Performance appraisal of RV Falkor by the Schmidt Ocean Institute

The Schmidt Ocean Institute (a US foundation set up by Google) has signed a contract with Ifremer and the University of New Hampshire for sea trials and performance appraisal for all the acoustic sensors on its deep-sea vessel RV Falkor (83m), recently overhauled at a German shipyard.

The Falkor is equipped with two Kongsberg EM 710 and EM 302 multibeam sounders, conventional Kongsberg EA 600 and Simrad ER 60 multi-frequency sounders, two Doppler Teledyne OS75 and WH300 currentmeters, a Sonardyne Ultra-Short Baseline, a Knudsen 3260 sediment sounder and a Simrad SH 90 panoramic sonar.

The main campaign took place from May 2-20 2012 in Norway. After sailing from Horten to Bergen, the Falkor performed most of the tests in the breathtaking environment of the 1300m-deep Sognafjord before returning to Bergen. The tests related to the performance of all these systems and measurement of the ship’s noise levels. A calibration system for the sounders developed by NSE has been installed on board and commissioned. The tests carried out validated the excellent acoustic performance of the vessel and its equipment.

Additional tests took place in July, as a result of which Ifremer contributed to the discovery of the wreck of S.S. Terra Nova off Greenland. This legendary early twentieth-century polar expedition ship was the support vessel for the tragically famous Antarctic expedition of 1910-13. The Terra Nova sank in 1943 off the southern coast of Greenland. The Ifremer team devised and supervised operations to survey the zone using the Kongsberg EM 71 multibeam sounder, and processed the sonar data.