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Mark Longstreath

Richard James Boris Wilkinson-Lowe, Germany, 2013

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Information received:


Richard James Boris Wilkinson-Lowe died on the 13th July 2013, aged 26, while working for a German diving company, RS. Diving, onboard the four point mooring vessel; Union Beaver.

The vessel was working in the Riffgat offshore windpark to install concrete mattresses on cables at 30 monopiles, in approximately 21-22msw. Diving operations were carried out using SSDE with KM 27’s, and twin LARS.

The mattresses were approximately 3 x 6m, weighing around 9-10 tonnes each on surface. The procedure for installation was to lower the load with two long taglines, each with a strobe about half way up the tagline. Maximum allowable wave height was 1.2 – 1.5m. Dives were made at slack water only with currents of around 0.4kts. There was no active heave comp on the crane.

Two divers were in the water with diver 1 leading the operation. The load was lowered well clear of the divers until it reached 17-18msw. At this point it would be halted and the divers sent to locate the taglines and take control of the remainder of the installation.

Each diver would locate a tagline, then the diver 1 would direct the crane over the worksite to lower the mattress into position over the cable. Visibility was relatively good, around 1-2m.

At around 03:00 on the 13th July, Richard was in the water as diver 2. After lowering the load to seabed, the spreader beam was recovered to surface.

At some point it was found that Richard was under the mattress, so the spreader beam was sent back and the mattress hooked up and lifted so that he could be pulled out. He was recovered to surface without his helmet or neckdam.

It is unclear why he was under the load, or the reason for his death. These will come out with the investigation.

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