The Magazine for Underwater Professionals

May/Jun 2018


Consortium launches low-cost DP barge

A consortium of companies from the south-west of England has developed a low-cost dynamic positioning (DP) barge for work in the marine energy industry.

Innovate UK funded 50% of the £3 million-plus project, which comprised ITPEnergised, dynamic positioning system developer Reygar, marine construction contractor and vessel owner Keynvor Morlift and A&P Falmouth.

The flat-top Mormaen 15 DP1 barge was successfully trialled off Falmouth in March following five and a half years of research, a spokesman for the consortium said.

Mormaen 15 is 60 metres long and 22 metres wide and has a Reygar StemTide dynamic positioning control system that can be operated in automatic, weathervane and joystick modes, said the spokesman.

He added that the vessel will be deployed on tidal, wave and wind energy projects for transportation, installation, operations and maintenance and decommissioning works.

The vessel can also be used for survey, cable lay, subsea drilling and grouting, nearshore marine construction and salvage projects, the spokesman said. 

“The DP barge project set out to deliver a cost-efficient and versatile construction platform for the transportation, installation, maintenance and decommissioning of marine energy devices, and for a variety of marine construction and installation projects,” he said.

'Game-changing' swarming micro USV/UUV announced

Aquabotix, the underwater robotics company with operations in Australia and the United States, has announced the release of SwarmDiver, a micro unmanned surface vehicle and unmanned underwater vehicle that operates in a swarm.

Multiple SwarmDivers can function simultaneously as a single coordinated entity, be easily controlled via one operator on the surface, and perform dives on command to collect valuable intelligence, according to the company.

Whitney Million, Aquabotix’s chief executive officer, said: “This vehicle is a game-changer for both the industry and Aquabotix. Until today, there were simply no micro hybrid USV/UUV vehicles and no swarming unmanned vehicles with diving capabilities, commercially available in the industry. Aquabotix has changed that.

“Maritime swarming is rapidly becoming an area of focus for naval forces globally, and SwarmDiver leads a revolution in underwater technologies. SwarmDiver advances amphibious warfare tactics as it is engineered to handle dynamic operational situations, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions and sophisticated, coordinated assaults through tracking, trailing and overwhelming targets.”

Million added that in addition to defence and security applications, SwarmDivers can be deployed in research, harbour management and oceanography.


Trimble launches marine positioning GNSS receiver

Trimble, USA, has launched its new MPS865 (marine positioning system) multi-frequency and multi-application GNSS receiver.

“The Trimble MPS865 is a highly versatile, rugged and reliable Global Navigation Satellite System positioning and heading solution for a wide variety of real-time and post-processing applications for marine survey and construction,” said a spokesman. “It brings a new level of connectivity to the marine positioning user and features integrated communications options such as WI-FI, UHF radio, cellular modem for internet connectivity, Bluetooth and MSS satellite-based correction channels.”

Advanced Iver AUV unveiled
  • Iver PW autonomous undersea vehicle with low-drag sidescan and bathymetry transducers

L3 OceanServer, USA, has announced its new Iver Precision Workhorse (Iver PW) autonomous underwater vehicle.

The new Iver PW is the first in a family of highly capable commercial AUVs to address a wide variety of customer missions, including survey research and mapping, sub-surface security and environmental monitoring, the company said.

“Undersea missions are evolving, and L3 is uniquely positioned to develop military and commercial solutions using next-generation processing, autonomy and power technologies to enable new capabilities and missions,” said Daryl Slocum, general manager of L3 OceanServer.

Houston Mechatronics announces release of new 'shape-shifting' underwater robot

USA-based Houston Mechatronics has announced its “revolutionary” new subsea robot, Aquanaut.

The company said the multipurpose robot employs a patented shape-shifting transformation from an AUV to an ROV, removing the need for vessels and tethers. The vehicle enables both the efficient collection of data over long distances as well as manipulation of subsea objects at a significantly lower cost than today’s technology, according to the firm.

“We firmly believe that this technology is a revolution in subsea robotics. Aquanaut, and our tightly coupled over-the-horizon software Commander, enables Houston Mechatronics to deliver more feature rich, safer subsea services to commercial and defence customers that demand it,” said Houston Mechatronics CEO Matthew Ondler. “Our team developed some of the most advanced robots that NASA ever produced and has been developing advanced subsea robotics technology for confidential customers for years. Aquanaut represents the pinnacle of our company’s expertise and experience and we are beyond excited to introduce this vehicle to customers.”

Nic Radford, CTO of Houston Mechatronics, said: “We saw a great opportunity to fundamentally change the commercial and defence subsea markets with Aquanaut. Aquanaut was designed to operate over-the-horizon with onshore operator supervision. We have removed the need for onsite vessels (and people) from subsea work while still maintaining the operator’s situational awareness and the ability to modify missions, which our customers demand. Our capability can truly transform industries. For the warfighter, this means increasing the standoff distance therefore resulting in safer conditions. For commercial customers, this means that we can provide more capability than they have today for much less cost.”

New positioning and geophysical products from Applied Acoustics
  • The new Dura-Spark UHD

UK-based Applied Acoustics has announced the launch of new products from both its acoustic positioning and geophysical product lines.

The company’s flagship USBL system, the Easytrak Nexus 2, is now available with a choice of transceiver; the directional 2780 version that can achieve very long ranges (up to three kilometres) with a high degree of accuracy (0.1% slant range), and the omni-directional 2686 version which, according to the company, is ideal for use in extremely shallow water (less than two metres).

“The operating console is the same in either case enabling the transceivers to be inter-changeable,” said Applied Acoustics. “In addition, the 1100 series of transponders now all feature data telemetry functions which can be utilised when used with the Nexus 2 USBL. The transponders themselves can be used without telemetry with all Applied Acoustic USBL systems, as well as those from other manufacturers, thereby maintaining their overall flexibility.”

To meet the challenges faced by surveyors involved in shallow-water, ultra-high-definition geophysical surveys, Applied Acoustics has re-designed its Dura-Spark range. The sparker sound sources now feature faster rep rates, tuneable electrode banks and adjustable source heights, all resulting in clearer high-resolution data, ideal for use in offshore wind farm surveys, the company said.

E-Vision added to C-Tecnics' range of dive control systems

Aberdeen, UK-based C-Tecnics has announced the launch of a high-performance video system for the commercial diving industry.

Joining C-Tecnics’ range of subsea video control systems, the E-Vision is an economical and reliable system for diver video and communications monitoring, ideal for a range of diving industries such as inland, civils and fish farming, according to the company.

“The E-Vision offers DVR-based diver video recording and playback from a built-in dedicated hard drive, as well as LED lamp intensity control and an external audio-in function allowing diver communications to be fed in to the system and recorded with the video,” the firm said.

It continued: “Onboard file management allows for files to be easily transferred to external storage via USB. The 15-inch (38-centimetre) integrated LCD monitor provides a clear, anti-glare display during live video and playback, and when used with C-Tecnics’ CT3015 camera and CT4006 LED light provides an exceptionally high quality picture via up to 300 metres of a C-Tecnics camera and light umbilical.”
A rugged Peli Case housing ensures the E-Vision is easily transportable and suited to the harshest conditions on any dive site, said C-Tecnics.





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