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Feature How Sonardyne WidebandÂŽ technology is re-defining subsea communications


Technology Lodestar and Wideband USBL; The right attitude makes it perfect


Our People Design, planning and operational support. How the Survey Support Group can help


New Product Highlighting the new features in the latest release of Fusion LBL software



Lodestarmyknife. Operating as either a stand-alone Attitude and Heading Reference System (AHRS) or as part of an integrated acoustic navigation system, Lodestar is the marine industry’s multi-tool; a ring laser inertial reference system for highly dynamic marine environments that can be configured for

any position reference application. Available in surface or subsea versions rated to 5,000 metres, Lodestar is building a successful track record as a DP reference and subsea positioning instrument. It’s heading in the right direction, are you?



04 News Products and People 08 Feature Data Communications 12 Technology Subsea Control Systems 16 Feature Lodestar + Wideband USBL 18 Our People Survey Support Group

22 Maritime Security Sentinel IDS 26 Case Study British Antartic Survey 28 Technology New Products 30 International News around the World 31 Help & Advice Ask Dave



08 12


31 Front Cover Long term, multi-sensor platforms awaiting deployment.The units log temperature, high accuracy pressure, sound velocity, inclination and autonomously measured acoustic ranges. More about the technology on Page 08


HIS LATEST ISSUE of Baseline is designed to coincide with one of the most

important dates in Sonardyne’s calendar; the bi-annual Oceanology International exhibition in London. For three days in March, we present our latest technological developments to the gathered audience of industry professionals from around the world. For those of you who will make the journey to OI this year, applications for our successful Wideband technology will form the major theme of our stand (No. 926) which will be divided into themed zones. But don’t worry; if you can’t make it to the show or are reading this magazine after the event, you’re not missing out. Many of the products and technologies making their debut at OI, are showcased right here in Baseline Issue 3 and at the many other events we will be exhibiting at during 2008. Our website has our full show calendar. Building upon the USBL optimisation article in Issue 2, we explain on Page 16 how to achieve unrivalled performance from your Sonardyne Wideband® USBL system by integrating it with a Lodestar AHRS. When operating Wideband systems in the presence of other acoustic systems, users need to be aware of the issues surrounding frequency management. In an interview with Sonarydne’s new Survey Customer Support Group (Page 18), we reveal how appropriate planning in advance of operations beginning, can avoid problems arising in the field. In general news, we report on deep rated Compatt 5 transponders heading for the Gulf of Mexico and a new system for LNG tankers that allows them to quickly and accurately relocate submerged turret buoys. We hope you enjoy reading Baseline 3 and as always, look forward to hearing from you soon.

The Baseline Team

Marketing Manager David Brown Marketing Co-ordinator Andrew Covey Strategic Development and Marketing Director Rob Balloch Design and Art-Direction Michael Lindley at TruthStudio Photography Astonleigh Studios, Alton, Hampshire, UK (Pages 09, 12, 16, 20, 23, and 31). Baseline Magazine is edited by Rob Balloch with David Brown and Andrew Covey. Published by Sonardyne International Ltd. Blackbushe Business Park,Yateley, Hampshire GU46 6GD. United Kingdom. © Sonardyne International Ltd 2008. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without permission of the publisher. Colour repro by ProCo Print Ltd. Printed by ProCo Print Ltd. Every effort is made to ensure that information is correct at time of going to press.

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Keeping track of submerged loading buoys Installed in numerous offshore fields around the world, Submerged Turret Loading (STL) buoys were first introduced in the 1990s to allow loading and unloading of tankers and FPSOs in nearly all sea states. STLs are typically moored 25-40 metres below the surface when not in use.When a vessel is required to load or unload, the buoy is winched up and ‘docked’ into the turret mating cone of a tanker where oil or gas can be transferred. For LNG tankers the key requirement is for frequent and rapid connection, whilst for FPSOs the connection process is only required after extreme weather or a period of vessel maintenance. The challenge of this process is to know, in real-time, precisely where the buoy is relative to the vessel during the critical docking process.

With Sonardyne’s track record for positioning targets in difficult environments, the company was approached to design a tracking system specific to this application that takes into account all of the unique elements of submerged loading.

“The challenge is to know in real-time precisely where the buoy is relative to the vessel during the docking process” The solution lay in a USBL-based system that utilises a forward looking digital transceiver and customised software with algorithms that enable the position of the centre of the buoy relative to the turret, to be determined and not just the position

of a transponder somewhere on the buoy. Long life,‘gas safe’ transponders mounted on the turret buoy are an integral element of the system and are designed for flexible installation.These include; at the top of the buoy, removable by hand from within the turret which is particularly suited to FPSOs, or at the base of the buoy which is more suited to third party maintenance in support of a fleet of shuttle tankers. Multiple systems are now deployed, and with LNG as a key source of energy, demand for safe and continuous tanker offloading via submerged buoys will continue to grow.The buoy environment, both as far as a hazardous zone and acoustic positioning, is challenging and one where Sonardyne’s technology has been essential to provide the right solution.

