would increase as the need for humans to dive below 100 feet disappeared.
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