MEMBER NEWS: JFD showcases 42 years of subsea innovation to His Royal Highness, King Charles III at Aberdeen’s Global Underwater Hub

October 2, 2023
MEMBER NEWS: JFD showcases 42 years of subsea innovation to His Royal Highness, King Charles III at Aberdeen’s Global Underwater Hub

JFD, part of James Fisher & Sons PLC, demonstrated the importance of equipment safety within manned diving operations to King Charles III as part of a Royal Visit to Aberdeen’s Global Underwater Hub.

The Global Underwater Hub (GUH) champions the UK’s underwater industry by providing opportunities for networking and collaboration, helping to bolster the market’s influence on a global scale. Having begun his career in the Royal Navy in 1971, the King has a special interest within subsea and a passion for the conservation of the ocean ecosystem.
On the 29th September 2023, the GUH hosted the King at their Westhill facility in Aberdeen to present a selection of local underwater companies who exemplify pioneering subsea technology and demonstrable success.

JFD’s heritage in the maritime environment started more than 175 years ago by James Fisher. The company maintains a rich heritage of maritime capability as a proud UK listed company. JFD has played a long-standing role in the development of subsea equipment with the founding of Gas Services Offshore in 1980. In 1981 the company ‘struck gold’ as their invention of the Diver Gas Recovery System successfully enabled the recovery of HMS Edinburgh’s cargo of gold bullion. Without this innovation, saturation diving today would not be commercially practical.

Also forming part of JFD is the National Hyperbaric Centre in Aberdeen, built in 1987 by the UK government for subsea testing, research and training purposes.

The Aberdeen based companies which now form part of JFD each played a unique role in the development of pioneering solutions to complex subsea challenges as the UK and its partners developed the subsea industry in the North Sea.

JFD now operates across the commercial and defence industries on a global scale and continues to pioneer, innovate, and break boundaries designing, manufacturing, and supporting subsea technologies which significantly improve diver safety.

Rob Hales, JFD Managing Director said: “It was an honour to meet the King and discuss JFD’s role providing life-saving and safety-critical services to our customers in the energy and defence sectors. We are immensely proud of our 40-year track record at the forefront of our industry, with our expertise in demand by partners around the world.

“The visit was also a fantastic opportunity to reflect on the incredible innovation which started and continues in our Aberdeen facility and engage with the local community and school children who also attended the visit. We are passionate about inspiring the next generation and always keen to give them an insight into the diverse and interesting subsea industry.”

On display was JFD’s COBRA (Compact Bailout Rebreather System) the world’s most widely adopted emergency bailout system for commercial divers offering 45 mins of breathing gas in the event of a primary failure. JFD also showcased our Stealth fully non-magnetic closed circuit rebreather system for Mine Clearance divers. Both systems are designed, manufactured, and maintained within JFD’s Aberdeen facility, and exported to customers around the world.

JFD continues to grow with over 500 employees worldwide and has operating bases in the UK, Australia, Singapore, Sweden, Netherlands, South Africa, India and the US.

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AREG is the original energy transition organisation, working on behalf of members to empower the energy supply chain and champion its expertise. Please get in touch if you have any questions or would like to find out more about membership.

AREG has played an important role in the growth of Scotland’s renewable energy sector, engaging the supply chain and developing the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. However, we are only at the very beginning of the transition that AREG was established to both lead and support so there are still opportunities for companies to get into the constantly evolving renewables supply chain. We look forward to continuing our work together as renewables builds on its place as Scotland’s main source of power, and as we seek to deliver real change in the crucial areas of heat and transport.

Scottish Renewables

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce has worked closely with AREG since its formation. The recent progress in the developments of offshore wind projects by Equinor and Vattenfall are as a result of the work of the group over many years. The north-east is known as the oil and gas capital of Europe. At the Chamber, we believe the region must evolve its position to being recognised as the energy capital. Whilst hydrocarbons will continue to be essential in driving our economy for years to come, the generation of renewable resources will play an increasingly important role in providing cost-effective power, innovative development and economic growth.

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce

The enthusiasm and dedication of the early group that would become AREG was fundamental in us choosing to launch All-Energy in Aberdeen. The first tiny show was held in 2001, and AREG’s Chairman at the time, Jeremy Cresswell, played such an active role that I often describe him in terms such as All-Energy’s ‘midwife’. All-Energy is now the UK’s largest renewable and low carbon energy exhibition and conference in terms of number of attendees, space booked, and number of exhibiting companies. As AREG became firmly established, their presence and support for the event grew spectacularly over the years. We thank them most sincerely for their invaluable input.


Vattenfall has forged a strong working relationship with AREG through the development of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. AREG has worked tirelessly on behalf of the North East and it can take enormous credit for the growth of sustainable energy in the region and the path it has cleared for the region to capture further investment.


Aberdeen City and Shire is emerging as a key location for renewables by successfully transferring its world-class oil and gas expertise into the sector and AREG has done much to advance this through a broad range of initiatives. It has acted as a catalyst in driving further investment in the local economy by engaging with companies, Government, public bodies and existing projects and we have been pleased to support their efforts. Scottish Enterprise will continue to engage with AREG as we increase Scotland’s use of renewable energy.

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