JRA 3.2 Equipment innovations for deep sea operations from vessels
Eurofleets+ Equipment innovations for deep sea operations from vessels focuses on improved capability for regional vessels and improving sustainability. Exploration of the deep sea is a major challenge and opportunity in marine research. Rigs and related technologies are fundamental to the study of the sea as they are essential for the deployment of equipment.
Eurofleets+ is conducting investigations concerning deep sea research from vessels aiming at achieving interoperability of rigs for the deployment of different equipment, enabling installation of mobile equipment when needed, and facilitating sharing and installation of equipment across different ships. Two specific areas of research aim at increasing the capacity and interoperability for regional vessels and the third a dual mode handling system has been designed for the deployment and recovery of research tools and equipment such as ROV’s, Grabs, Drop cameras and observatory components to the seabed through moon-pools or/and over the side. Limited examples of dual handling systems for deployment through moon pool/ over the side are in existence and this task presents a concept design and simulation of operation to demonstrate the design and prove its fitness for purpose.
Figure 2‑3 JRA Equipment innovations for deep sea operations from vessels
A detailed review of requirements of deep water observatories, deep water moorings and deep-water research currently in use and potential future requirements including size and weights of deployed equipment, cables and landers, as well as the length and design complexity of deep water moorings was conducted, which are presented in D3.5 – Review of current and future deep water requirements. European and international cooperation inputs were secured including EMSO ERIC and Ocean Networks Canada.
Eurofleets+ includes key synergistic industry partners, Hampidjan, MacArtney and SEAONICS to enable the exploration of synergies that can be achieved through the developments in the JRA tasks related to equipment innovations for deep sea operations from vessels.
The first of these, a New deep-sea winch design, an electric, heave compensated portable (ISO 20’) winch from MacArtney suitable for use on Ocean, Global, Regional and vessels of opportunity (OSV) increasing capacity to work in the deep-sea operations.
This type of portable winch would allow Research Vessel Operators to expand the tools used on their vessels for the deployment of instrumentation and in turn research teams extend their studies in the deep sea using medium-sized vessels. Consultation with industry partner Hampidjan (supplier of fiber ropes) played a key role in reduced weight of the design through expert advice on the conversion to the use of fiber ropes which allows access to greater depths and less load on the deck layout.
Limited examples of dual handling systems for deployment through moon pool/over the side are in existence. Task 3.4 Moon-pool use for deployment and recovery of research tools developed a concept design and a simulation package. The draft design incorporates the scope of supply for a dual multipurpose launch and recovery system for oceanographic research tools and equipment such as (but not limited to) ROV’s, grabs, drop cameras and observatory components to seabed through moonpool and/or over the side was presented to the European Research Vessel Operators for feedback ahead of progressing to concept design and 3d mapping. In development of the functional system specification SEAONICS worked with the Vard Group (one of the world leaders in specialized shipbuilding for the offshore market) in developing detailed drawings including a new Ice breaker vessel design incorporating the moon-pool and over-side operations concept system design
Progress has also been made on task 3.2.3 – Multipurpose crane/handling system for deep water operations (Outline design). Knuckle-jib cranes are common on-board research vessels. They are used for the loading of material, its transfer and location on the decks of the vessel. The possibility of using such cranes for the deployment of heavy equipment over the side with supports is currently being investigated. The deployment by means of two cables (traction and coax) and of different material (steel and aramid) are being explored. The multi-functionality of such cranes has the potential to reduce rigging and loading on the working deck of smaller vessels. A conceptual design and specification will be developed for a multifunction crane for handling deep-water research equipment including corers, TV-Grabs, cameras and deployment of sea equipment. This task is led by CSIC, with design engineering work undertaken by FERRI SA under subcontract.