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Hydro Management At Saab Seaeye
 

SMALL COUGAR EATS BIG WORK TASK

Cutting off 194 grouting hoses from 97 structures in 24 days, DCN Diving deployed a compact version of a Saab Seaeye Cougar XT, measuring just 1.3m x 0.78m, for a work task typically undertaken by much larger systems ‐ with considerable savings in costs.

The success of the project came from incorporating a tooling package created by DCN Diving into their Cougar XT Compact, a robotic system specially designed for handling strong currents around wind farms with its six thruster power and low profile structure.

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Cougar XT Compact
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Cougar XT Compact
Cougar XT Compact

Netherlands-based DCN's low cost solution for removing the grouting hoses following installation of transition pieces on top of the mono‐piles at the Godewind 1 & 2 Windfarms, came from combining a Seaeye hydraulic power pack with a miniBOOSTER and a TNT Rescue 'Jaws of Life' hydraulic rescue cutter to create a uniquely powerful and effective system.

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'Jaws of Life' cutter at work and on skid
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'Jaws of Life' cutter at work and on skid
'Jaws of Life' cutter at work and on skid

The task for the compact Cougar also included offloading 58 tons of the grouting hose into containers.

The result was a task completed on time, within budget, and to the full satisfaction of the customer, says Fred Bosman, ROV operations manager at DCN Diving who explained the technique used:

"We first attached an hydraulic clamp on the upper part of the grouting hose, which was connected to both Cougar and vessel crane. Once the clamp was secured to the grouting hose the ROV was pulled back from the clamp so the hose was no longer connected to the ROV but only to the vessel crane.

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Cougar XT Compact in its Tether Management System (TMS)
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Cougar XT Compact in its Tether Management System (TMS)
Cougar XT Compact in its Tether Management System (TMS)

"Our next step was to cut the hose as close as possible to the lower side of the hose, and the last highest cut just underneath the coupling. At this time the hose was no longer connected to the structure and the vessel crane recovered the hose to the deck where it was stored in an open‐top container until off‐loaded in port.

"Depending on how close we could position the cutter to the couplings, the remaining hose lengths were about 6m long and weighed about 300kg each."

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Lengths of grouting hose 6m long and weighing 300kg each
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Lengths of grouting hose 6m long and weighing 300kg each
Lengths of grouting hose 6m long and weighing 300kg each

From the start, DCN Diving were confident they could creatively exploit the Cougar's technological architecture and windfarm-relevant design for their needs by harnessing the vehicle's exceptional power, precise control and low‐profile design that minimises the effect of current and a small diameter tether that reduces the effect of drag ‐ all of which enable the Cougar XT Compact to handle strong currents whilst undertaking a wide range of tasks.

Saab Seaeye is the world's leading underwater e‐robotics company with the most advanced range of tethered, autonomous and hybrid robotic systems engineered to address the diverse range of tasks found across commercial, defence and scientific markets.

DCN is an international operating contractor that provides innovative subsea and hyperbaric services. These services include engineering, diving, ROV operations and hyperbaric testing.

For more information contact:

Matt Bates
Saab Seaeye Limited
+44 (0)1489 898 000

www.seaeye.com

Fred Bosman
ROV Operations Manager
DCN Diving The Netherlands
0031 (0)164 214 343

www.dcndiving.com


RECORD SWIM AGAINST FLOW FOR HIBBARD WITH SABERTOOTH

Hibbard Inshore has set the record for the longest flooded tunnel inspection against flow ever attempted.

Success came from using the Saab Seaeye Sabertooth AUV/ROV hybrid, chosen as the only possible vehicle for the job.

Used as a tethered ROV, which was extremely important to Hibbard for real time data feedback, vehicle control, and safety measures, the Sabertooth swam the eight kilometres of tunnel against a 0.3 metre-per-second flow whilst fitted with a range of surveying and filming systems.

This achievement kept the vital water supply flowing to Rio Tinto's aluminium smelting plant in British Columbia during the inspection mission.

