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Simplifying Marine Data Acquisition for On-Demand Surveys

A unique Integrated Hydrographic Survey System (iHSS) developed by Hamburg-based Subsea Europe Service GmbH optimises the cost and time burden of on-demand survey projects for offshore wind farms.

Surveys to e.g., locate equipment lost overboard or check anomalies in pre-existing data are economically and operationally challenging for commercial survey ships, so energy and service companies often look towards vessels of opportunity. But while the vessels are readily available, obtaining the right hydrographic survey systems is not always an easy task. Subsea Europe Services’ unique iHSS is making it easier though.

Able to acquire data to the new IHO S-44 Exclusive Order standards, the iHSS is a ready to mobilise, all-in-one solution including multibeam echosounder, workstation, software, inertial navigation system and flexible mounting. The system can be configured for any job so that its ready for fast installation and calibration on diverse vessels, and because of this, short jobs, long transit times and high-quality data are no longer a contradiction in terms.

Rapid survey

Recently, Marine Survey Company Nicola Engineering GmbH was tasked by an offshore wind company to carry out a ‘rapid survey’ to locate and identify a small feature on the seabed in the North Sea. Rather than wait for a large, slow commercial survey vessel to become available in the area, Nicola Engineering turned to Dutch shipyard and charter company ProMarine BV to mobilise a small, fast survey boat, and Subsea Europe Service for survey capabilities.

The unique combination of the iHSS, a class approved survey boat with offshore permits in place and skilled operators met the requirement for an ad-hoc high resolution multibeam echosounder survey of a small subsea feature approximately 1 m in length in water depths exceeding 30 m. The project was done within 2 days of Nicola Engineering receiving its brief and completed in a single day out of a small port in the Netherlands. Mobilisation and calibration of the whole system took about 2 hours and the iHSS successfully located and identified the feature faster and at a considerably lower-cost than using a commercial survey ship.

New Service

Based on the successful mission, Nicola Engineering, ProMarine and Subsea Europe Services will offer the same service on a regular basis for the North Sea. And, while this mission was conducted in tandem with highly experienced partners, a key aspect of the iHSS is that organisations with little experience in surveying can now collect and evaluate marine data professionally, and on their own terms.


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