August 7, 2008

New remotely operated vehicle arrives at MBARI

On July 23, 2008, MBARI’s newest remotely operated vehicle (ROV) arrived in Moss Landing, after being shipped from the manufacturer (SMD-Hydrovision) in Newcastle, England. This vehicle will replace ROV Tiburon, which since 1997 has helped researchers study the deep sea from British Columbia to Baja California to Hawaii. The new ROV is more powerful than Tiburon and will able to carry heavier science equipment, including gear and experiments for deep-water ocean observatories. Over the next two months, MBARI’s engineers and ROV pilots will be testing and outfitting the vehicle, and installing it on the research vessel Western Flyer.

The new ROV does not yet have a name. A list of possible names is being compiled based on suggestions from MBARI’s staff and visitors to MBARI’s open house.

The following photos show the new ROV’s arrival and unveiling at MBARI’s facilities in Moss Landing, California.


Image: Kim Fulton-Bennett (c) 2008 MBARI

The new ROV and its associated gear occupied several large crates that filled an entire semi-truck trailer. Technical support manager Dale Graves, who oversaw the final setup of the vehicle at the manufacturing facility in England, takes a look at the shipment.


Image: Kim Fulton-Bennett (c) 2008 MBARI

The biggest wooden crate in the trailer contained the ROV itself. Lifting this crate out of its tight fit in the shipping trailer was a delicate process, performed flawlessly by crane-operator Charlie Schafer.


Image: Kim Fulton-Bennett (c) 2008 MBARI

In addition to the large crates, the semi truck carried this large spool, along with 5,000 meters of steel tether for the new ROV.


Image: Bernard Roth (c) 2008 MBARI

Can you guess what’s inside the bag? The new ROV was sealed in mylar for protection during shipping.


Image: Bernard Roth (c) 2008 MBARI

Finally the last wall of the crate was removed and the new ROV stood visible for all to see.


Image: Kim Fulton-Bennett (c) 2008 MBARI

As soon as the wrappings were off, the ROV pilots (and everyone else in the vicinity) had to inspect the new vehicle. Although the new ROV has plenty of complicated-looking hydraulic lines and circuitry, it is still very “stripped down” compared with MBARI’s working ROVs. That will change as lights, cameras, manipulators, and other equipment from ROV Tiburon are transferred to the new ROV.


Image: Kim Fulton-Bennett (c) 2008 MBARI

ROV pilots Knute Brekke and Bryan Schaefer look “under the hood” of the new ROV and consider the challenges and opportunities the new vehicle will provide.

For additional information or images relating to this article, please contact: Kim Fulton-Bennett