Submersible Vehicles Collect Data on Atlantic “Blue Hole” Marine Sink
TDI-Brooks International is deploying RV Brooks McCall to Belize to join the Blue Hole Expedition. The vessel will provide the logistical support, hosting and launching of Aquatica’s manned submersible submarines along with providing accommodations for all crew and guests during the two-week expedition. The submersibles for the expedition include
Aquatica Submarines’ STINGRAY 500 and the Roatan Institute of Deepsea Exploration’s IDABEL.
Situated in the center of Lighthouse Reef off the coast of Belize, the Blue Hole is a giant marine sinkhole that is 318 m in diameter and 124 m deep. To put its size into perspective, the Blue Hole could easily swallow two entire Boeing 747s in one gulp, undiscoverable from the surface. The Blue Hole is a part of the larger Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System which is a World Heritage Site of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The Blue Hole Belize expedition brings together Ocean Unite co-founder and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson; documentary filmmaker and ocean conservationist Fabien Cousteau (grandson of famed ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau); and submarine partner the Roatan Institute of Deep Sea Exploration. Aquatica will send multiple submersibles to collect scientific data, including a complete sonar scan of the interior of the sinkhole.
The expedition has also enlisted a team of scientists, explorers and filmmakers to share the beautiful mysteries that wait at the bottom of Belize’s Blue Hole. TDI-Brooks is the prime contractor for the study, entitled “Deep Search—Deep Sea Exploration to Advance Research on Coral/Canyon/Cold seep Habitats.”
Funded by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), this five-year, inter-agency, multi-million dollar study focuses on the exploration and investigation of deepwater biological communities located in U.S. federal waters of the Atlantic Ocean (Virginia to Georgia). —TDI-Brooks International