NIUST AUV’s study Shipwrecks in the Northern Gulf of Mexico

May 20, 2010 via - NIUST


In October 2009 two autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV’s), the explorer class Eagle Ray and the seabed class Mola Mola, were launched from the NOAA ship Nancy Foster to locate and retrieve information about sunken ships of historic interest, some of which had disappeared below the water surface of the northern Gulf of Mexico, almost 200 years ago. In a collaboration between the National Institute for Undersea Science and Technology (NIUST,) the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) and the US NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER), targets identified in side scan sonar images, were selected and investigated by the AUVs. Eagle Ray, due to its large size and design features, performed initial multibeam surveys of the target areas, producing high-resolution maps of the seafloor. These maps were used to determine safe working areas for the Mola Mola, which was subsequently launched to take a continuous series of photographs in close proximity to the seafloor, producing a photo-mosaic map of the target area. Operational procedures and results from these dives will be presented, showing the complementing features of these two very different AUVs in operation.

Organization: None
  • SeaBED
Author:Diercks A, Asper V, Woolsey M, Williams J, Cantelas F
Citation:Diercks A, Asper V, Woolsey, NIUST AUV’s study Shipwrecks in the Northern Gulf of Mexico, NIUST, May 2010
Date Published:May 20, 2010
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