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Marine Electronics


January 2012 Issue

Bluefin Spray Glider Completes Two-Month Shallow Operation
As part of the Florida Shelf Edge Exploration expedition led by the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, a Bluefin Robotics (Quincy, Massachusetts) Spray Glider has recently completed 3,200 dives over 100 kilometers, Bluefin said in December.

The Spray Glider operations took place at Pully Ridge near the West Florida Shelf in approximately 60 meters' water depth. In addition to the Spray's CTD payload, the system was equipped with optical scattering and chlorophyll sensors.

"The data acquired are providing valuable information about the large-scale distribution of plankton and larval populations, and the next mission will allow us to venture into much deeper waters with two Spray units to also determine background hydrocarbon levels around these deep coral reef ecosystems," said Fraser Dalgleish, director of the Ocean Visibility and Optics Laboratory at Harbor Branch.

The expedition objectives were to locate and characterize coral reefs that are so deep that natural light barely reaches them. The scientists focused on coral communities and commercial fish species on these reefs. They also collected data about the effectiveness of marine managed areas for ecosystem restoration and took samples to test for the presence of hydrocarbons.

Results from this study will be presented at the American Geophysical Union's Ocean Sciences Meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, in February. For more information, visit www.bluefinrobotics.com.

Hydro-Lek to Supply Manipulator To Pick Up Nuclear Waste
As part of the U.K. government's ongoing process of nuclear decommissioning, Hydro-Lek Ltd. (Berkshire, England) has been chosen by James Fisher Nuclear Ltd. to provide a manipulator system to dispose of and confirm the inventory of miscellaneous nuclear waste, the company said in December.

The skid, which was designed and manufactured by Hydro-Lek, interfaces with an industry-standard ROV and houses a HLK 46000 Mini Gauntlet Arm, with corresponding power and valve packs. The skid is constructed from predominantly plastic materials, which are lightweight and highly resistant to hostile environments. A unique sacrificial jaw feature enables contaminated jaws to be jettisoned and replaced.

Hydro-Lek officials said the company put much effort in researching the materials to be used in the prototype in order to meet the key constraints of such a hostile environment. For more information, visit www.hydro-lek.com.

Deepwater Riser Monitoring Goes Wireless With New System
WFS Technologies (Edinburgh, Scotland) and MCS Kenny (Aberdeen, Scotland) in November announced the delivery of Optima-Wireless, a real-time, wireless riser monitoring system for use in deepwater environments. It uses wireless capability from WFS and riser management tools from MCS Kenny and Fugro (Leidschendam, Netherlands) for planning and monitoring operations.

By using real-time data from Optima-Wireless, a riser's working lifetime can be predicted more accurately, the companies said, leading to safer operations and extended equipment life that in turn allows higher levels of hydrocarbon extraction.

Additionally, transmitting data wirelessly in deep waters does not require cabling to riser sensors, which makes installation and retrofits simpler, WFS said. The sensors can be fitted in areas where cabling is impractical.

A cluster of sensors is typically located around the base of the riser and the wellhead. These sensors transmit data using subsea radio frequency from WFS's seatooth+acoustic technology to a central node, which collects the data and transmits them via acoustic modem to a second acoustic modem located near the top of the riser. From there, data are transmitted through the splash zone (where acoustic signal would suffer) using radio frequency to a receiver mounted on a vessel. The delivery of real-time riser sensor data allows the fatigue impact of riser motion to be accurately determined.

"seatooth will communicate in shallow water where acoustic technology is limited and will easily pass through the surface of the water into the air," said Ian Crowther, WFS senior vice president and general manager. "Acoustics will not penetrate into the air but will communicate at low bandwidth over a great distance, up to 20 kilometers, whereas seatooth communicates most effectively at short range."

For more information, visit www.wfs-tech.com.

Port-Log.net System in Australia Monitors Waves, Weather, Tides
OceanWise Ltd. (Hampshire, England) and Valeport Ltd. (Totnes, England) in December announced the successful implementation of a tide, wave and weather monitoring system at the Australian Marine Complex in Henderson, Australia. The system was commissioned by ONA Marine Pty Ltd. (Perth, Australia).

The system uses a combination of Valeport and Gill Instruments Ltd. (Lymington, England) sensors and equipment, with the output telemetered to the OceanWise's Port-Log.net virtual server in Oxford, England. The incoming data streams are decoded and stored on the server. Web services then act on the database to display ongoing and historic conditions, as required by the user.

Through the website, different levels of users are able to access different types and periods of data via a secure login. System and survey managers can access system parameters (e.g., battery level), and for scientists and engineers, the system accepts connections from desktop applications (e.g., MATLAB) for more complex processing and analysis. For more information, visit www.oceanwise.eu.

The World's Navigation System To Be Upgraded While in Water
The World, a 196-meter residential community at sea, will be traveling through the Northwest Passage this summer after upgrades are made to its existing FS-3DT FarSounder (Warwick, Rhode Island) navigation and obstacle avoidance system.

FarSounder said the new system, the FS-3ER, will help assure safe travels on the Northwest Passage voyage, which includes navigating through ice and avoiding large marine mammals.

This will be the first upgrade to an FS-3ER from the FS-3DT performed without first dry-docking the vessel. A team of commercial divers will work on The World while it remains in the water. For more information, visit www.aboardtheworld.com.


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