A remotely operated vehicle (ROV) is about to uncover some previously forgotten history when it dives down into the hidden depths of an abandoned mine in Ceredigion, Wales.
At the height of production between 1850-1900, the Llywernog Silver-Lead Mine played a valuable role within the Welsh mining industry and much of this heritage has been lost. The mine – which was abandoned in 1910 after 160 years of operation – lies underneath the Silver Mountain Experience, with visitors to the attraction able to explore part of the mine.
Most of the mine however is inaccessible due to flooding, but now management at Silver Mountain have teamed up with Liverpool-based company Underwater Vision to use their technology to explore the mine.
The submersible ROV is fitted with lights and a live-feed video camera that will capture…
Whatever you do, don’t call the Hennepin County Sheriff’s new remote operated vehicle a drone.
“My friends at MPR called it drone the other day, but it is not a drone, “said Sheriff Rich Stanek. “It’s attached to an operator with a bright yellow tether cord. I don’t think that would be very sneaky. ”
The sheriff’a new $150,000 ROV was delivered in December, and by April about 10 deputies had been trained on the new equipment. The ROV was paid for with a blend of private and public funds—the Lake Minnetonka conservation District, for example, contributed $14,000.
Sheriff Stanek said the ROV located a body just this week in a car…
The Gulf of Cambay, known for its unpredictably turbulent currents and tidal variations, was particularly unkind to a small group of scientists doing a marine pollution check on board Sagar Paschimi some 20 km off the Surat shores in the early months of 2000.
The National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) team could do nothing much but browse through the multi-disciplinary data and samples it collected while doing the pollution check before returning to its Chennai headquarters.
And then, they saw it. “Pebbles on an ocean floor?”, wondered NIOT Project Director Dr S. Kathiroli, Is there or rather was there a river under the sea?” NIOT Director Professor M. Ravindran and consultant S. Badrinarayan wasted no time in joining Kathiroli to analyse the voluminous data Sagar Paschimi had collected over the months from the area.
After a thorough perusal of the acoustic images collected by using sound waves, the NIOT team was virtually convinced that all these months they were sailing over the remains of a Harappa-like civilisation. If unearthed, it would be the first such archaeological find in the Gulf of Cambay.
“It was an accidental discovery,” says Ravindran. “We were doing some pollution check for a private company and our teams were collecting routine data. And here we are with clinching evidence of a lost settlement perhaps 6,000 years old.” The NIOT contacted the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which “unofficially” agreed that it could be a Harappan site buried under the sea owing to a series of earthquakes.
ACROPOLIS: Acoustic image of buildings spread over 3,869 sq m which may have been the city hub typical of Harappa
The confirmation is yet to come, but the findings are astounding. The acoustic images done by Side Scan , Sonar, Sub-bottom Profiler and Multi-beam Echo Sounder give a clear enough view of a number of structures which resemble those of the Harappan age.
“The Side Scan Sonar has picked up images of several excellent geometric objects which have to be man-made,” says Kathiroli, who spent sleepless nights on Sagar Paschimi during inclement weather in the Gulf of Cambay.
One of the images shows structures like tanks, some square and 40 m long, some 41 m by 25 m. There are even steps visible on the side of the structure, suggesting it was “the’ great bath”, the central feature of Harappan towns.
Other striking pictures are those of a group of constructions in an area of 97 m by 24 m resembling the Acropolis of the Harappan culture and a residential settlement spanning an area 73 m by 53 m buried under sand waves and sand ripples. There is even an image of a 44 m-long structure resembling a temple with a pond.
The Side Scan Sonar could not have given better photographs under the turbulent waters where sand currents make imaging extremely difficult. “The monsoon over, we got’ back with more equipment doing sub-bottom profiles of the structures,” says Ravindran. “The results were hair-raising.”
The sub-bottom profiler, which penetrates deep under the seabed to give a cross-section view, confirmed the Acropolis structure. A similar profile of the “settlement” site showed structures with well-designed basements.
“See,” Badrinarayan points his finger still shaking with excitement, “taller structures have deeper basements. Those old guys, I should admit, were great engineers.”
The Harappan theory is strengthened by the pebbles which NIOT had stumbled upon. Rounded pebbles suggest that one or many rivers had run their course through the now-submerged region. That virtually every ancient civilisation flourished on river banks adds to the validity of the NIOT find. Moreover, S. Kalyanaraman, in his recent book on the Saraswati, says the river had flowed into the “sagara in the Gulf of Khambat (Cambay)”.
According to a study conducted by the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Goa, thousands of years ago the sea level was 6 m higher than at present. Archaeological studies of the Gujarat coast suggest that places like Lothal were port cities as the ocean extended till there. Then how come the structures now identified by NIOT were submerged? According to a note prepared by the organisation, the most probable answer is earthquakes.
The discovery is reported in the journal Deep Sea Research Part I by the team from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), California, US.
