With the world exploring and harnessing the resources of the deep ocean, environmental data collection programs have had to expand their capability to collect data and samples in deeper and deeper depths. This upgrade in capability is not only needed for the instruments that are subjected to the extreme pressures of the deep, but also for the handling gear that has to lower these instruments to the seabed and recover them. Sediment, water, current, plankton, and seabed imagery are common datasets required for environmental programs such as an Environmental Baseline Survey conducted by oil and gas corporations to comply with their internal standards and local government regulations.
CSA has upgraded much of its deepwater kit to improve performance and quality. One such upgrade is the addition of an Okeanus (formally DT Marine) 60 hp coring winch with 6000 m of solid core synthetic line. The winch is capable of running at speeds over 100 m per minute (330 feet per minute) during deployment and recovery. While most autonomous deep water deployment systems (such as a box core and water carousels) have gone to using synthetic line over steel cable, this solid core synthetic line takes it a step further by not laying flat, unlike hollow braid synthetics. This greatly improves its level-wind performance and reduces wear on the winch and line. In a recent program in Mexico, the winch was used for over 65 operational days without any failures. During the 65+ days, over 200 sediment box core grabs, 200 Sediment Profile Images (SPI), 205 water Conductivity Temperature Depth (CTD), and Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) casts were collected in water depths up to 3000 m.
Another major upgrade that CSA has recently made is the development of a deep water (6000 m rated) drop or towed video system. The camera system is mounted to a pan and tilt unit and allows for 16MP digital stills with strobe synchronization, real time viewing, and internal recording of 4K video. The system is also comprised of four controllable LED lights, pitch, roll, and heading sensors, an altimeter, and a subsea multiplexer that can take input from and provide power to other desired instrumentation such as an ADCP or CTD. The system has already been successfully deployed to depths over 3300 m on projects offshore Colombia.
These CSA systems have been developed to be “Rapid Mobilization Systems”; they can be mobilized in a cost effective manner on vessels of opportunity anywhere in the world. A great deal of attention has been given to producing equipment packages that are highly reliable, simple, rugged, and facilitate the fast deployment of sensors and equipment to depths up to 6000 msw. The use of high speed winches is critical to deepwater operations, and greatly reduces the time required to collect samples and data in ever increasing water depths. CSA leverages its 48 years of offshore environmental survey experience and worldwide coverage to stay at the leading edge of the Environmental Survey market.