Manned Submersibles are a classic field of underwater engineering.
The Mobile Diving Unit (MDU) was a two compartment diver lockout
submersible operating from the MSV Tharos, owned and operated by
Occidental Petroleum. Deershill Engineering Ltd. provided an engineer
working in house to support the development and operation of the
The work included development of the services umbilical, payload
enhancement, propulsion enhancements and developing tooling capabilities
for diver operation.
The MSV Tharos diving system has now been decomissioned, but by
1991 the MDU had logged over 3000 dives, probably more than any
other diver lockout submersible at the time.
The picture above shows the rear of the MDU.
The picture below displays a cross section of the services umbilical
developed for the MDU. The cable was built as a managed project
where components were purchased from individual manufacturres then
free issued to an assembly contractor. Assembly of the cable was
carried out in four stages at different factories in the UK. British
Ropes Doncaster, BICC Supertension Erith, Bridon Fibres Charlton
and Multiflex Leith. The project structure ensured that each stage
of construction and assembly was performed by the most suitable
MDU Umbilical Cross Section
The picture below illustrates a lower hatch conversion designed
for the Taurus diver lockout submersible which was refitted for
operation as an observation platform. The diver lockout hatch was
converted to provide a large diameter downwards looking observation
The Taurus submersible, capable of diving to 400 metres, is one
of the submersibles operated by Silvercrest Submarines and is available
for both scientific, commercial and private hire.
The photographs alongside show the submersible when it was operating
in Loch Ness. The primary role was scientific survey but it also
carried tourist passengers to view the bottom of the Loch in the
time between scientific missions.
During operations in Loch Ness the submersible was taken out of
the water for routine maintenance using a floating dock.
The final picture alongside shows the submersible fully lifted.
Taurus is currently working in South Africa.
The owner and operator of Taurus, Silvercrest Submarines, can
be reached by clicking on the link below.