He was at the centre of one of the most dramatic international rescues in history nearly 50 years ago.
And tributes have now been paid to Roger Chapman, a former Royal Navy submariner and oil and gas pioneer, who has died of cancer, aged 74.
The former RN lieutenant, who was invalided out of the service, was one of two British sailors aboard the Pisces III submersible, which plunged almost 1,600ft into an abyss, 150 miles off Ireland in 1973.
Trapped in a small steel ball for three days, Mr Chapman, then 28, and his colleague, Roger Mallinson, 35, had only 12 minutes of oxygen left when they were finally rescued and their plight made headlines across the world.
The duo’s travails occurred between August 29 and September 1 after their Vickers Oceanics’ vessel lay on the seabed at a depth of 1,575ft, while they waited more than 76 hours for an eventual escape.
Yet, while he later admitted that the incident had left an aftershock – and he occasionally felt uncomfortable when travelling in a lift – Mr Chapman used his business acumen to create James Fisher Rumic in Barrow before starting operations in the north-east of Scotland.
One of his North Sea friends, Dick Winchester, who is now a columnist with Energy Voice, recalled some of his exploits.
He said: “While most will remember Roger for the Pisces III incident, his real achievement was the establishment of Subsea Surveys Ltd in the 1970s, which was the first UK all-electric ROV [remotely operated underwater vehicle] operator.
“It carried out detailed pipeline inspection, using an integrated suite of sensors which provided real-time data. He and his team effectively established the work class ROV as an offshore tool and, while his later work on military submarine rescue, was very important, I’ve always considered his time with his ROVs as groundbreaking.”
Mr Chapman lent his expertise to assist crews in several incidents involving submersibles, but one of his most frustrating experiences was trying to help the men of the Kursk nuclear submarine in 2000, only for the disaster to claim 118 lives amid claims of Russian intransigence and interference.
There was a much better outcome when the James Fisher team was mobilised to the Kamchatka peninsula in the far east of Russia to locate the AS28 Priz submarine after it became entangled in fishing nets and rendered unable to surface in 2005.
After a meticulous operation, seven men were saved from a watery grave.
Mr Chapman was a much-loved husband to June, a devoted father to Marcus and Sam and father-in-law to Melly and Jenny.
His funeral takes place on February 7.