A Submerged Turret Loading (STL) buoy is prepared for installation. (Right) Illustration showing an STL docked with a tanker.Images:APL

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ETS’s existing inventory of Sonardyne equipment which includes RovNav 5 transceivers rated to 7,000 metres. Both products incorporate Sonardyne’s successful Wideband technology that has been repeatedly demonstrated as the best solution for use in deepwater and acoustically

“ETS will now be ready to supply the rental market with the products it needs whatever the water depth”

(Left to right) Mike Knight (VP, ETS), Spencer Collins, Andy Bogle (President, ETS), Kim Swords


ETS goes deep with Compatt 5 Equipment and Technical Services (ETS) Inc. based in Houston has made a major commitment to supporting its customers’ deepwater operations with the purchase of Sonardyne Wideband® Compatt 5 transponders. As specialists in subsea equipment

management and rental, ETS will now have the capability to supply operators in the Gulf of Mexico with high accuracy Long BaseLine (LBL) positioning equipment for construction survey applications in water depths up to 5,000 metres. This order for Compatt 5s compliments

crowded operating environments.The fast position update rate and immunity to signal interference offered by the Wideband digital technology has been shown to overcome the problems commonly experienced with conventional analogue acoustic positioning systems. Commenting on the order during the recent Underwater Intervention exhibition in New Orleans, ETS Vice President, Mike Knight said,“From talking to our customers in the region, it’s clear that future contracts will find them operating in increasing water depths. By investing in appropriate acoustic positioning technology now, ETS will be ready to supply the rental market with the products it needs whatever the water depth.”


OBCs for Global Geophysical Global Geophysical Services Inc.of Houston has invested in an Ocean Bottom Cable (OBC) acoustic positioning system. The system will be used to support the company’s expanding shallow water seismic survey activities and employs a large network of low cost acoustic transponders to accurately position hydrophone ground stations in water depths up to 500 metres. The order also includes Radio-

Frequency Identification (RFID) tags for each of the transponders so they can be accurately logged as the hydrophone cables are deployed from the ship. Deliveries of the equipment have already been completed in readiness for a major survey offshore India. Global Geophysical will use its new acoustic positioning system in conjunction with Sonardyne’s ‘HydroPos’ seismic control software.This monitors

time tags and logs raw data from the vessel’s acoustic transceiver and its surface navigation systems such as GPS and gyro. This will make it possible for Global Geophysical’s surveyors to obtain realtime positions of the transponders quickly and accurately,thus making for very efficient surveys.Raw acoustic data can also be passed to an external navigation system so that absolute positions for the hydrophones can be obtained.

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In 1985, Sonardyne was approached by British Nuclear Fuels PLC’s Transport Division (now International Nuclear Services Ltd) with a unique engineering challenge; to develop an emergency relocation and remote monitoring system for fitment to vessels transporting irradiated nuclear fuel worldwide. For over 20 years, the systems installed on the BNFL/PNTL fleet of vessels have been ready for action, but thankfully, that day has never come. BNFL’s original requirement was for a custom designed acoustic system that, in the event of a disaster, would enable the vessel to be relocated from a safe distance and allow the status of the cargo to be determined prior to any attempt to salvage. The equipment supplied to each vessel comprised four specially designed subsea acoustic transponder modems, interfaced to two Data Acquisition Units (DAUs). The transponders were located on the fore, aft, port and starboard superstructure ensuring a clear acoustic transmission path to the surface could be provided by at least one unit regardless of the ship’s final resting position. Each DAU has internal pitch, roll and depth sensors and is in-turn connected to radiation sensors and hatch cover sensors in each hold. The ‘Pacific Sandpiper’ was the first vessel to be equipped with the Sonardyne system in August 1985 and has just become the latest to be upgraded. As part of the upgrade programme, the original equipment has been replaced with the latest Wideband technology for improved speed and robustness of acoustic communications. New, easy-to-use operating software allows the crew to test the system prior to each voyage and monitor it at sea. Commenting on the refurbishment programme, Ian MacDonald, project head said,“We’re delighted with the performance and reliability of the first generation of BNFL equipment.The transponders have remained fully operational despite being exposed on deck to the elements for over two decades. By upgrading to Wideband, the Sonardyne systems will provide many more years dependable service for our customer, International Nuclear Services Ltd,” he added.

Upgrading th

(Clockwise from top) The Pacific Osprey is part of International Nuclear Services’ fleet of vessels carrying irradiated nuclear fuel worldwide; monitoring software allows the system to be tested prior to each voyage; an original 1985 subsea transponder modem and to its left, the new Wideband replacement;a bulkhead-mounted Data Acquisition Unit and power supply

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he Fleet



Sonardyne to host 42nd Marine Measurement Forum In April, Sonardyne will be hosting the next meeting of the Marine Measurement Forum. The MMF is a non-profit making, one-day event that provides opportunities for the informal exchange of ideas, knowledge, techniques, activities, projects and developments across an extensive range of marine scientific measurement activities.Attendees typically

The DeVere Warbrook House and Grange, Hampshire, UK; the venue for the 42nd MMF

include scientists, surveyors, engineers and business people from a variety of organisations including research centres, academia, manufacturers, survey companies, consultants, monitoring authorities, dredging companies, port authorities and oil companies. Please visit: for full details.


