Singapore: John Giddens, who built Hallin Marine into a global subsea services player after starting it from a container in his back garden, has re-entered the industry with the announcement of the build of a 105 m subsea operations, diving and ROV support vessel.
The contract for the construction of the vessel, tentatively named Tasik Toba, has been signed with Fujian Mawei Shipyard in China. The vessel’s design and specification has been carried out by Tasik Subsea, a company set up by Giddens and long-time vessel collaborator Mike Meade.
The Tasik Toba will be DP3 and have a 300 m rated saturation diving system, hangar facilities for two deep water ROVs, a 150 tonne safe working load active heave compensated crane with 3000 metre working depth, and accommodation for 120 men.
Giddens, 53, is known throughout the subsea industry for founding Hallin Marine from his Singapore home and building the business into the successful owner and operator of subsea service vessels with global offices. Hallin was sold to the US based Superior Energy in 2010 for more than £100m. Prior to Hallin, Giddens was with Fraser Diving, having started off his career with the UK’s Royal Navy.
A clear love of all things subsea is evident from the briefest of trawls through Giddens’ career – he even has patents such as a manipulator tool for installing and retrieving objects from a fixed or floating structure in a subsea tidal environment
Giddens tells Maritime CEO he has been working on this project ever since he sold Hallin. As to what sort of size fleet he envisages controlling going forward, Giddens is more circumspect, warning that the OSV segment as a whole is moving into another period of overbuilding.
“I think commodity boats – PSVs and AHTSs – are basically in oversupply,” he says, “but nevertheless people that know what they are doing seem to be making money in the right sub-sectors.
High-end DSVs are potentially in oversupply also, he says, with a number of newbuilds underway including Tasik Toba, but, here, he stresses: “I think, as I always have, that the key is building smart and getting the best quality and highest specification at the lowest price.”
As for the name for this first ship, Tasik Toba, Giddens explains his middle name is Hallin. Hallin is a small mountain in the English Lake District on the south side of Ullswater. All Hallin vessels were named after lakes: Ullswater, Windermere, Derwent or Lake District towns: Penrith, Kendal, Carlisle. This Tasik vessel was originally aimed at the Indonesian market, although the plan has changed a bit because the potential charterers were not “romanced” by the Indonesian aspect of Tasik’s offering, but the name has stuck regardless. Tasik means lake in Bahasa.
“Tasik Toba is the biggest lake in Sumatra – so we are sticking with the lake theme,” Giddens says.