They made their discoveries in underwater mountainous areas, known as seamounts, off the coast of California.
The species Chaunacops coloratus belongs to the family of fish known as anglerfish because of their unique method of predation.
In the same way an angler uses a baited line to catch fish, anglerfish dangle a fleshy lump (the esca) from their head on a long filament (the illicium) which lures prey towards their mouth.
“[Our results] reveal a little more information about an animal that lives 3200 metres below the ocean’s surface that no one has ever seen before,” said Senior Research Technician at MBARI Lonny Lundsten, “and we’ve got gorgeous HD video of it!”
The study has extended the fish’s known depth by 1500m and distribution by a further 5500km north.
“Nobody knew these existed off California or north of Costa Rica for that matter,” said Mr Lundsten.
Images were captured by the team’s submersible vehicle equipped with scientific instruments and underwater recording equipment.
Blue and red specimens were recorded, as well as those between the two colours
The fish, described as “rarely encountered” by experts, was recorded swimming, retreating from a threat, deploying its lure and “walking” on the sea floor.
According to Mr Lundsten, “walking” is common among anglerfish which use their fins to manouevre across solid surfaces.
Scientists were also intrigued by the observation that smaller fish were steely blue in colour compared to the bright-red adults.
That suggests that colour change is part of the developmental process of the fish as they mature.
Forum Subsea Technologies, a business line of Forum Energy Technologies (USA), has placed a Sub-Atlantic Mohawk observation class remotely operated vehicle (ROV) on permanent display at the Titanic Belfast Museum to help tell the story of the RMS Titanic.
The newly opened Titanic Belfast Museum, the world’s largest Titanic visitor attraction, is located in the heart of Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK.
Saturday, 1 September marks the anniversary of the discovery of the wreck of RMS Titanic. On this date in 1985, Robert Ballard, Jean-Louis Michel and their French-American team finally located the wreckage of one of the most famous and tragic ships in history. The discovery was made possible due to the development of ARGO-Jason, a remotely operated system to locate and videotape underwater objects. The ARGO-Jason was primitive by today’s standards and was towed on a sled underwater by a ship.
In contrast, the fully electric Mohawk ROV is a compact, high-performance ROV system which can be used for a variety of underwater tasks including observation, survey, NDT inspections and other mission tasks. Those black and white images transmitted by ARGO back in 1985 have been replaced by full-colour high-definition images taken by multiple cameras and sensor interfaces. The Mohawk features auto-heading and depth, AC propulsion thrusters, and hydraulic or electric manipulators, and is capable of several tooling skid options.
The bell of sunken World War II battle cruiser HMS Hood could be returned to Portsmouth if a new recovery effort is successful.
Experts will attempt to recover the bell which was on the ship when it was sunk by the battleship Bismarck in the North Atlantic in 1941.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said US philanthropist Paul G Allen had offered to recover the bell at no cost.
If recovered, it will go on display at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in 2014.
A yacht owned by Mr Allen, who is a co-founder of Microsoft, will be equipped with a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) for the operation.
Shipwreck investigation company Blue Water Recoveries, which found the wreck 2,800m underwater in 2011, will co-ordinate the recovery and film the wreck.
HMS Hood was sunk by the battleship Bismarck in the North Atlantic
‘Courage and personal sacrifice’
The bell is known to be lying on the seabed well away from the ship’s hull which will not be disturbed by the recovery operation.
If the recovery mission is successful, the bell will be put on display at a new exhibition hall due to open at the Royal Navy Museum.
Rear Admiral Philip Wilcocks, president of the HMS Hood Association, said: “Future generations will be able to gaze upon her bell and remember with gratitude and thanks the heroism, courage and personal sacrifice of Hood’s ship’s company who died in the service of their country.”
The government has licensed the recovery of the bell – as well as providing a memorial, the recovery will prevent it being taken by any illegal operation for personal gain, an MoD spokesman said.
Portsmouth-based Hood was the largest Royal Navy vessel to have been sunk.
With 1,415 killed, it was the biggest loss of life suffered by any single British warship and a major shock during the war.
It was the flagship of the fleet and part of a force ordered to engage the Bismarck off Greenland, which was finally sunk by Royal Navy ships and the Royal Air Force on 27 May 1941.
The sinking of the Bismark
The sinking of HMS Hood on 24 May 1941 sparked a huge Royal Navy pursuit of the Bismarck, which ended with her destruction three days later…
British company, Maritime Training and Competence Solutions (MTCS Ltd) claims the subsea industry is one of the fastest growing niche markets in the oil and gas industry – and no where is this more evident than within Southeast Asia. One area in which MTCS Ltd has identified a marked growth, is in the use of remotely operated vehicles and the demand for qualified ROV Pilot technicians.
