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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"In 1996, the area of the ocean in which Theseus operated was completely ice covered." ternational Seabed Authority under the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea Article 76. They were tested in local waters in greater Vancouver, Canada, and on the torpedo fring range at Nanoose in British Columbia. Two missions were conducted, both under the direction and management of Natural Resources Canada. The frst mission in 2010 consisted of transporting an Explorer vehicle in modular sections to the ice camp south of Borden Island in the Arctic. After reassembly and testing at the site, the vehicle was programmed and sent on missions that would terminate at an advance base camp approximately 375 kilometers further north. The advance base was located on drifting ice, which moved an average of 4.0 kilometers a day. Using a long-range homing system, the vehicle listened for a beacon and homed in on it. Below the advancebase ice hole, the vehicle mated with a capture device. This device, designed by Memorial University, Defence Research and Development Canada, and ISE, was used to recharge the vehicle and simultaneously upload the data that had been collected. Then, with a new mission loaded to the vehicle's onboard computer, it proceeded to the next leg. A total of three legs were completed before weather terminated the operation. At this point, the AUV had traveled more than 1,100 kilometers in a 10-day period under the ice. A second mission commenced in 2011 that involved operating vehicles from Canada's icebreaker CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, which was accompanied by the U.S. icebreaker USCG Healy (Sea Technology, October 2012). Successful operations were conducted in two areas—one less than 100 nautical miles from the North Pole to depths of 3,600 meters and the other in the vicinity of the 2010 missions. These missions were shorter than those conducted in 2010, but they were conducted Sea & Sun Technology in conditions that were more challenging. The operations near the pole are particularly noteworthy as they provided the team with experience in operating inertial navigation systems at very high latitudes. Conclusion The 1996 and 2010-2011 Arctic AUV deployments clearly demonstrated the feasibility of surveying icecovered polar regions with unmanned and autonomous vehicles. Government and industry operators worked together to develop plans and procedures, modify equipment and train the personnel needed for the job. At the end of each deployment, a competent under-ice survey capability existed. The danger lies in not continuing to exercise this, which would result in capability lapse. Personnel would move on to other work, the equipment would rust and ultimately become obsolete, and the Arctic surveying experience would be lost. Given that the grant of seabed under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea Article 76 comes with the responsibility to manage and regulate the use of the seabed, it makes sense to continue with survey operations that would ultimately provide the seabed database upon which a management plan could be based. n Dr. James McFarlane is the president of ISE Ltd. He founded the company in 1974 to build ROVs. He has been a part of engineering teams that have built more than 400 robotic manipulators and more than 240 vehicles. He is an Offcer of the Order of Canada and a member of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, Sigma Xi, Marine Technology Society, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the Mine Warfare Association. Raymond F. Murphy is the marketing and business development manager of ISE Ltd. He spent nearly 30 years with the U.S. Navy as a specialist in antisubmarine warfare, and submerged vehicle performance and evaluation. He joined ISE in 2002 and has the task of connecting ISE to various navies for the purpose of enhancing their underwater equipment. May 2013 / st 43

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