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Caley Diving Bell Handling System for US Navy’s Experimental Diving Unit

25 October 2011

Offshore handling systems specialist, Caley Ocean Systems has supplied a diving bell handling system to Phoenix International Holdings, Inc, for a one-of-a-kind, Saturation Fly Away Diving System (SAT FADS) designed and built by Phoenix for the US Navy.

Following delivery to the U.S. Navy’s Experimental Diving Unit (NEDU) in Panama City, Florida, SAT FADS has successfully completed an extended, manned, pier-side test to its design depth of 1,000 ft (305 m), using the Caley bell handling system. SAT FADS is expected to undergo certification trials off the coast of California in summer 2012.

Bell Handling System

The Caley bell handling system is used to lift the three-man, diving bell from its stowage position on the deck of a dive vessel, lower and maintain the bell at the desired water depth, then recover it and the guide wire clump weight to the sea surface and back onto the deck. The 1,000 ft test dive is part of the Navy's manned certification testing of the system.

Comprising an A-Frame assembly, together with bell wire, guide wire and umbilical winches, spooling gear, and hydraulic power unit (HPU), the Caley bell handling system is designed to provide accurate, reliable control of the diving bell in a wide range of sea conditions. In addition, Caley's passive in-line heave reduction system reduces the effect of the ship's motion while the diving bell is submerged.

Salvage and Recovery

SAT FADS will provide a critical saturation diving capability to support US Navy salvage and recovery operations around the world. It will support six divers to depths of 1,000 feet for 30 days. The system consists of five major components: a main deck decompression chamber, a 3-man diving bell, the bell handling system, a control vehicle, and two auxiliary support equipment vans. The diving system is designed to be deployed using military and commercial aircraft, and road trailers, and installed on any suitable commercial vessel of opportunity.