Sea Technology

JUL 2017

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www.sea-technology.com July 2017 / st 31 T he Undersea Vehicles Pro- gram (UVP) is part of the oceanographic operations sup- port division at the University of North Carolina Wilming- ton's (UNCW) Center for Ma- rine Science (http://uncw.edu/ cms). UVP supports undersea research with a variety of ro- botic vehicles operated by ex- perienced staff. Initially known as the National Undersea Re- search Center (NURC), the first ROV the program acquired was in the summer of 1987: a Deep Ocean Engineering Phantom S2. Still operational, the Phantom S2 recently completed a 10-day mission on Benham Bank in the Philippines in May 2016. The Phantom S2 has been used in more than 2,300 dives, collect- ing more than 2,800 hr. of bot- tom time footage. Eventually, NURC lost its funding, and UVP was formed in 2009. In August of 2013, a Sub-Atlantic Mohawk 18 ROV was purchased by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation (www.marinesanctuary.org) for use in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS) in Galveston, Texas. Experienced UVP staff were selected to maintain and operate the Mohawk 18 ROV, which has been used in more than 400 dives and has collected more than 700 hr. of high- quality video footage. The Mohawk 18 ROV is an observation-class ROV built specifically for the scientific community. The system is out- fitted with a broadcast-quality Insite Pacific Mini-Zeus HD video camera and a Kongsberg 10-megapixel digital camera to provide georeferenced video and digital still documen- tation. The entire system can be loaded in a 6-by-12-ft. en- closed trailer and onto vessels of opportunity. The fly-away ROV system is operated by two experienced staff and has sup- ported more than 75 principal investigators, operated on 49 vessels and supported 161 sci- entific missions. Prototype Sample Collection Skid Many scientists require that an effective science-class ROV must be able to collect multiple samples from the seafloor. This requirement led UVP to assist in the design and manufacture of a prototype sample collec- tion skid. The collection skid was built by Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution's (HBOI) Engineering Depart- ment in Ft. Pierce, Florida, and specifically designed for the Mohawk 18 ROV system as a miniature version of the collec- tion capabilities of the former Johnson Sea Link manned sub- mersibles. The ROV provides 220 VAC power and one spare communications optical fiber to support the skid. This allows for the operation of a five-function manipulator; insulated/ sectioned bio box; suction sampler with multiple collection buckets on a rotating carousel; and power and communi- cations (RS232, RS485 and Ethernet) for future growth and plug-and-play payloads of scientific instruments. It is the sample collection skid that truly makes the Mo- hawk ROV system a science-class vehicle. With this suite of tools, the Mohawk 18 can collect up to 11 discrete sam- ples, or dozens of samples per dive if sample contamina- ROV Sample Collection Skid Collecting Scientific Samples with Observation-Class ROV By Jason White • Lance Horn Mohawk 18 ROV with sample collection skid at- tached in May 2015 in the Gulf of Mexico near Pul- ley Ridge. (Photo Credit: Brian Cousin, HBOI)

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