US Navy chooses Sentinel for swimmer defence The US Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) has chosen Sonardyne to supply multiple Sentinel sonar heads for the new Integrated Swimmer Defence System led by the Program Executive Office, Littoral Mine Warfare (PEO-LMW - PMS480). In addition to the equipment provision, Sonardyne has also been awarded a contract related to the integration and deployment of Sentinel systems as part of an expeditionary warfare requirement. The contracts, valued in excess of US$1 million, follows successful trials in October 2007 when Sentinel was shown to meet the US Navy’s performance requirements for diver detection. Sentinel demonstrated rapid deployment and performance in an equipment package that is smaller, lighter and more cost effective than previous generations of anti-swimmer sonars. Sentinel was developed by Sonardyne to meet the specific requirements of the expeditionary warfare community yet the system has already proven itself equally adaptable to other applications. Rob Balloch, Strategic Development Director for Sonardyne commented,“Our team’s success in developing Sentinel in such a short period of time has proven the benefits

of a close working relationship with the customer and a dedicated engineering team focussed on the task.” Despite the use of sophisticated surface perimeter protection systems, underwater security has, until now, been acknowledged as the weakest link in the defence of ships and on-shore facilities.These have been

“ Sentinel was developed by Sonardyne to meet the specific needs of the expeditionary warfare community yet the system has already proven itself equally adaptable to other applications.” vulnerable to underwater threats that include attack, sabotage or smuggling. Because of this, uses for Sentinel are expected to range from the protection of vessels such as cruise ships and superyachts, to underwater perimeter security for sensitive coastal assets including power stations, oil and gas terminals, strategic industry and ports and harbours.

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Feature Data Communications

Message in a subsea bottle Acoustic systems to date have been largely limited by the bandwidth available meaning that only small packets of system data could be transferred. However, the introduction of Sonardyne Wideband ® technology is re-defining what is possible. Baseline speaks to Dr. Darryl Newborough, to get the message.


N THE FIELD of communications, a protocol is the set of standard rules for data representation, signalling, authentication and error detection required to send information over a communications channel. To facilitate the sending of user data, Sonardyne has developed two main protocols; Sonardyne Messaging Service (SMS) and a Guaranteed Data Delivery Service (GDDS).

SMS and GDDS As Darryl explains, “The SMS protocol is synonymous with mobile phone text messaging; our version is a short ASCII text message of up to 128 characters that can be sent to any SMS enabled acoustic instrument. The protocol operates as a ‘send-and-forget’ link, however the receiving unit can

acknowledge receipt if the message arrives error free. This is a low overhead protocol that enables the user to control whether data is re-sent and is ideal for simple command and control functions. For real-time data transfers the SMS protocol provides a minimum latency data delivery service, which is ideal in highly dynamic situations where the data is only valid for a short period. For example tracking an AUV or sending gyro data.” “The GDDS protocol will only deliver data if what has been sent is received completely and without data errors. Should a data packet with errors been received, this protocol is able to first request the re-sending of the affected data packet and then, seamlessly stitch the packets back together to optimise the communication bandwidth. Due to the increased protocol overhead >>

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A member of Sonardyne's highly experienced R&D team, Darryl Newborough is enthusiastic about the possiblities that Wideband technology presents for subsea communications

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Feature Data Communications

the data latency can increase in harsh acoustic operating environments, therefore this method is often used to retrieve logged data for postprocessing analysis,” adds Darryl. Next generation products Acoustic telemetry is a core technology of most Sonardyne subsea systems. It provides the capability to configure navigation transponders and receive status, range and sensor information. This allows the navigation system to be optimised for various environments and operational scenarios. SMS and GDDS protocols enhance this task and enable users to utilise the increased bandwidth for their data transfer needs. Sonardyne also provides safety critical systems that rely on robust communication for valve control, such as Blow-Out Preventors (BOP) and Work Over Control Systems (WOCS). “As users’ confidence in acoustic telemetry increases, more systems are using the acoustic link as a back-up, but also in some cases as the primary control method,” notes Darryl. “This can provide large cost savings by potentially removing the need for umbilicals and control lines or replacing umbilicals that may have been damaged. These systems often occupy Sonardyne’s Low-Medium Frequency (LMF 14-19kHz) band, which can provide long range (>5km) communication links thereby not requiring an vessel overhead to send commands or receive data.” Sonardyne’s Tsunami Detection System (Baseline Issue 2) is one such example. It uses LMF Wideband telemetry and SMS protocols to send pressure data to a surface monitoring buoy every hour, which in turn relays the information back to land via a satellite link. The robustness of the telemetry is paramount, as this link provides vital warning to vulnerable communities of an approaching tsunami wave. Custom applications Sonardyne has always provided custom engineering services or modification of existing products to give customers exactly what they need for their own niche telemetry applications. Over the past five years Sonardyne has been developing its high speed communication capability, which can yield data transfer rates of over 10kbps.

