The Magazine for Underwater Professionals

Jul/Aug 2018


Rovco completes Amazon Reef survey for Greenpeace

Saab Seaeye Cougar ROV equipped for 3D capture and water sampling

UK subsea services company Rovco has announced the successful completion of an underwater survey of the Amazon Reef, off the northern coast of Brazil, for leading environmental organisation Greenpeace.

The Bristol-based firm carried out a full 3D seabed survey, deploying its SubAtlantic, UK, Mojave and Saab Seaeye, UK, Cougar ROVs while using its latest 3D reconstruction technology. The project also required Rovco to mobilise a survey grade, fully redundant ultra-short baseline system for accurate subsea positioning.

Findings revealed the existence of coral reef near the mouth of the Amazon, which extends further than previously thought. The calcareous ecosystem, which supports fish and other reef creatures, lies inside a recently licensed exploration block, approximately 28 kilometres from an exploration well in the Foz do Amazonas basin.

The project was completed within six weeks by Rovco’s survey party chief, ROV supervisor and ROV pilot on board the Greenpeace Esperanza ship. The mobilisation took place in Bordeaux, France, and work commenced offshore Brazil before concluding in French Guiana.

Rovco is in discussions with Greenpeace about using similar 3D survey techniques to protect other sensitive environments around the world.

Brian Allen, chief executive and founder of Rovco, said: “We were extremely honoured to support Greenpeace on its latest scientific mission.

“After a detailed analysis we were able to confirm that the reef overlapped the new Brazilian oil territories at the mouth of the Amazon. Until now, it was thought that corals could not develop near the mouth of a large river, where fresh water carries greater amounts of sediment.

“The reef is believed to be the largest ecosystem in Brazil and one of the most extensive in the world – home to approximately 40 species of coral, and 120 varieties of sponge and fish. We were incredibly proud to play a part in such an exciting and environmentally supportive expedition.”

Spanish treasure galleon found
  • EdgeTech 400kHz sidescan sonar image of the 'San Jose' shipwreck

EdgeTech, USA, reports that one of its sonar systems has played a key part in the discovery of the most valuable shipwreck in the world. Sought after by treasure hunters for more than 300 years, the wreck of the Spanish galleon San Jose was finally discovered on 27 November 2015 and just recently made public.

The search was performed by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), USA, REMUS 6000 autonomous underwater vehicle equipped with an EdgeTech 2200 sidescan sonar. AUV mission planning and sonar data analysis for the project was supplied by GK Consulting, USA.

The San Jose was a 62-gun flagship galleon of a Spanish fleet carrying gold, silver and emeralds from the mines of Peru back to Spain. It was sunk on 8 June 1708 in a battle with the British off of Cartagena, Colombia. The ship sank so quickly that there were only 11 survivors of the 600 people on board.

“EdgeTech sidescan sonar systems provide operators the ability to image large areas of the seafloor during important deepwater searches when the whereabouts of sunken objects are largely unknown,” said a spokesman for the company. “EdgeTech’s unique sidescan sonar frequency pairing options such as 400/900kHz enable very high-resolution searches while 75/230kHz combinations provide long range 2000-metre wide swath searches such as the one recently that resulted in the discovery of the USS Indianapolis.”

He added: “EdgeTech sonars are the benchmark for deepwater searches and have been in service on the Ocean Infinity (USA) search for Malaysian Airlines missing flight MH370.

“EdgeTech takes enormous pride in knowing that its high quality reliable underwater acoustic imaging systems continue to assist in these demanding endeavours.”

'Pioneering Spirit' returns to Black Sea

The giant multi-purpose vessel Pioneering Spirit has resumed pipelaying of the second offshore string (Line 2) for the TurkStream offshore gas pipeline towards Kiyikoy in Turkey. The vessel completed the installation of Line 1 in April.

After entering the Black Sea in late June, Pioneering Spirit completed a set of preparatory works, including lowering of the stinger and re-testing of pipelay equipment.

The pipeline head of the second string was recovered from the bottom of the Black Sea on the border of Russian and Turkish Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) at a depth of 2170 metres. This pipeline section up to the EEZ border at kilometre point 224 was installed in 2017.

TurkStream is a gas pipeline project stretching across the Black Sea from Russia to Turkey and further to Turkey’s border with neighbouring countries. The first line of the gas pipeline is intended for the Turkish consumers, while the second line is designated for the Southern and South-Eastern Europe. Each line will have the throughput capacity of 15.75 billion cubic metres of gas per year.





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