Speed was essential as the flow was reduced during the mission and a 'very fast' inspection in an eight-hour timeframe was needed, says Dave Malak, Director of Hibbard Inshore.

The Sabertooth was fitted with a combination of multi-beam systems and cameras to provide 3D profiling of the tunnel, along with a record of the tunnel wall status and HD video examination of areas of concern.

For Rio Tinto the 40 year-old tunnel is a critical asset that needed a thorough examination to reveal areas of potential collapse for maintenance planning and to provide comparable data for trends in tunnel condition.

Hibbard's success follows their record-breaking 24 kilometre tunnel inspection inside Australia's Snowy Mountain hydro scheme where they also used the Sabertooth in its tethered mode.

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Sabertooth - record breaking design for long tunnel inspection
Sabertooth - record breaking design for long tunnel inspection

The Sabertooth concept combines the technologies of both AUV and ROV vehicles into a single unified resource to give operators the range and manoeuvrability of an AUV, yet with the tooling capability of a light-work ROV.

Hibbard Onshore were first to spot the potential of the Sabertooth concept, recognising the advantages of a vehicle that has 360 degree manoeuvrability, a sleek hydro-dynamic design, efficient thrusters and accurate navigation - and an ability to cope with flowing water in a confined space.

They also saw the benefit of battery technology that could operate the Sabertooth over extremely long distances under its own power so that only a thin fibre-optic cable need be used when necessary.

Hibbard Inshore is a global engineering services company with a premier fleet of ROVs and the expertise and technology necessary to solve the complex challenges of the power, water, sewer, tunnelling and offshore industries.

Saab Seaeye is the world's largest manufacturer of electric ROVs, and now includes Saab's underwater vehicle range of tethered, autonomous and hybrid underwater vehicle systems for the defence industry.

For more information contact:

Dave Malak
Hibbard Inshore
+1 248 745 8456

www.hibbardinshore.com
Matt Bates
Saab Seaeye Limited
+44 (0)1489 898 000

www.seaeye.com


RECORD BROKEN
Flooded tunnel inspection record broken by Hibbard Inshore using a Saab Seaeye Sabertooth

Inside Australia's Snowy Mountain hydro scheme, leading underwater service provider, Hibbard Inshore, say they have broken the record for the longest tunnel inspection by a tethered vehicle using their newest long-range vehicle, the Saab Seaeye Sabertooth.


Importantly, this meant there was no need to drain the tunnel system, which saved closing down several power stations.

During a round-trip of over 24 kilometres, Hibbard Inshore's customised Sabertooth AUV/ROV collected real-time visual data whilst scanning the tunnel with multiple types of multibeam sonar.
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Sabertooth entering flooded tunnel
Sabertooth entering flooded tunnel.
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Field control tent
Field control tent.

The mission set out to gather high-density dimensional data, discover open cracks or holes, find debris build-up, detect lining failures, and identify any rock falls.

From the data collected Hibbard created 3D models ready for maintenance planning and comparable inspection data to identify future trends in tunnel condition.
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Tunnel sonar cross-section
Tunnel sonar cross-section.

Hibbard Inshore has so far inspected six trans-mountain tunnels across the Snowy Hydro Scheme using this method and will return in 2014 for further inspections.

Previously the tunnels had to be drained for examination, risking collapse of the tunnel and endangering inspection personnel.

Chief Operating Officer of Snowy Hydro, Ken Lister said:

"The use of the unmanned sub for tunnel inspections now means that it can be done more frequently, more safely and without the need to shut down power stations or drain the tunnel. This multi-million dollar investment is a great outcome for the business, for the safety of our people and contractors and is part of our wider program of Scheme upgrades and on-going maintenance".

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Sabertooth single-hull AUV/ROV
Sabertooth single-hull AUV/ROV.

The challenges for Hibbard Inshore included entering narrow shafts, navigating tight bends, working in limited visibility and managing within a strict schedule.

The Sabertooth can operate as either a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) with a tether to allow for real-time data and pilot control, or as an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) to give flexibility in various tunnel inspection scenarios.