The Sonardyne Messaging Service (SMS) Protocol Pressure Log Status YMDHMS

SMS Type P1




SMS:0102,0|061021170000;1,39866;1,40022;1,40157;1,40288 SMS:0102,0|V142,U019,B0,O0,T0,S+1550, SMS:0102,0|061021180000;1,40394;1,40492;1,40569;1,40635 SMS:0102,0|V142,U019,B0,O0,T0,S+1550, Transponder ID

% Used

Battery On

F/W Version Battery Alarm

Temp Tilt˚

Example of a Sonardyne SMS message from a tsunami monitoring transponder deployed in the Bay of Bengal, India. Up to 128 ASCII characters are available for a customer defined message which can be received to an email account anywhere in the world

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(Far left, top) Deployment of a multi-sensor, data logging platform and (below) a Compatt 5 subsea transponder configured for tsunami detection in the Bay of Bengal (Above) The Petrobras P-52 platform will be able to process and treat 180,000 barrels of oil per day. Photo:Geraldo Falcão/ Divulgação Petrobras (Left) A buoy-mounted surface transceiver which receives regular SMS messages and sends them via an Inmarsat-C satellite terminal to a shore monitoring station

As an example of this, towards the end of 2007 a permanent subsea riser monitoring system was installed for a major operator that comprises an integrated high speed modem and positioning system. The monitoring system sends strain, motion and position information from a subsea data logging module up to a receiver on the rig every four hours. In less than six months, this amounted to over 90 Mbytes of data being transferred. The system uses Sonardyne’s High Data Rate Link (HDRL) with multi-element adaptive signal processing. The GDDS protocol used ensures that the logged data subsea is transferred to the surface error free and as efficiently as possible. In another project, Sonardyne developed a long term multi-sensor platform that can log temperature, high accuracy pressure, sound velocity, inclination and autonomously measured acoustic ranges with the data transferred via high speed telemetry. Designed to be deployed for three years, a number of these systems were deployed in 2007 and have been logging data ever since with periodic trips by a vessel of opportunity to retrieve many Megabytes of data. The system is ideal for long term subsea structure monitoring and oceanographic parameter monitoring (tideguage, temperature, salinity, sound velocity etc.). The system is adaptable with different sensors that can be integrated as required. Despite these recent successes, Sonardyne is continuing to develop its acoustic communications signal processing capabilities through research into channel characterisation and new transducer and array designs. Darryl and his team are currently focusing their efforts on increased robustness, longer range, increased speed, improved error correction coding and greater doppler tolerance. “By investing heavily in R&D to further improve acoustic communications and navigation signal processing technology, we aim to remain at the forefront of subsea communications developing products and customised systems for a range of subsea applications that have until now, always needed a cable. With our robust telemetry, the wireless oil field is even closer to reality,” concludes Darryl. BL

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Technology Acoustic Subsea Control Systems


A Wideband BOP System; Dunking transceiver with cable drum, portable control unit, Subsea Electronics Module and either side, two DARTs

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umbilical control Well known for providing pinpoint accuracy in positioning systems, Sonardyne’s Wideband® acoustic technology is now being used as the foundation for a range of high integrity wireless control systems utilised in critical subsea applications.The same signalling and receiver processing techniques that offer outstanding positioning performance by allowing precise time-of-arrival measurement, also enable highly reliable acoustic transfer of data through water and Sonardyne has incorporated these techniques into its latest generation of wireless wellhead control systems. Baseline speaks to Ted Kenny, Business Manager, Subsea Control Systems.



acoustic BOP (Blow-Out Preventor) control systems more than 10 years ago. This emergency back-up system allows a subsea well to be shut in and the riser disconnected if control via the riser umbilical is lost. With systems installed in Brazil, West Africa and the Gulf of Mexico, an excellent track record for reliable operation has been established. Building on this reputation, Sonardyne has now incorporated its Wideband acoustic technology into the latest generation of acoustic BOP controllers with the first batch of new systems being delivered to Noble Drilling for DELIVERING

installation on the new-build rigs ‘David Beard’, ‘Danny Adkins’ and ‘Jim Day’. A typical installation consists of a surface control system, which may be portable or permanently installed on the vessel, and subsea components fitted to the BOP stack. The permanently installed surface system can operate either via a dedicated hullmounted transceiver or a Sonardyne Wideband USBL positioning system, if one is fitted. The portable surface system is a self-contained, battery powered control unit that is used with a lightweight acoustic transceiver and a strainrelieved deployment cable. It can be operated from a small workboat or even from a life raft. Acoustic commands and their replies use Forward Error Correction techniques combined with Sonardyne’s proprietary Wideband >>

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Technology Acoustic Subsea Control Systems

acoustic telemetry protocol to ensure the highest integrity through-water data transfer. Subsea hardware The subsea components mounted on the BOP stack consist of a Subsea Electronics Module (SEM) and two acoustic transceivers, referred to as DARTs (Deep-rated Acoustic Remote Transceivers). The DARTs are located on opposite sides of the riser to ensure that the structure cannot mask the acoustic signals from the surface system. The SEM contains dual redundant electronics and battery packs for driving the pilot valve solenoids within the BOP and reading back pressure switches to indicate correct actuation of the valves. The SEM can drive up to 12 pilot valve solenoids and read 12 status switches and four 4-20 mA pressure sensors. The dual redundant SEM can operate with up to four DART transceivers to provide multiple acoustic communication paths and ensure reliable communication even under the most

“ The inherent robustness of the Wideband signals achieves an acoustic link with reliability that is comparable to that of a cabled link and may be considered as a direct alternative to an umbilical cable.� demanding conditions. This level of acoustic and functional redundancy, combined with the inherent robustness of the Wideband signals achieves an acoustic link with reliability that is comparable to that of a cabled link and may be considered as a direct alternative to an umbilical cable. This means that the use of acoustics is no longer restricted to that of a back-up system and it is equally suitable for use in applications where it provides a primary control function, for example, as seabed shut-off device, used in conjunction with a Surface BOP system (see opposite). BL

Sonardyne began delivering acoustic BOP control systems over 10 years ago.This emergency back-up system allows a subsea well to be shut in and the riser disconnected if control via the riser umbilical is lost.

