A Brief History of Taylor DivingIn 1957, Edward Lee Taylor and Mark Banjavich, two ex-Navy divers, along with French diver Jean Valz, formed Taylor Diving & Salvage and based their operations on the New Orleans Lake front (Read about the Jester II, the schooner owned by Taylor, Banjavich, and Jean Valz that saw the birth of Taylor Diving). They developed the techniques and equipment necessary (recompression chambers for surface decompression) to extend the use of mixed-gas diving to the deeper depths required by the offshore industry. Taylor Diving was acquired by Brown and Root in 1968. The Corporate base and yard was ultimately established at 701 Engineers Rd in Belle Chasse Louisiana.
They developed the techniques and equipment necessary (recompression chambers for surface decompression) to extend the use of mixed-gas diving to the deeper depths required by the offshore industry,( ultimately the Saturation Diving Technique and associated equipment ). This is heralded as one of the top 50 key events which shaped the offshore oil industry. Mark was also involved in the development of equipment known as the Closed Circuit, Free-Flow Underwater Breathing System (United States Patent 4026283), Helium Reclamation (United States Patent 3964866) and the Electric Heating Apparatus For Supplying Heated Fluid To A Diver's Clothing (United States Patent 3558852).
Taylor Divers dove the world over playing a significant role in growing and supporting the offshore oil and gas industry. Taylor Divers performed the majority of diving construction in the Gulf of Mexico, and elsewhere including the North Sea during the 70's and early 80's. With operations managed out of great Yarmouth and Rotterdam, Taylor divers helped build the Ekofisk, Forties, Frig, Tee Side and many other field developments in the region during this time. Taylor Diving and Salvage pioneered deep saturation dive systems, deep diving operations, decompression tables for surface and SAT diving, hyperbaric welding and ROV intervention ( remote operated vehicle ). In 1978, Taylor performed a 1000 ft hyperbaric weld in the Norwegian "Norsk Hydro" field. Even though the project technically was deemed a success, we lost Dave Hoover while he was in the habitat. It was Taylor divers who dove on the Ixtoc blow-out in Campeche, Mexico in 1979. Al Anderson was lost during this effort. In 1986 Taylor divers were performing hyperbaric welds off the coast of Labuan for Shell Sarawak while at the same time performing a salvage operation on the Glomar Java that sank off the coast of China. And yes, there were ex-Taylor divers who went down on that drill ship.
The North Sea, India, Middle East, South-East Asia, Campeche, Mexico, U.S. Gulf of Mexico, you name it, Taylor divers were there first.
In 1990, after 22 years, Taylor Diving assets were acquired by Offshore Petroleum Divers. In 1995, these same assets were acquired by J Ray McDermott, a subsidiary of McDermott International. During the latter part of 1996, a merger between McDermott Diving Intl and Cal Dive Intl fell through and McDermott sold all Gulf of Mexico diving assets to the Stoltz Diving group. Cal Dive than acquired all of Stoltz diving assets in August, 2005.
Taylor Divers are still very active in today's offshore oil andg industry, holding senior management positions while others are still actively diving or are superintendants. We have a great heritage to reflect upon.