Short answer; I’m not sure, decide for yourself after reading the article.
It is not overly unusual to see companies serving both industrial diving and rope access areas. Although they are technically different, when compared to each other under a simple point of view from the outside, the features of these branches -such as being extreme, being near life-threatening all the time, requiring a high degree of attention, practical intelligence and muscle strength in the preparation process and throughout the work period- makes these areas similar to each other.
Of course, the implementation of the work in technical terms is very different from each other, a rope accessor fights gravity, while a diver organizes himself against the dynamics of buoyancy according to the work he will do.The mistakes against the most fundamental laws of nature, which that both fields oppose every day, often results in unforgivable consequences. On maintenance matters, the equipment and materials of these trades require an “doting upon” perspective when appropriate, and in the event of a breakdown, they can make their users “never need to worry about worldly problems again”. Due to the nature of the work done, friction is the number one cause of wear for a rope accessor’s materials, while salt water is a diver’s “number one”.
Rope accessors use various climbing equipment called “ascender” and “descender” to reach the planned height on the rope they enter.
PETZL I’D (left) SKYLOTECH Sirius (right)
Divers, on the other hand, use BCs, lead lines or a LARS system fixed to the deck to dive to the planned depth, depending on the type of operation to be performed.
HOLLIS DT System (left) AQUA LUNG PRO BC (right)
Both fields use harnesses to carry things on, to fix themselves somewhere, and to attach other hoses or ropes to themselves.
Miller Ropax Harness (left) Atlantic Diving Equipment Full Body (right)
One goes up, on goes down. So, does the information of these two fields ever intersect with each other?
Octo Diving, is a Belgium-based industrial diving company founded by Thierry Vanden Eynde and Emmanuel Vanden Borre.
The divers of the company are the graduates of the only diving school in Belgium, “Dinan Diving School” (l’Ecole des Scaphandriers de Dinant), and they have “HSE top-up” (British legislation) and “Class 2A” (African legislation) certificates recognized by IMCA. And they are also IRATA (Industrial Rope Access Trade Association) certified technicians. They have the ability to move safely in the air as well as underwater.
The most characteristic feature of the company is to combine rope access techniques in restricted environments and industrial diving techniques in the same intervention.
Fire Tanks Interventions
Tanks of fire extinguishing systems should be checked or maintained regularly. Their entrances are often high, their lids narrow, and of course most of the functional items are submerged. Therefore, it is necessary to be able to control these specific risks in complete safety.
It is not uncommon for cave divers to blend their diving with sportive climbing in order to reach their target diving spots or to have more pleasure. OCTO Diving’s dry-suited and roped staff is not overly surprising in this respect. But a diver wearing a hard hat climbing up and down a rope system is not an everyday occurrence.
In the series of photographs below, we see that they set up a tripod 40 meters below the ground and lowered the diver 6 meters down with the rope system to reach the water level, and then the diver or divers performed maintenance work on the pipes 6 meters below the water level for 7 hours.
It seems that the knowledge of these two extreme fields may need to be used together in very specific operations. Although they do not look like the most common jobs in rope access and industrial diving for such operations, they are actually operations that only have tiring logistics and are not as complicated as they seem, and require technical knowledge on both sides, which we can call basic knowledge.
There are multiple companies that offer services in both industrial diving and rope access. There are operators with both industrial diving and rope access qualifications. But I have yet to come across a company like OCTO Diving, which can combine its knowledge in two fields in one operation and whose divers are also rope access technicians.