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Helix Q4000 Acoustic Control System The latest delivery of Sonardyne’s Wideband Subsea Acoustic Control System is to the Helix ‘Q4000’ vessel, operated by Well Ops (A Helix company). This will be the first such system to gain regulatory approval for use in the Gulf of Mexico and marks a milestone in the acceptance of wireless acoustic control in mission-critical applications.The acoustic system includes extensive self-diagnostics and a regular, automated ‘health check’ to ensure constant availability. The Q4000 is a multi-purpose semisubmersible vessel currently undergoing a drilling upgrade to include the installation of a Surface BOP drilling system. Surface BOP drilling differs from conventional subsea drilling in that the BOP is located at the top of the riser (typically in the moonpool) rather than at the seabed.This requires the use of a high pressure riser, of smaller size than the conventional 21 inch marine riser. The use of a smaller riser means less riser and mud weight, so reduced riser tension and buoyancy requirement.This significantly extends the operating depth capability of the rig, compared to conventional drilling, and is increasingly

used to allow the depth rating of 3rd or 4th generation rigs to be increased, so that they can be used in place of more expensive 5th generation rigs in locations with suitable metocean conditions. With the BOP at the surface, it is necessary for environmental protection, to have some form of shut-off device at the seabed to allow the well bore to be isolated and the riser to be disconnected under emergency conditions. This seabed disconnect device typically comprises two shear/blind rams and two latches, to unlatch the riser or the complete package. Pre-charged accumulators provide hydraulic power and control is via a single lightweight umbilical and an acoustic control system. While connected, the cable provides the primary control, with the acoustics as back-up, but if a disconnection is carried out, the acoustics must provide primary control and monitoring, until re-connection takes place. This places greater demands on the integrity of the acoustic control system than would be the case for a conventional back-up system.

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Technology Lodestar + Wideband USBL

USBL: The right attitude makes it perfect Building upon the Lodestar and USBL features in Issue 2, Baseline reports on how, when used together, these Sonardyne systems can deliver the ultimate survey grade positioning performance, so reducing operational costs and enhancing both DP and survey operations.


WIDEBAND® SIGNALLING technology has brought about dramatic improvements in the performance attainable from USBL (Ultra-Short BaseLine) acoustic positioning systems. Amongst the most significant benefits that this new digital technology offers users are; ONARDYNE

● Improved repeatability or precision due to

as much as a four fold improvement in the effective Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) ● Improved accuracy ● Immunity to interference to and from other vessels ● Hundreds of ‘channels’ available for true simultaneous vessel operations ● Coherent signal processing provides robust performance and tolerance to multipath

Lodestar AHRS; available in surface (above) and subsea versions rated to 5,000 metres

However, to gain the full effect from these improvements, Wideband USBL operators must consider both the acoustic positioning system itself and importantly the external motion sensors that the system is interfaced to. All types of USBL positioning systems must compensate for the motion of the vessel on which they are installed. For cost and convenience reasons, installations have in the past tended to utilise whatever motion sensors

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USBL Performance with Different Attitude and Heading Sensors Key: –– Standard DP reference sensors –– Standard survey reference sensors –– Lodestar AHRS & Wideband 14.00 The figure left shows the total system level performance that can be achieved with existing USBL configurations of reference systems as typically used today, and the significant improvement in performance seen with Wideband USBL and Lodestar tightly coupled together.



10.54m (1drms)

With many fields being developed in 1,500m the improvement in total error from 10m to 2m (1drms) enables positioning specifications to be met more cost effectively and can certainly provide performance “headroom” against weather and other factors.


Total error (m 1drms)

6.00 4.86m (1drms)


The scatter plot below shows real data from Lodestar in ultra-deepwater, indicating what is achievable. Ultimately, however, performance is dependent on the vessel installation and noise signature.

2.00 1.95m (1drms) 0.00 500 Depth (m)



were already installed on the vessel, the age and quality of which vary dramatically. For many vessels, motion sensors were only ever installed for Dynamic Positioning (DP) purposes where high accuracy was not typically required so cost drove specifications down. On some survey vessels, better sensors have been installed but most of these have tended to be older generation technology. For this reason, Sonardyne developed Lodestar, a combined heading, attitude and inertial reference sensor that utilises accelerometers and gyroscope components that are the perfect specification for USBL compensation, whilst still being affordable and suitable for export. IMO certification enables Lodestar to be used within the DP system or as the master heading device on a vessel. The high quality Ring Laser Gyroscopes (RLGs) used within Lodestar have excellent bias stability and a long Mean Time Before Failure (MTBF). These combined with high quality accelerometers, provide exceptional pitch, roll and heave data, essential for deep water construction survey operations. In deepwater, the accuracy of the motion systems used to compensate USBL data is one of the most critical factors. Lodestar is more than10 times more accurate than many typical motion sensors fitted for DP purposes. This has a significant effect upon performance enabling USBL tracking to be used in deeper waters.