Saab Seaeye is the world's largest manufacturer of electric ROVs, and now includes Saab's underwater vehicle range of tethered, autonomous and hybrid underwater vehicle systems for the defence industry.

Hibbard Inshore is a global engineering services company with a premier fleet of ROVs and the expertise and technology necessary to solve the complex challenges of the power, water, sewer, tunnelling and offshore industries.

For more information contact:

Dave Malak
Hibbard Inshore
+1 248 745 8456

www.hibbardinshore.com

Matt Bates
Saab Seaeye Limited
+44 (0)1489 898 000

www.seaeye.com


LAS VEGAS IN LUCK

Fears that Las Vegas could run dry are allayed with news that a connection to a new reliable water source is on schedule with a key phase finished this March.

Years of drought have halved the capacity of the lake supplying the desert city, with the threat that the water level could fall below the intake pipe by 2013.

For over two years the race has been on to connect a new tunnel deep through the bottom of Lake Mead, America's largest reservoir, in a bid to keep fresh water flowing to the city's two million inhabitants.

Accuracy came down to millimetres when setting the multi-ton inlet structure into the hole blasted through the lake floor ready for the tunnel being dug three miles from the shore.

Helping achieve this pinpoint accuracy, 375 feet deep in the lake, was a Falcon ROV, the smallest underwater vehicle in the Saab Seaeye range.

Operated by AUS Diving for main contractor Vegas Tunnel Constructors, the Falcon helped AUS in the tricky task of making a hole in the lake floor and installing the inlet structure.

Lowering the Falcon into Lake Mead
Lowering the Falcon into Lake Mead
is Kelvin Magee, the pilot technician
responsible for the project throughout

AUS Diving's vice president, Kerry Donohue was impressed that the Falcon has performed tirelessly underwater for over two years, working three to four hours, virtually every day, including a stretch of 12 days, for 24 hours a day. And the company has not lost a moment of time due to the reliability of the Falcon.

"Operating at over 300 feet for long periods we had to try and do without divers," he explains, "and we found that with proper planning most tasks can be accomplished by the ROV without diver intervention."

They used the Falcon for a range of key tasks including positioning explosive charges, overviewing rock and sediment removal, monitoring the precise location of the new inlet structure and securing the unit in place.



Placing explosives

He describes how the precise placing of explosive charges on the lake floor - specially shaped to focus the explosive energy for blasting through the rock - was critical. By using sonar on board the Falcon, AUS Diving was able to monitor the lowering of the frame that held the charges ready to be set down like rows of bowling pins.

Click to enlarge Shows explosive frame ready to be lowered and accurately positioned
using sonar on board the Falcon

With three blasts a day turning the lake into a pea soup of sediment, the sonar was the only way to check the accurate positioning of the explosive setting frame.

The objective was to create a hole, 30m square and 25m deep, in which a new inlet structure would be secured in concrete.

During the excavation of rock and sediment, the Falcon stayed on the lake floor from where the AUS operators could watch the airlift process through the ROV's Sonar.

And whenever the airlift blocked and needed ramrod clearing, the operator would send the Falcon over to check that the pipe was free, ready for the evacuation process to continue.

When a clam bucket was needed to lift larger rocks, the ROV also became the eyes of the bucket operator to check that the jaws were open and the operating cables were correctly aligned.

And when a chisel hammer used in the rock breaking process was lost, the Falcon tracked it down.


Millimetre positioning of 75 tons

A vital and challenging task was the exact positioning of the 75 ton guide frame to be set into the lake floor, ready for precisely locating the 1,100 ton inlet structure.

Accuracy to just 76mm (three inches) was needed to position the frame so that the tunnel would find and correctly align with the inlet structure after burrowing for three miles.

To set the precise location of the frame, four buoys were attached by steel cables to the lakebed and later cut free by the Falcon when the task was complete.

The Falcon checking the cement pouring system
The Falcon checking the cement pouring system

To check the exact GPS location a plumb bob was lowered from the surface into pockets from where its exact position inside the pockets was verified by the Falcon.

