Sea Technology

MAY 2013

The industry's recognized authority for design, engineering and application of equipment and services in the global ocean community

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Tracking Recovery From Deepwater Horizon MILET System Aids Environmental Monitoring in Gulf of Mexico By Dr. Ian MacDonald T he tragic explosion that sank the Deepwater Horizon rig and caused a catastrophic oil discharge in the Gulf of Mexico set in motion an unprecedented response effort. A major concern throughout the 84-day emergency was fnding and tracking the oil across the deep-ocean foor, and this required use of ROVs, AUVs and profling instruments deployed from surface ships. No expense was spared, and everyone hopes the lessons learned will help prevent other accidents and prepare a more effective response should one occur. A diverse suite of efforts, systems and instruments are coming online as the post-disaster research begins to produce results. In the aftermath of the disaster, focus has shifted to tracking the recovery of the Gulf ecosystem and improving baseline knowledge of its healthy functions. This important work, which will continue for years to come, has been broadly funded by BP plc (London, England) and the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative. However, at a time of reduced research budgets overall, the available resources of ships, submersibles and oceanographic equipment have been substantially scaled back. In this climate, developing cost-effective approaches to marine research and monitoring is crucial. MILET The industry-class ROVs that were widely utilized during the oil discharge come with very high day rates and mobilization costs and, in many cases, do not feature high-resolution cameras and oceanographic instruments as standard equipment. In response to this, Florida State University has MILET system being recovered after a test deployment in the Gulf of Mexico. (Photo Credit: Henrik S. Mathiesen, MacArtney) www.sea-technology.com May 2013 / st 23

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