May 21, 2009      

Summary: Undersea industrial construction and maintenance company Hallin Marine is expanding on its success assisting with the decommissioning of the notorious Sellafield nuclear plant in the U.K. by spinning off its robotics division to accelerate development and to seek more decommissioning and other dangerous work appropriate for its remote-operated manipulator arms.

Hallin Marine Subsea International Plc. is expanding the capabilities of its underwater industrial maintenance and inspection systems by investing more effort in robotic assistance for them.

The Singapore-based company is a “subsea solutions provider to the oil and gas industry” — by which it means it provides remote-operated vehicles, ships, diving systems, survey positioning systems and various services to help oil, gas, telecommunications and other companies build, inspect and repair their underwater cables, drilling rigs and pumping facilities.

Hallin has formed a new robotics division based in the U.K., that will concentrate the company’s development of robot-assisted and remote-operated systems. The company is growing rapidly, reporting revenue of $140 million for calendar year 2008, an increase of 116 percent compared to the $64.8 million it grossed in 2007. It is scheduled to bring eight new ROVs online during this year, for a total of 25, and will bring a second large service ship into service in early 2010.

The company’s goal, rather than adding to the company’s existing pipe-inspection business, is to land contracts to decommission or salvage offshore facilities and nuclear facilities both on and offshore.

In 2008 the group that is now an independently operated subsidiary called Hallin Robotics Ltd. assisted in the decommissioning of the Sellafield nuclear power plant near Seascale, Cumbria in the U.K. Sellafield was the country’s first nuclear power plant and is currently under control of the U.K. Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, which is cleaning up what the plant’s deputy managing director described in an April 2009 Guardian newspaper interview as “the most hazardous industrial building in western Europe.” Hallin used a custom-designed robotic arm and grasping tools in a radioactive environment to decommission irradiated equipment, according to the company’s annual report.