The ROV also placed and recovered a gyro compass on both the landing frame and levelling structure where it was used to check three dimensional accuracy.

Levelling the frame was also critical. Here the operator used the ROV to watch the levelling bubble as adjustments were made.

During the process of laying cement inside the frame, the ROV watched over the task to ensure that the concrete was filling correctly and level.

AUS Diving has a fleet of three Falcons. They chose this model because it is small enough to be easily manhandled into the water from shore or boat, even a RIB, yet is powerful enough to hold steady and operate in strong cross currents and quickly change tooling and sensors of all kinds.

Rapid tool change comes from the Falcon's intelligent ‘plug-and-go' electronics that allow up to 128 different devices to be fitted, including extra cameras, lights, tracking system, manipulator and sonar, plus the option of adding special tooling on a removable skid.

For survey work its low electrical and acoustic noise signature allows for optimum survey sensor data. AUS used a Kongsberg Mesotech system. The image sonar head being mounted vertically for horizontal application and a profiler head mounted horizontally for vertical applications. Both heads can be operated simultaneously. AUS also has a standalone Kongsberg multi-beam sonar survey system.

The new tunnel project, costing a total of $700 million, will allow Southern Nevada Water Authority to draw better quality water from a deeper location in the lake that supplies nearly half of the city's fresh water.

Fed by the Rocky Mountains, Lake Mead has a surface area of 250 square miles, with the Hoover Dam at one end and a number of marinas dotted along the shoreline, and is a designated national recreation area.


AUS Diving is a commercial dive company based in Washington and provides diving services, underwater construction, sonar services, pipeline inspection, and dams and bridges services.

Vegas Tunnel Constructors is a joint venture between Italian-based Impregilo and their subsidiary, S A Healy Company, formed in 1923 and a leading American tunnel and heavy construction contractor.

Saab Seaeye is the world's largest manufacturer and market leader in electric ROV systems, and provider of autonomous and hybrid underwater vehicles. Markets include offshore energy, defence forces, marine science and hydro-engineering.

For more information contact:

Matt Bates
Saab Seaeye Limited
+44 (0)1489 898 000

www.seaeye.com

Kerry Donohue
AUS Diving
+1 509 533 6500

www.ausdiving.com


KEEPING FRESH WATER FLOWING IN BUENOS AIRES

Fresh water to the eight million inhabitants of Buenos Aires is now more secure. For the first time, the Argentinean water authority is able to inspect the whole length of its pipeline from the inside.

They are sending two Saab Seaeye Falcon remotely operated vehicles swimming down its entire 96 kilometre length, round bends, and up and down levels, 35 metres below ground.

The authority - Argentine Water and Sanitation (AYSA) - was created by the Federal Government to improve drinking water and sewage services to the city.

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Lowering the Falcon down an access chamber

AYSA provide 4-624.053 m3 (cubic meters) of fresh water per day. It has a concession surface of 1.752 km2 for the Greater Buenos Aires area where the total length of their piping is almost 17 thousand kilometers in different sizes, with near 100 kms of large diameter.

With almost 100 kilometres of fresh water pipeline to inspect for potential failure, ranging in diameter from three metres to six metres, the task has been too dangerous and impossible to achieve with divers. So this vital work has never before been undertaken.

The advantage for AYSA, is that the Falcons can work tirelessly and safely to check for cracks and breaks caused by earth movement.

Of the two Falcon ROVs, one is the standard model fitted with a 450 metre umbilical, and the other is the deep rated Falcon DR version fitted with 1100 metres of umbilical.

Each can swim between inspection hatches, dotted along the pipeline.

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Lowering the Falcon down a manhole access chamber

Inspection must be carried out overnight and only in the winter months when water flow is around one knot. During summer the normal daily rate is five knots.

This intensity of work load is why the Falcon DR was chosen by AYSA. They could trust its ability to work non-stop, and fulfil the essential inspection duties called upon.