Another major benefit of combining Lodestar with a Wideband USBL system comes from understanding in detail the algorithms in both the motion sensing and acoustic signal processing systems and any inherent delays. Tightly coupled By tightly coupling the motion and acoustic data carefully any delays in data can be removed and so improve positioning performance. Lodestar has the option of being able to provide power to a vessel’s USBL transceiver and directly process USBL data achieving an even more tightly compensated solution. This cannot be achieved with other motion sensors. This option means that the Sonardyne Navigation Controller Unit (NCU) normally supplied with a Fusion or Ranger system, is not always required so reducing the total system cost. The chart above shows a USBL position in ultra-deepwater from a Wideband USBL system using a Lodestar. Operating alongside a dual antenna GPS augmented inertial system, Lodestar dramatically out-performed its competition. This performance simply could not be achieved without the tight integration between Lodestar and Wideband USBL. Another benefit comes from the ‘all-in-onebox’ solution. With attitude and heading data coming from one device, alignment errors commonly encountered with separate roll and

pitch and heading sensors, are eliminated. As highlighted, Lodestar is also a full aided Inertial Navigation System (INS). In INS mode, the USBL position reference data aids the INS which is sensing the vessel’s motion. The ‘smoothed’ position output can be utilised by the vessel’s DP system. Benefits include; rejection of erroneous position jumps, improved operations in heavy weather, position ‘fill-in’ during acoustic signal drop-outs and improved update rate into the DP. Lodestar INS, in its subsea variant, will shortly be available for ROV operations, where the USBL and DVL aided INS can be used to improve deepwater survey positioning. The combination of high accuracy attitude and heading data from Lodestar tightly integrated with Wideband technology and its advantages, unlocks the true potential of Sonardyne USBL. BL

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Our People Survey Customer Support Group

The discovery and commissioning of new fields, together with the ongoing development of established fields, continues to increase the volume of work for companies across the offshore oil and gas industry. Survey companies especially, are having to utilise new technology in their procedures whilst maintaining sufficient levels of suitably experienced and skilled offshore staff. Baseline visits Sonardyne’s Sea Trials Centre in Plymouth, to speak to the new Survey Customer Support Group.

Preparation is the key

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y to offshore success


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Our People Survey Customer Support Group



history, Sonardyne has recognised its role in helping companies in the offshore survey and construction industry overcome the challenges of offshore field development and sees the abundant wealth of knowledge and experience throughout Sonardyne as a prime asset that can positively contribute to its clients’ success. The company has always had a very ‘hands on’ approach to being involved with survey planning and operational support services on large, offshore development projects. In an exciting new initiative, Sonardyne is making these services more readily accessible to all of its construction survey customers with the creation of a formal department within the company; the Survey Customer Support Group (SCSG). “In creating the Survey Customer Support Group, we have brought together senior survey staff from across the organisation, each one possessing unique skills and experience, to create a resource that the offshore survey industry can tap into when it needs to,” said David Riches who leads the new group.

The SCSG is a service run by Sonardyne for its offshore survey customers whilst giving Sonardyne improved lines of communication through which the next generation of products will be developed. Pictured here during a

Objectives “The objectives of the new group are two-fold,” continued David. “Firstly, to improve and optimise the use of Sonardyne’s suite of subsea acoustic positioning systems. A key component of this task is better product training with the addition of regular refresher courses to ensure customers are always kept up-to-date with the latest developments. Secondly, to enable us to have a better understanding of the needs of our customers and the ever changing markets in which they operate.This will have a direct impact upon

companies,” David emphasised during the group’s inaugural meeting in Plymouth in early 2008. In the same vein, the SCSG will not act as a “body shop” supplying personnel to run Sonardyne acoustic systems in place of the existing offshore personnel employed for that purpose. In doing so, Sonardyne’s commitment to providing an unbiased service that does not seek to compete at any level with survey companies is clear. The SCSG consists of six permanent members of staff who between them have

“ It is important to state that it is not designed to be and will never be, a commercial survey department bidding on contracts in competition with offshore survey companies.” future product development as we will channel feedback straight into the relevant Sonardyne department with a view to ensuring that new technologies and products more closely meet market requirements.” 67 years experience “It is important to state that the new group is not designed to be, and will never, be a commercial survey department bidding on contracts in competition with offshore survey

recent meeting (From left to right): David Riches, Director; Rob Dixon, Senior Surveyor; Nick Smedley, Survey Manager; Edward Moller, Project Surveyor; James Hope, Project Surveyor and Darioosh Naderi, Senior Surveyor

67 years offshore experience with 28 years of that being Sonardyne specific. Overseen by David, the team consists of Survey Manager, Nick Smedley, and four Surveyors; Rob Dixon, James Hope, Edward Moller and Darioosh Naderi. All members of the team are certified to work offshore, but the aim is to keep the Survey Manager as an office-based role supported by at least two of the Surveyors at any one time. It is envisaged that this

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arrangement will ensure coverage of the SCSG’s responsibilities can be maintained even in the busiest periods.


