Offshore Industry News

Latest LIGHTPATH Fibre Illuminates Dive Umbilical

Scottish research and development company PhotoSynergy Ltd (PSL) is enjoying a hat trick of successes as a major operator and two subsea service companies push to further the safety of their diving personnel and increase efficiencies in the subsea sector. PSL’s most recent product, developed following feedback from divers and their teams, provides the option to illuminate the dive umbilical from the diver end.


One North Sea Operator has, for the first time, included PSL’s LIGHTPATH technology in its diving operations and management guidance document, which aims to ensure compliance with latest legislation and industry best practice.

Meanwhile, leading international inspection, repair and maintenance (IRM) companies Harkand and Bibby Offshore have announced their continuing support for PSL’s LIGHTPATH range of products, which offer an innovative technical solution to sectors, including the challenging and hazardous subsea environment, where safety of life is paramount.

Winner of the Subsea UK Innovation for Safety Award 2014, LIGHTPATH is a side-emitting flexible fibre that projects a continuous and flexible line of light that carries no electrical power and has a life expectancy of five years.

On 4 February 2015, PSL launched the latest in its portfolio of subsea products – the SLS2000 – following feedback from divers and their teams, providing the option to illuminate the dive umbilical from the diver end.

It was produced following requests from industry for a minimal-sized light source which would not impede the diver during his work. A small, compact unit at just 30 mm in diameter and 70 mm long, it was designed to provide a light source to saturation divers using an LED attached to the umbilical at the diver’s end.

Operational sea trials of the unit – which can be used in both saturation and air diving – are planned with existing clients following successful competition of final in-house tests and third party pressure testing.

PSL Director Don Walker said: “The general consensus among the dive community is that divers feel safer using the technology to illuminate saturation diver umbilicals, which enhances safety and productivity for all parties, including the individual diver, colleagues in the water and the bell-man.

“It also gives confidence to the ROV pilot as to the location of diver umbilicals, thus minimizing the risk of collision and can significantly reduce the incidence of umbilical snagging, both for saturation and surface air divers.”

Harkand, which has been using another of PSL products – the SLS5000 - on two of its North Sea vessels for the past few years, has also recognized the importance of the SLS2000 and is currently in talks with PSL about trialling it.

Jerry Starling, Harkand’s group diving manager, and a member of the IMCA diving division management committee, said: “Umbilical management is a key component of diver activity for both safety and time saving reasons. We have found that LIGHTPATH helps reduce recovery time as the diver can track and identify their route back to the bell, as well as identify any snags and entanglement of the umbilical due to the variations in color offered by the equipment. It also ensures divers and ROV pilots can constantly monitor that the umbilical is clear during equipment deployment and recovery, which are generally high risk activities.”

Bibby Offshore, who worked with PSL from the outset to help with the development of LIGHTPATH, is about to start trials of the SLS2000 within the next few weeks.

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