They thoroughly investigated the ROV market before making their decision, and were convinced by the many favourable user comments about the Falcon. Not only was it proven in the rugged oil and gas industry, in defence forces and marine science, but had successfully undertaken deep tunnel work and could negotiate bends with ease.

With 220 in operation around the world, the Falcon's success has come from being small enough to be manhandled, yet is a powerful ROV packed with technological innovations developed from Saab Seaeye's wide range of observation and work-class vehicles.

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Falcon fitted with Tritech Typhoon
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Inside the operations cabin

Its reputation comes not only for reliability, but also finger-tip manoeuvrability and unequalled stability in strong currents. This means it can hold steady whilst filming and undertaking delicate tasks.

Intelligent 'plug-and-go' electronics, with USB-like simplicity, also allows 128 devices to be fitted with tooling easily changed when needed.

The two AYSA Falcons are transported as self-contained units on special trucks, fitted with a powered winch, crane and control cabin.

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Operations cabin
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Transport trailer in operation

Cameras fitted to each ROV include a Seaeye colour video camera with twin lights linked to a tilt and pan system, and a rear-facing Seaeye mono camera. A fibre optic data and video transmission system is also included in the Falcon DR version.

A Tritech Typhoon VMS laser image scaling system is fitted, along with a Super Sea Prince profiling sonar and an altimeter.

For recovering any unexpected debris found in the tunnels, a single function three jaw manipulator is installed on the ROV.

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Access to subterranean river - 35 metres down

AYSA believe that by using the two Falcon DRs to inspect the whole pipeline they will not only help resolve immediate problems, but have a better chance of preventing future failure and securing a reliable supply of fresh water to Buenos Aires.

Saab Seaeye is the largest and most trusted manufacturer of electrically operated ROVs in the world. Its parent, Saab Underwater Systems is itself a world leader in sensor systems, precision engagement systems, and remotely operated and autonomous underwater vehicles.


For more information contact:

Matt Bates
Saab Seaeye Limited
+44 (0)1489 898 000

www.seaeye.com


FALCON HELPS KEEP THAILAND’S DAMS SAFE

Thailand’s 14 dams are kept safe and free flowing with the help of a compact remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV). The Saab Seaeye Falcon ROV recently delivered to the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand checks for leakage, debris obstruction and supports diver operations and safety.

Chief of Dam Safety, Mr Veerachai Chaisrakeow, says that, in addition to helping with dam security and operation through improved inspection capability, greater diver safety is a major benefit coming from the introduction of the Seaeye Falcon. He cites a number of operational conditions more suited to the free-swimming ROV than a diver. One is checking for debris at the inlet pipes feeding the generators whilst they are still running. This hazardous task for a diver is now undertaken by the Seaeye Falcon which although compact, has the power to hold steady in the strong flow whilst observing the status at the inlet and sending back information to the surface. Another hazardous operation says Mr Chaisrakeow is when a diver had to enter the penstock pipe that feeds the generators through a manhole to check for sediment. Now they simply lower down the Seaeye Falcon.

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Checking the overall structure for leakage and other signs of deterioration, normally carried out by a diver, has limitations on time and depth. These tasks are now undertaken by the Seaeye Falcon which can work tirelessly and to depths of 300 metres. Saab Seaeye’s deep-rated version of the Falcon can reach 1000 meters and is often used for deep tunnel inspection.

For maintenance and inspection, an additional advantage is for the ROV to accompany the divers, says Veerachai Chaisrakeow. Not only does this offer additional safety for the divers, but the engineers ashore who are unable to dive, can observe the structural issues, such as leakage, via the ROV’s observation camera, and instruct the divers as they work.

The Seaeye Falcon has been adopted by the hydroelectric and dam industry after its worldwide success in the rigorous offshore oil and gas industry and national defence forces. Its use in deep tunnel inspection has included entering a pipe running 600 metres down a mountain at a hydroelectric scheme. The concept had been proven in Saudi Arabia where the standard 300 metre Falcon had been sent down tunnels for inspection and mapping work after being fitted with inertial navigation, a Doppler velocity log, profiling sonar and a fibre optic data transmission system.