● Seabed array planning and QC ● Acoustic system performance modelling

and evaluation ● Reviewing systems, identifying deficiencies

Responsibilities Nick Smedley explained that the responsibilities of the Survey Customer Support Group include;

and recommending improvements ● Acoustic system specification based on

Sonardyne products ● The generation of “best practice” technical

guidelines ● Supporting customers in the effective use

of Sonardyne systems

● Training and education ● Onshore and offshore operational support

● Assisting in the launch of new products and

their use offshore

The Ormen Lange project is a recent notable

“ There is a requirement for a supporting infrastructure for the design, planning and operational stages of any complex subsea projects; the SCSG provides this infrastructure.” ● Providing technical sales support internally

and more importantly to our customers ● Analysing and interpreting the subsea construction survey market ● Helping to improve and promote Sonardyne’s survey related business “The SCSG’s primary and most immediate role is that of supporting customers in the effective use of Sonardyne equipment” said Nick. Such support includes the following key duties;

example of the benefits that thorough planning and support bring to a field development. From a very early stage, a detailed acoustic study was conducted to ensure that the subsea positioning services would be capable of meeting the operator’s requirement for verifiable and repeatable high accuracy positioning in an extremely harsh acoustic operating environment. This level of support was maintained right through to the project's successful completion in late 2007.

In another example of how meticulous planning benefits complex subsea operations, a complete in-water simulation exercise of a deepwater project in the Far East was conducted in Plymouth so that any potential problems or operational complications could be identified and overcome beforehand. Explaining further, Rob Dixon said, “You can factory test individual components but not the entire system, so a complete project simulation was seen as the logical risk minimiser. Here in Plymouth, we can simulate all LBL and USBL operations with real hardware in the water. Being able to offer this capability to clients, together with dedicated on-site training, is a valuable and unique asset the SCSG has at its disposal.” Summing up the Survey Customer Support Group, David Riches said, “The offshore survey industry is demanding continuous improvements in subsea acoustic positioning systems. Improvements in accuracy have been largely appeased with the implementation of new technology such as Sonardyne Wideband®. To optimise the benefits of such technology, there is a requirement for a supporting infrastructure for the design, planning and operational stages of any complex subsea projects; the SCSG provides this infrastructure. BL

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Baseline Âť Issue 3

Maritime Security Sentinel Intruder Detection Sonar

A diver wearing re-breather equipment enters the water during recent trials of Sentinel.The demonstration showed how Sentinel IDS is able to counter the threat of underwater attacks on ships, harbours, coastal industrial installations and offshore oil platforms

What lies Beneath? Baseline » Issue 3


Is your underwater perimeter secure? In recent years, more and more effort has been invested in securing maritime assets against the actions of terrorists and saboteurs. Above water surveillance and access control is a crucial part of this task, and can be addressed through a number of conventional technologies such as CCTV, FLIR, Radar and swipe card access systems. Underwater security has however, until now, been acknowledged as the weakest link in the defence of ships, harbours and on-shore facilities. Andy Meecham, Technical Manager Sonar Systems, explains how Sonardyne is addressing this situation with the introduction of Sentinel; the world’s smallest underwater intruder detection sonar.


of underwater intruders, and their discrimination from marine fauna, is a notoriously difficult problem. Any intruder detection system must work in the most challenging acoustic environments where many large vessels come and go, depth sounders may be continually active and relatively still water creates a complex thermal structure. In addition to the environmental factors that increase the difficulty of detection, once a target has been detected, it must also be classified. The same challenges face vessels in overseas ports. Expeditionary warfare units are highly visible and vulnerable targets; the attacks HE RELIABLE DETECTION

on the USS Cole in October 2000 and the Limburg in 2002 serve as stark reminders. In order to address these problems, Sonardyne decided to design an Intruder Detection Sonar (IDS) without the compromises that most existing sensors have had to make. What does the customer want? The decision to look at the feasibility of the IDS project, which was named Sentinel, was made in early 2006 and as part of this initial work one of the first tasks was to determine what the market actually wanted. High frequency intruder/diver detection systems have existed in one form or another since the early 1980’s. These systems had widely different characteristics, but none had ever sold in significant numbers. Sonardyne,>>

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Maritime Security Sentinel Intruder Detection Sonar

therefore, decided to actually go out and ask people what they wanted in an underwater intruder detection system. The results of these discussions then formed the core of the Sentinel system requirements. ● The system should be designed to be easy to

operate. The system has to be built around automated detection and tracking capability that should be no more difficult to use than a CCTV system ●

Initial set-up could be performed by a trained engineer, but after that no further “tuning” or “tweaking” should be required

● The system has to have a low false alert rate.