Fuelled by the search for oil in ever deeper waters and utilising numerous strands of technology, the world of ROVs is breaking new ground to develop ever more sophisticated vehicles – meaning an increased need for pilot technicians. The global demand for ROVs was recently highlighted in a report from analysts, Douglas-Westwood, which revealed that expenditure on work class ROV operations had more than doubled since 2002. The energy analysts predict that by 2012, $1.458billion will have been spent in this sector.
MTCS Ltd, an internationally recognised, fully accredited Assessment and ROV training centre, whose head office is based in the Lake District of the UK, is all too familiar with the demand for ROV training. As they prepare to launch a series of open courses this October from their new facility in Loyang, Singapore, they will be including an ROV Pilot Induction Course, High Voltage Safety Awareness Skills and Hydraulic Systems. All Offshore ROV courses are in line with the trade association (IMCA) guidelines. MTCS Ltd hold numerous key industry accreditations and have a solid track record, making them a world leader in ROV and underwater technology training.
MTCS Ltd is looking to grow their business investment in Southeast Asia – encouraged by the figures from the Indonesian Energy & Mineral Resources Department, who state:
The Indonesian oil & gas sector for 2012 is projected to rise by 23.7% to $18.3 billion (approximately $14.9 billion in 2011).
Commenting, Richard Warburton, Managing Director of MTCS Ltd said:
“On the back of client demand, we have been investigating the potential in Southeast Asia for some time and are pleased to have delivered some excellent training courses at our facility in Loyang.
“ROV pilots are in huge demand in the oil and gas industry and this is set to continue over the coming years. In recent months we’ve seen many companies recruiting, plus agencies have been putting out calls for ROV Pilot Technicians for their clients. We will be using high-calibre trainers with proven experience in the ROV field, to drive forward our operations in both Malaysia and Singapore.”
“Estimates are that by the end of 2012 there will be almost 6000 subsea wells in operation, with opportunities to work not only in Asia, but also Norway, the Middle East, South America, Africa, Australasia, China and in the UK”
Damning findings in the oil and gas industry, show that drilling companies focus on speed, often at the expense of worker and environmental safety.
The track-record in the UK for offshore competence is better than most. However, the Macondo blow-out in the Gulf States in 2010 was the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry. The explosion killed 11 men working on the platform and injured 17 others. Following a ruling in the U.S on 15 November 2011, where competence certification is now mandatory throughout the oil industry, British company, Maritime Training & Competence Solutions (MTCS Ltd) and their team now plan to overturn the unfortunate track-record of the industry.
Richard Warburton, Managing Director for MTCS Ltd, Windermere, UK, says:
“The safety issues surrounding the oil industry have been poor and no more so than at the Macondo disaster, so the mandatory competence certification ruling in the US is long overdue.
“Although the new competence mandatory requirement applies to the oil company operators, they will insist on it being implemented by the contractors too. And this will not just be limited to the US; it will no doubt affect the rest of the world. As you can imagine there is some concern amongst the contractors on how they go about getting competence certification. However, we have made the competence programme incredibly flexible, where candidates are assessed in their workplace. No matter where in the world they are, candidates can use distance learning methods most appropriate to their needs, whether it be through the internet or the office intranet.”
Competence programmes for the offshore oil & gas, wind and marine energy sector are well underway in the UK, with further plans for MTCS Ltd to rollout training and competence services internationally. Shortly to be delivering training and competence programmes in Nigeria and opening new offices in both Houston, Texas and in Singapore, MTCS Ltd aim to show the industry how a fully accredited, dedicated Subsea Competence Management Program should work. All the MTCS competence programmes can be delivered at the company’s worksite, making it easier for candidates to attain their accreditation. Programmes will be launched to the subsea industry, focusing on International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) disciplines.
Clearly defined in the American Petroleum Institute directive is that competence management is now mandatory, where all operators are required to have a Safety Environmental Management System (SEMS). IMCA provides a competence framework from which members can develop their own schemes across a common format that aids cross industry recognition. It is with this in mind that MTCS Ltd will be setting up an office in Houston, Texas to deliver the training needed to ensure everyone is prepared for the required competency certification.
Maritime Training & Competence Solutions Ltd provide a full IMCA-aligned Competence Management service to ensure personnel are demonstrating competence in the offshore workplace. MTCS is a fully accredited assessment and training centre providing a spectrum of operational, technical and supervisory training to the offshore industry. The majority of their courses focus on subsea technology including, remotely operated vehicles, as used in the oil & gas, nuclear and renewables industry.
For further information on MTCS competence courses, and other training opportunities, please contact Richard Warburton, MTCS, Tel: 015394 48233 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Innovation News Daily has an interesting article about how the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery plans to use a Bluefin-21 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) and an SSI TRV 005 Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) to find and thenphotograph the wreck of Amelia Earhart’s plane, now believed to be off the coast of Nikumaroro (formerly Gardner Island) in the pacific island nation of Kiribati.
Whilst the majority of ROV work is currently in the oil and gas industry, ROVs are now routinely used in salvage, archaeology and exploration.