Specialist equipment designed and manufactured by Haskel Europe is helping Royal Navy divers keep British and international waters clear of unexploded mines.
Kit crafted by the Sunderland-firm, which produces high pressure pumps and valves for the defence and oil and gas industries, was available for use by Royal Navy divers in disposing of a Second World War German mine discovered off the coast of Dorset recently.
Haskel makes an air-driven oxygen booster system that charges the cylinders in a diver’s breathing equipment, extending the time they can spend underwater.
It has a trusted relationship with the Ministry of Defence (MoD), and Haskel has supplied equipment to the Royal Navy for more than 20 years, with a contract to clean, service, maintain and renew the oxygen boosters worth around £200,000 a year to the Wearside firm.
Both Royal Navy ships and naval bases carry the Haskel diving apparatus.
Haskel Europe’s export manager, Simon Calvert, said: “The Royal Navy has a fleet of minehunting vessels that ensure the sea ways are clear of mines and ordnance. This includes both home and foreign waters. They don’t want other ships to come into contact with these dangerous weapons.
“The minehunter class finds all sorts – Second World War mines have been found off Portsmouth, there are also mines in the Persian Gulf.
Haskel, which employs 62 staff at its Wearside headquarters and has offices in France, Spain and Aberdeen, manages the whole fleet of boosters, and brings the Navy equipment back to base every 30 months for refurbishment to make sure it is continuing to operate at its optimum level.
Calvert added: “It’s been an evolution of production and it continues to develop. We’re looking to grow our relationship with the MoD to supply them with other equipment.”