High-tech subsea surveying trialled at Cornish R&D site

UK company Rovco has used a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and sonar technology to carry out a subsea cable survey at Wave Hub in Cornwall.


The Sub-Atlantic Mojave ROV (Credit: Rovco)

Located 16km off the north Cornish coast, Wave Hub is one of the world’s biggest test facilities for offshore wind and wave energy, as well as the subsea infrastructure needed to support it. The inspection project, which was carried out over ten days, trialled a combination of technologies for the first time to produce high-resolution 3D models of Wave Hub’s subsea network with millimetre accuracy.   

“Periodic subsea inspection is essential to ensuring that the cable system is well maintained to afford projects with a reliable offshore connection, and we were extremely pleased to allow Rovco to trial their 3D system on our site,” said Julius Besterman, head of engineering and operations at Wave Hub.

“The results obtained were superb and enabled a very detailed asset and seabed condition assessment as well as providing valuable information for projects intending to connect at Wave Hub.”

Rovco first carried out a bathymetric survey from the vessel MTC Xplorer using a multibeam echosounder (MBES). The second stage of the survey saw the deployment of Rovco’s Sub-Atlantic Mojave ROV. According to the company, the submersible is equipped with Sonardyne Nano beacons, plus its own prototype hi-res camera system and a fibre optic gyro to gather heading and point references. The last stage involved the Severn Sea vessel, which was used to complete the ROV visual and 3D survey during three available tide windows.

“There are many applications for ROV 3D visualisation, however, we expect it to be used most frequently for condition monitoring of subsea assets, as well as for damage, corrosion or decommissioning surveys,” said Brian Allen, Rovco CEO.