IMCA Guidance on Diving Hold-Back Vessels

Friday, April 27, 2012

New guidance has been produced by the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) on the use of ‘hold-back’ vessels during diving operations. These are towing (or other) vessels that provoke additional security for DP (dynamically positioned) vessels engaged in critical operations by means of attachment by wire rope.

“Our new publication (IMCA M 185 Rev 1) is intended to assist vessel operators who are considering using such a system of operation by discussing the issues involved and highlighting the minimum precautions that would need to be taken in the planning, execution and monitoring of the operation,” explains IMCA’s Technical Director, Jane Bugler.

“It was first issued in February 2007 after liaison with DP vessel operators with experience of this type of operation, and has now been updated as a result of useful comments from industry.” Sections in the guidance document encompass risk reduction in diving operations; assisted DP diving operations; selection of the hold-back vessel; practical considerations; and a useful glossary. Like all IMCA guidance documents IMCA M 185 Rev 1 can be downloaded via both the public and members-only websites free of charge, with printed copies available to members at £2.50, or £5.00 for non-members (plus 20% for delivery outside Europe). Copies can be ordered online, or from

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