This is the first ime that North Sea divers have won a case for compensation against the State, for injuries they claim were sustained during the pioneer years of oil exploration in the North Sea.
Many divers suffered serious injuries because they were operating at hazardous depths at the start of the Norwegian oil age in the 1960s and 70s.
At least 60 divers lost their lives in the North Sea up to the year 2000. At least 19 of these were Norwegians.
Several other cases are waiting to be processed by the courts. @ The Norway Post
And some background on the diving itself:
*A brief insight into saturation diving.*
Not everyone who reads this page knows what saturation diving is. This is a brief explanation written by Derek Moore
Being a Diver is a career for the few exceptional individuals that choose a life of isolation and thrive on a feeling of accomplishment.
The waters of the North Sea are a hostile and unforgiving environment. It is in this environment that a group of men constantly work under arduous conditions to accomplish tasks they are asked to perform that would leave many to seek sanctuary elsewhere. These men are Saturation Divers.
Saturation diving is a technique that allows men to work underwater for extended periods without having to undergo repeated decompression and offers a greater potential for the company, in terms of flexibility of productive working time, over other methods of diving. They say a diver is a jack of all trades, when in reality they are masters in their chosen field. But someone asked; what is the life of a Sat diver like?
Divers, in order to work at a chosen depth with out the need to continually decompress, are required to live at the same pressure of the sea bed they are working at. They live in a chamber (A metal tube) which is 2.1 metres in diameter and varying in length of 5 to 6 metres. Attached to this is a smaller chamber 2 to 2.5 metres in length (called a transfer lock) which gives access to the diving bell, it also serves as a toilet and shower area. For the whole period of the saturation divers will be confined (sleeping and eating) to this area with up to a further 5 colleagues. To get some idea of the space, measure the area in your office; now imagine 3 bunk beds and a table and 2 bench seats. Now imagine you can’t escape for up to 28 days. Living with up to 5 other guys in a confined space, who all have their own personalities and quirky habits, requires a high degree of tolerance and humour. If you need your space or easily stressed don’t consider sat diving an option.
Going into sat, the teams are chosen based on their experience and qualifications. The doors are closed and the initial inrush of Helium gas starts the pressurisation which is instantly recognised up the change of vocal expression increasing a few octaves. As the pressurisation continues the temperature rises as the surrounding atmosphere is compressed. This is the point of no return, no escape, everything you now need (food, water, clothing, laundry and equipment) is the responsibility of the outside technicians. Your only access to the world outside is the lock through which all you require is sent.
You communicate with outside colleagues not on a face to face level but via a communications system and communication to loved ones at home is by the typed word only. Like a space man you are isolated.
Life in sat becomes very routine; you are woken up to go diving, given food, dive plans and briefing of the job in hand. Taking turns one diver enters the bell via the transfer lock to conduct safety checks, after which the remaining divers enter the bell to begin their journey to the work site up to 600 feet below. When the pressures in the bell and the water are equal the divers venture into the frigid water of aqua space to perform their allotted tasks, either construction, inspection, survey or salvage. I call it aqua space having read the interview with Mike Gernhardt, a NASA Astronaut who started his career working as a diver for Ocean Systems before graduating with an honours degree in bubble dynamics. He said the techniques he learned in diving, he adapted for use in space, but hyper space walking was the ultimate dive.
The difference in aqua space is the visibility is not a million miles but can be limited to a few inches, making the task in hand increasingly difficult as you are effectively working blind doing the job by feel. It can be challenging and not for the claustrophobic. After 6 hours working the divers return to the bell before returning to the chamber they departed earlier back on the vessel.
Here they send out their diving wear, shower and have a meal before retiring to bed. Each day follows the same routine until it is time to decompress where the divers will be confined to the chamber until the pressure is reduced to atmospheric level and the door opens. That is until the next time the diver goes into saturation. If you consider sat diving easy, the door of opportunity is open, but can you handle it shut.
I remember this quote by a diver whose name fails me which sums up offshore divers. “The Ocean weeds out, from all the races of mankind that come upon it to make a living, a certain type of person. This type of person stays with the ocean, and the rest are cast back ashore to deal with the land people.”
@ Pioneer Divers
Risking ones life for his/her country is the real measure of a hero.
These men are that and more and deserve recognition for their treacherous and in many cases deadly work.
Justice has prevailed for our friend Erling and his fellow divers.
And a moment of reflection for the ones that did not survive.