Subsea Commercial Services Ltd.

Subsea Commercial Services Ltd. (Aberdeen, Scotland) is delighted to have supplied Heriot Watt University (Edinburgh, Scotland) with a range of Xeos asset location, tracking and recovery beacons for deployment during the iAtlantic research programme .

The Deep-Sea Ecology and Biogeochemistry Research Team located at the Lyell Centre at Heriot-Watt University will deploy the lithium battery powered solutions mounted to a seafloor autonomous lander. The lander will be released at the surface and will sink under its own weight to the seafloor. With deployments lasting up to one year, during a planned recovery, the lander will float back to the surface where the 11,000m rated titanium housed XMB-11K VHF location beacon will self-activate and start transmitting its location for tracking and recovery via the marine radio frequency. To aid in night-time recovery, the lander has also been fitted with a low light activated XMF-11K high intensity LED Flasher for visual confirmation.

In the event of an unplanned seafloor release and surfacing, the lander has also been fitted with the XMA-11K Argos satellite communication beacon. This transmits the lander’s location within 30 seconds of the beacon breaking through the water’s surface. With the research team alerted to the unplanned surfacing event, the nearest suitable vessel of opportunity can be tasked with asset recovery.

The iAtlantic programme is seeking to assess the health of deep-sea ecosystems across the full span of the Atlantic Ocean from the tip of Argentina in the south to Iceland in the north, and from the east coasts of USA and Brazil to the western margins of Europe and Africa. The ambitious project will – for the first time – undertake an ocean-wide approach to understanding the factors that control the distribution, stability and vulnerability of Atlantic deep-sea ecosystems. With the objective of determining the resilience of deep-sea animals and their habitats to threats such as climate change, pollution and human activities such as deep-sea mining and deep-sea trawling, the programme’s success is based upon international collaboration and sharing of expertise, equipment, infrastructure, data and personnel.

Programme co-lead and Head of Deep-Sea Ecology at Heriot-Watt, Professor Andrew K. Sweetman stated “We’re delighted to be using XEOS equipment supplied by Subsea Commercial Services Ltd that will aid in the recovery of our lander platforms.  The Deep-Sea Ecology and Biogeochemistry research group at the Lyell Centre operate the largest and most advanced lander fleet in the UK and getting the equipment back from the deep sea is a key objective to us during each expedition.  We currently have 13 deep-sea expeditions scheduled over the next 5 years and continue to use XEOS systems that we’ve always found are reliable, lightweight and more than capable of coping with the day-to-day stresses that we put on these systems.”