1981. Gas Services Offshore Ltd

In 1981 ex-US Navy diver Don Rodocker established a company called Gas Services Offshore Ltd in Aberdeen. Don brought together British inventor, Alex Copson’s Helinaut valve with his Gasmizer reclaim system to provide the first practical heliox recovery system. The company became well established in Westhill, only 50 metres from the site of the current Divex headquarters. Divex, originally a US based company as well as Gas Services Offshore Ltd (and other companies) were all purchased in the early 1980’s to form the ‘Pressure Products Group’. Since the manual which came with this Helinaut helmet is dated 1987 and is signed with the Gas Services logo this indicates that in 1987 Gas Services still operated under its own name.

See also Divex in the US Chapter.

June 15 2018: an interesting email from my friend Jim Bathgate:

Hi David,


How are you? I have just returned to my ship last week, (DSV Deep Arctic) we are working off Libya for a few months.

Anyway, I was looking at your website, and noted a picture + description of a Gas Services band mask.

Actually, it reads a little wrong, perhaps? I am sure you recognise that it is based on a Kirby Morgan 18b band mask, that's how they started off. They were not made only in limited quantities for the Seaway Pelican, in fact, most were not actually specifically "made" at all. They were simply "Converted" from regular KM18b band masks.

You see, General Diving Systems (Alan Krasberg) was selling his Superflo Kirby Morgan based reclaim helmets for 9,000 pounds at the time Gas Services started trading in 1981. Gas Services did not lay out the money to buy a stock of helmets and band masks to convert, instead, Don Rodocker would invite management from various Diving Companies, and explain to them that he was not trying to have them buy new helmets and masks and dispense with their existing ones, but instead. Gas Services would convert a KM17 (helmet) or 18 (mask), for the same price of exactly 1,500 pounds. I was present at one of those discussions, it made sense to the people who were contemplating buying Gas Reclaim topsides units (for 50,000 pounds instead of 90,000 pounds) and converting their own helmets/masks for a 1500 conversion fee.

 We had those 18b Gas Services Reclaim masks, for example, with Taylor Diving & Salvage on the Brown & Root 318 in the Persian Gulf, then  with Wharton Williams (2W) on Deepwater One & Deepwater Two (latterly called Rockwater One & Two) and that was from 1984 onwards, and we were not the first ships to have them. The first time Gas Services Gas Reclaim was used commercially was 1981 on OSA Stephaniturm, for the HMS Edinburgh gold recovery salvage. Those were definitely 17b helmets, far too cold to contemplate band masks. 

 The first ones had a Bolt on divertor block assembly, plus the actual Helinaut exhaust valve (back pressure regulator on a bracket). The demand valve exhaust was obviously no longer going to exhaust directly into the sea, so the oval lip which is usually for the exhaust (bubble whisker) was removed (2 screws on early valves) and an adaptor fitted in it's place to attach it to the divertor block assembly.

 The whole arrangement was identical in every way whether it was fitted to a 17 or an 18.

Oh, and I laughed when Don explained to me that instead of having custom hoses made, he used a rubber connection hose for a FORD Transit Van radiator. (why not, eh?) 

I couldn't put a date on the time when Gas Services developed their own version of a balanced 2nd stage (demand valve) I would have to ask other people about that, but the early Gas Services reclaim helmets and masks which we had, were all still fitted with the regular KMDSI Superflow demand valve.

 These days, the early Superflow, with the smaller inlet ports, are classed as being restrictive, but I have dived them at 170 fsw on air and they were fine by me !

I wrote too much again.

I hope you're doing well David.

take care for now, speak later



Many thanks to Jim for this interesting contribution. Jim already contributed to the Divex USA Chapter: http://www.divescrap.com/DiveScrap_INDEX/Divers_Exchange_USA.html

Above: the Helinaut helmet by Gas Services Offshore Ltd from 1987. Photograph David L.Dekker


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