When I was a young diving supervisor I tried to organize regular security exercises in order to test my reactions, but also those of my team in critical situations.
Most of these exercises consisted to recover the diver from a difficult situation.
Generally, I chose the end of a no-stop dive to perform the test and therefore I asked the diver to get stuck somewhere in the structure and then call for help.
The exercise was then to send the standby diver to free his colleague and bring him back to the surface where he was taken in charge and quickly brought to the DDC for a fictitious therapeutic recompression.
These drills were always full of lessons and were so realistic that one had sometimes difficulties to come out of the game.
Most of the time I informed everyone on board that such an exercise would take place during the shift, but one day I forgot to warn the guys of another barge which was located not far from us and on which were working English divers.
When they saw our supposed injured diver hanging in the crane, they immediately sent their zodiac with a team of divers to assist us.
They were a little surprised but also reassured when I told them that it was only an exercise.
At another time during a job in Nigeria I wanted to test my new team, but also the staff that was ashore at Escravos.
We were in December 91 and this time I asked one of my Nigerians divers to simulate a type II accident more or less 3 hours after his dive and this time nobody apart him and me was aware of what was going to happen.
All the dives of the day had been completed and we were waiting that the welder finishes his job.
In the meantime, I was busy to complete my daily report when suddenly a diver entered my room and told me that there was a big problem with (let us call him) Godwin because he collapsed on the deck.
I immediately went down to the main deck and there saw our victim lying on the floor.
The diver had a speech problem which was apparently accompanied by paraplegia.
Immediately I called the diving team to come on deck and give a hand to transfer Goldwin to the recompression chamber.
Our Diver was so good actor that nobody doubted the veracity of the accident.
Once that the victim was installed on the bunk the DDC was put under pressure and I then asked Bruno the attendant to prepare the medical treatment which was to begin by an intramuscular injection in the outer quadrant of the buttock.
So far, our victim seemed in a rather poor condition, but at the sight of the huge needle a miracle occurred and our Godwin was immediately on his feet to the great surprise of the rest of the team.
It was time now to inform them off the drill, but I asked them to continue to play the game so we could test the rest of the organisation.
I let the recompression chamber under the supervision of Mathias the second expatriate diver and went to the radio room to make a call to Charlie One which was our Marine Maintenance Supervisor at the base of Escravos.
As soon that I had contact with him, I explained him that we had a serious decompression problem on board that required a type II treatment and that I wanted the assistance of the base doctor as was foreseen in our procedure.
While asking him to organize the transfer of the doctor as soon as possible, I also told him to call me back before the departure of the helicopter.
Then I left the radio pretending I had to go back to the chamber.
On board the barge crew and the captain worried about the health of their compatriot so I told them that he was under good hands.
Shortly after, Charlie One called me back and told me that the doctor refused to come on board and enter into the chamber but they had found a paramedic and was ready to send him to us.
At this point, I told him that he could stop everything because it was only an exercise.
There was a long blank on the radio and then Charlie One asked me if I was kidding.
When I told him that no, there was a sort of grunt and the radio fell silent.
Later on I learned that my drill had made a lot of fuss at the base and that the doctor had been fired following his refusal.
A few days later the barge returned back to shore for a few hours and the base manager took the opportunity to call me.
Not very reassured, I proceeded to his office thinking to receive a reprimand, but on the contrary he told me that he appreciate the fact that I was so concerned by security, but he asked me anyway in the future to inform him in advance of my wacky ideas.
These security exercises were each time a source of information which allowed correcting some errors.
Hanging diver photo comes from the Internet