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World-leading in its class, orders for the Seaeye Falcon now exceed 120. Its success has come from being compact, mobile and easy to handle, yet extremely powerful. Also appealing is its operational flexibility which comes through the ease by which standard accessories such as cameras, sonars and manipulators can be readily fitted, and additional custom tooling simply added by bolting on an under-slung module.

This ease of customisation is made possible with a distributed intelligence control system that allows up to 128 devices to be connected together on a single RS 485 serial network. This senses whatever systems are fitted to the ROV – much like a USB port. It also eliminates the need for interface cards, making fault diagnostics easier and the vehicle lighter by removing the need for a large electronics pod.

For finger-tip manoeuvrability in strong currents, the Seaeye Falcon has five powerful independent magnetically coupled brushless DC thrusters, each with velocity feedback for precise and rapid thrust control.

The core Seaeye Falcon comes complete with lights, camera and video options as standard including solid-state gyro, compass, depth sensor and a 450 metre umbilical. The deep rated 1000 metre version has built in fibre optics for high volume data transmission over its long umbilical, and the ability to use broadcast quality video cameras. It also has tilting variable intensity lights linked to its camera tilt mechanism for superior illumination when filming above or below the vehicle.

Formed in 1987, Fareham, UK-based Saab Seaeye is the UKs largest manufacturer of electrically operated ROVs. Recently it was acquired by Saab Underwater Systems, a world leader in underwater systems, with special emphasis on littoral, shallow and difficult underwater environments. The company focuses on sensor systems, precision engagement systems, remotely operated and autonomous underwater vehicles.

Saab serves the global market with world-leading products, services and solutions ranging from defence to civil security. Saab has operations and employees on all continents and constantly develops, adopts and improves new technology to meet customers’ changing needs.

For more information contact:

Matt Bates
Saab Seaeye Limited
+44 (0)1489 898 000

www.seaeye.com


SEAEYE FALCON WORKING FOR SOUTHERN WATER

A Seaeye Marine Falcon remotely operated vehicle has recently completed a major video survey for one of the largest of the United Kingdom's water companies, Southern Water. Southern Water supplies more than two million people with drinking water in Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Kent and Sussex. The quality of this Water is amongst the best in Europe.

At a location north of Southampton that is unnamed for security reasons, the Falcon ROV operated in an extensive underground labyrinth of flooded tunnels and shafts. The tunnels were cut into the water bearing chalk over 100 years ago to provide pure water for the city of Southampton. The network was accessed from a large concrete borehole.

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Seaeye's Falcon ROV at the borehole
access shaft
In the borehole

The Seaeye Falcon, owned and operated by UK ROV company Subsea Vision, worked to a vertical depth of 20 metres, and completed tunnel excursions exceeding 340 metres or 1100 feet. The Falcon ROV offers unprecedented power and excursion reach in comparison with smaller ROV's. The Falcon tilt platform also accepts any standard sub sea camera; a key option for the inshore market is the addition of a laser-scaling camera. This allows highly accurate measurements to be taken in damage evaluation.

Tina Dijkstal, Project Manager for Southern Water said: " The confined nature and length of the tunnels ruled out the use of divers on safety grounds alone. We needed a powerful ROV system with a suite of cameras to meet our requirements. ROV Platform stability and reach to the maximum tunnel extent was a crucial factor in our selection of Subsea Vision and their Falcon ROV system."

Southern Water undertakes regular surveys of all infrastructure, as part of its planned maintenance and inspection system. Preventative inspection and maintenance results in the continued delivery of high quality water to its customers at a lower cost.

"Using our Seaeye Falcon, we completed a full survey of the structure of this important asset in record time" said Chris Bryant, Managing Director of Subsea Vision.

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Chris Bryant - Managing Director of Subsea Vision

For more information contact:

Matt Bates
Saab Seaeye Limited
+44 (0)1489 898 000

www.seaeye.com