Tauranga New Zealand based hydrographic surveyors, Discovery Marine Ltd (DML) have recently begun using a WASSP multibeam sonar in their daily operations.
DML and WASSP were instrumental during the grounding of the MV Rena wreck in October 2011.
At the time of the grounding of the ship on the Astrolabe Reef at the entrance of Tauranga Harbour, port authorities were concerned at the possibility of shipping containers laying on the seabed in vicinity of the ship, which could have posed problems with the salvage effort.
Due to the depths around the ship, traditional side scan sonar was not seen as a viable option, the best solution to find missing containers and to pinpoint their location was to carry out a multibeam survey.
WASSP Ltd, were able to deliver one of their sonar systems to DML for use within hours of the grounding
DML Director Greg Cox says the multibeam sonar has allowed them to accurately and quickly identify and locate a number of containers sitting on the sea floor.
“Containers in the water quickly became a serious issue for the salvage operation, so we needed a multibeam sonar quickly,” says Cox.
“We contacted WASSP Ltd on Wednesday 19 October, 2011 and the equipment was collected by us the following day from their office in Auckland. Arriving back in Tauranga the next day the equipment was unpacked and checked and we were able to get it installed on our 10.2m vessel by Friday afternoon. Saturday morning, we were out using it.”
“We managed to identify 12 targets, 7 of them deemed to be containers lying on the seabed at depths of up to 80m. We have run over the original contacts and confirmed their existence, location, shape and size.”
On the functionality of using the WASSP multibeam system, Cox says he was very surprised as to how quickly he was able to get the system up and running and to be able to retrieve usable data to be used in the salvage effort.
“The speed of the process was outstanding, from order, to installation and immediate functionality, it’s quite an amazing piece of technology. It is a credit to WASSP Ltd about how quickly they acted, given the severity of this incident for a country like New Zealand.”
“Overall, we’re very happy with how quickly our team were able to operate the system. This is a tribute to not only the skills of our surveyors, but also the fact that the WASSP and Navigator viewing software is relatively straight forward to set up and operate.”