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Marine Electronics

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November 2012 Issue

Anti-Piracy WatchStander Gets Audit, Performance Assessment
WatchStander LLC’s (Reston, Virginia) anti-piracy WatchStander system completed in October an audit and performance assessment by maritime security and operations consultants from Flag Victor (London, England). The fully automated system detects and identifies pirates before launching a series of nonlethal countermeasures.

A series of successful on-water demonstrations showing WatchStander at work in real-life simulations also took place in October in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland. These were conducted under scrutiny by independent observers from the commercial shipping industry, U.S. governmental officials and representatives from Pennsylvania State University’s Applied Research Laboratory, which has a partnership with the U.S. Navy to develop defense-related technologies.

Anti-piracy measures are typically “piecemeal, uncoordinated, cumbersome or hugely expensive,” Rigsby said, and they focus on “sensors or countermeasures with little or no effective integration of the two.”

WatchStander, which can be installed on vessels of all sizes, identifies pirate craft at long range and launches an automatic and unmanned defense at several-miles range that becomes progressively more robust if the attacker does not withdraw.

WatchStander was originally developed for the U.S. naval fleet and has been modified over the past two years. WatchStander company founder David Rigsby has worked with Penn State’s Applied Research Laboratory to modify the system for commercial use.


Underwater Noise Measurement System Tested Successfully
Noise Control Engineering Inc. (Billerica, Massachusetts), or NCE, has successfully used its portable Underwater Noise Measurement System for measuring underwater radiated noise from vessels and offshore platforms in two tests in March and September in the U.S. and Asia. NCE also plans to use it in the next 12 months to measure noise from five vessels, mostly in the U.S.

The system uses a floating buoy that supports hydrophones and data-acquisition electronics. Engineers connect with the buoy electronics remotely to collect and process data, enabling calculation of underwater noise signatures within minutes of measurement.

The buoy can be deployed from the ship being tested by using a small crane or A-frame, which removes the need for additional support vessels, reducing planning and operational costs. The measurement system can be broken down and shipped in conventional cases, allowing for measurements to be performed in locations convenient to a particular port or shipyard.

NCE said it developed the system because it saw an increasing need for underwater noise assessments, given the planned construction of new fisheries research vessels worldwide and a growth in awareness of underwater noise issues in relation to the marine industry.

The system can take measurements in line with the Grades B and C requirements of the American National Standards Institute’s underwater measurement standard S12.64–2009.


WHOI Opens Lab for Ocean Sensors and Observing Systems
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) opened in September its Laboratory for Ocean Sensors and Observing Systems (LOSOS), which will house work for the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) and other WHOI ocean-observing efforts.

The goal is to bring different ocean-observing groups under one roof to more easily share and cross-fertilize ideas, and spur innovation, WHOI said.

Scientists and engineers began moving into the 26,000-square-foot facility in August. Researchers working on the OOI occupy most of the building, including the central high bay, built to accommodate tall buoys and with a 10-ton capacity bridge crane for hoisting them.

Three other programs share the building: the Martha’s Vineyard Coastal Observatory operations group; the National Ocean Bottom Seismograph Instrument Pool, which builds seafloor instruments to detect undersea earthquakes, volcanoes and landslides; and the Environmental Sample Processor program, which deploys robotic underwater labs-in-canisters.

The building includes a 15-foot-long tank for instrument ballast tests, access pathways to the roof for cables carrying high-bandwidth data via satellite from deployed instruments and an isolated granite floor slab for testing seismic instruments without exposure to the building’s vibrations.

The building also includes a high-pressure washing station to be used on observing-system components recovered from the ocean that need to be cleaned before redeployment. As part of the green design of the facility, the water station will reclaim, filter and capture runoff liquid and debris before it seeps into surrounding land.


Smart Tether Used in Bathymetry, Biotope Survey In Saudi Arabia
Submerged Recovery and Inspection Services (Seattle, Washington) assisted this summer King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) in using a VideoRay (Phoenixville, Pennsylvania) Pro4 ROV to complete more than 200 kilometers of bathymetry and biotope survey transects in the Red Sea. The goal was to gain a baseline assessment to see if there were any critical habitat areas in or near several proposed oil-well drill sites.

KFUPM used a VideoRay Pro4 ROV with a KCFTechnologies Inc. (State College, Pennsylvania) Smart Tether, a LYYN AB (Lund, Sweden) video-enhancement system, a YSI Inc. (Yellow Springs, Ohio) 600XL sonde gauge and a Teledyne BlueView (Seattle) P900-90 sonar.

The survey team had about 100 transects covering more than 223 kilometers to document bottom conditions. Working from a 25-foot open vessel, the team completed the survey in 18 days, marking and recording more than 2,000 targets of coral, grass, rubble and other bottom features.

More than 5,000 markers were made during the expedition, and those data points were plotted on a chart to illustrate bottom conditions. Because the team was able to mark conditions at depths up to 100 meters, they did not have to use divers.

The overall data showed there were no critical habitats in the proposed well-drilling areas, the team said.


2013:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC
2012:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC

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