Tributes have been paid to a “legend” of the North Sea diving scene, Frenchman Georges Arnoux, who died last month, aged 78.
The hugely well-liked and respected Mr Arnoux died peacefully in hospital in Alès, France, after a long illness.
He was dearly loved by wife Anne and daughters Flore and Shona, who live in Lyon and Glasgow, respectively.
Mr Arnoux is credited with playing a huge role in making commercial diving safer.
He made his home in Aberdeen for many years and was deemed an “honorary” Scotsman.
Some acquaintances even referred to him “Georges MacArnoux”, though he never lost his French accent.
He was also fondly remembered for his party trick, which involved using a vintage sabre to cut the neck off champagne bottles.
Mr Arnoux began his career as an air diver with Bonnevalle Underwater Contractors in 1962 before doing national service with the French Army.
After completing a saturation diving course in 1972, he joined Comex UK and went on to take part in many North Sea projects.
Mr Arnoux was also active in the Association of Offshore Diving Contractors (AODC) and its successor, the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA).
Tom Hollobone OBE, secretary of AODC, 1977-95, and IMCA 1995-97, said: “I had the privilege of working closely with Georges Arnoux for over 20 years in our pursuit to improve the health and safety of the offshore commercial diving industry.
“Georges was dedicated to his task and if a list was ever prepared of people who had made the greatest contributions to improving the health and safety of commercial divers, Georges’ name would be way up there.
“Not only was he dedicated to his work, he was good fun to be with.”
Tom Ehret, a managing director at Comex in the 1980s, described Mr Arnoux as an “anchor” for the French oil and gas population in Aberdeen.
Mr Ehret, now chairman of KCA Deutag, added: “Whilst I was his direct boss, I was very aware of his seniority in many ways, as a professional and as a human being.
“Georges commanded respect. I admire his life-long dedication and commitment to diving and diving safety. I knew I could always count on him.”
Hugh Williams, chief executive of IMCA from 2002-2012, remembered Mr Arnoux as “a good friend, a special influence to IMCA, and an outstanding person in the diving world”.
“I too recall his prowess with decapitating Champagne bottles,” Mr Williams added.
Jane Hart, technical director of IMCA for 18 years, said Mr Arnoux was a “larger-than-life character, hugely respected, with an immense knowledge of all aspects of offshore diving”.
She added: “He was always keen to share his considerable knowledge and experience and was instrumental in the development of many AODC and IMCA diving guidance documents, including ones on the certification, maintenance and inspection of diving plant and equipment.”
A cremation ceremony was held for Mr Arnoux near Alès on March 27.
Plans are being made for a ceremony in Marseille, once pandemic restrictions are lifted.
North Sea friends and colleagues are also keen to hold a remembrance service in Aberdeen at a later date.