The system has to strike the balance between reliable detection/tracking of potential threats and low false alerts throughout its operating range, not just transitory performance in ideal conditions

Sonar head deployment

● A system should have no parts that are more

than a two-man lift ● Systems have to be capable of operating

with each other in a networked deployment and be capable of communicating with and being controlled by an external Commandand-Control system ● The cost must be reasonable, this is not a

military mine-hunting system Taken in isolation all of these requirements seem reasonable. Surprisingly, though, there was not a single system available that met all of them. Meeting the requirements In order to meet the requirements set by customers, and not just become a “me too”, a whole system approach was taken from the outset. The design team that had been assembled were given the opportunity to work together, undistracted on the Sentinel project. One of the first decisions made was that Sentinel was to be a broadband system, using a matched filter receive processing method. The use of a long, frequency modulated (high bandwidth) pulse combined with a matched filter allows for a significant signal processing gain; for Sentinel this is equal to approximately 30dB.

Automated tracking

Target classification

Baseline » Issue 3

The first challenge that must be met by any sonar system is to detect the target. Many existing intruder detection systems have evolved from echo sounders and fish finders which typically emit a narrow band pulse at a single frequency. In these second generation systems, in order to maximise performance against noise, more energy must be transmitted into the water whilst to maximise performance against reverberation, the sonar resolution must be increased. This was always a compromise; increase in pulse length (to increase pulse energy) necessarily decreased bandwidth. In a broadband system, the performance against reverberation is no longer governed by pulse length but by the reciprocal of the bandwidth. Therefore, both the bandwidth and pulse length can be increased giving improvements in performance over both noise and reverberation. In order to utilise the increased bandwidth, the signal must be transmitted into, and received from, the water in a smooth, wellbehaved manner. Conventional transducers would not be capable of delivering the required performance. Using the experience of the assembled team, 1:3 composite technology was chosen. As with all other aspects of the system, the leaders in this field were brought into the team and gave input into the design discussions at the earliest possible point. Keep the power down Typically, systems of this type would operate at a centre frequency in excess of 100kHz. Instead, for Sentinel, the decision was made to bring the centre frequency down to 70kHz reducing the two-way transmission loss by 18.6dB so that the source level could be reduced to 206dB re 1µPa @ 1m. This, coupled with the highly efficient composite array meant that for the maximum required 10% duty cycle the input electrical power to the transmitter falls to an average of only 65W. In turn this has a direct impact on the size of the internal energy store required, the power rating (and therefore size and cost) of the transmit and receive electronics, the amount of electro-magnetic interference generated when transmitting and the electrical power supply requirements.


Still need a filler line here

integrated team, along with tight project

The Ray Trace (Above, right) shows the paths that sound transmissions will take in the presence of a sound speed gradient (Above, left). As sound speed changes, “Rays” will tend to bend, much like light through a prism.Therefore, in an infinitely deep channel, parts of the water column could remain unensonified. However, in a shallow channel reflections (multipaths) mean that the whole column is soon ensonified, even in the most downwardly refracting environments.

Is it robust? One of the key requirements was to provide a realistic, robust measurement of system performance. Existing systems of this type often quote theoretical ranges based on wholly unrealistic environments, uniform sound speed profiles and low reverberation conditions. However, Sentinel was designed for performance realistic, non-ideal conditions. Crucially, although the final design gave theoretical detection performance well in excess of 600 metres it also provided robust and reliable tracking in excess of 500 metres using real, challenging environmental data. One of the single most important requirements identified was that the system should be man portable. In order to achieve this great use was made of the expertise that could be drawn from Sonardyne’s experience in their core markets. The same approaches used to make existing equipment were applied to Sentinel. In addition to the manufacturing and production engineering skills drawn from Sonardyne’s core expertise, the experience of the digital electronics designers allowed boards to be designed with much smaller form factors than are normally considered in this market. From modelling to reality During the remainder of 2006 and the majority of 2007, the Sentinel program moved forward at a rapid pace. The close

management and a whole team approach to any issues meant that the first Sentinel system was available for evaluation by the US Naval Underwater Warfare Center, Newport, Rhode Island, during October 2007. These trials were extremely successful and Sentinel was shown to be one of the best Intruder Detection Systems to have been put through the notoriously rigorous testing program, resulting in a number of systems orders. A number of tests have also been performed in the UK from Sonardyne’s own vessel ‘Sound Surveyor’. These tests have verified the expected performance, giving unbroken tracking against 450 metres against open and closed-circuit divers and 300 metres against surface swimmers, with detections at greater than 600 and 400 metres respectively. Instead of setting out to create a poor imitation of existing systems, none of which have sold in the great numbers, Sonardyne set out to challenge preconceptions. The resulting Sentinel system has been developed in less than 18 months and delivered on time for trials, where it exceeded all expectations. Add to this, the facts that the sonar head can be carried by one person, the whole system can be powered from a standard wall socket and that the coverage cost is well under the US Department of Homeland Security’s requirement for $100,000 per 1000 feet of coverage. These remarkable achievements could only have been achieved using the dynamic team of experts that were assembled for this purpose. BL

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Case Study British Antarctic Survey

Sonardyne acoustic release transponders aid Antarctic whale research ANTARCTIC SURVEY (BAS) has chosen Sonardyne acoustic release transponders to support the second year of its studies of whale calls in the waters around South Georgia and the Scotia Sea. 10 Lightweight Release Transponders (LRTs) are being used for the seabed deployment of specialised recording devices in waters up to 500 metres deep and in temperatures between 0.2 and 5 degrees Celsius. Using the Sonardyne LRTs, BAS has now successfully completed the second year of its research which entails listening for whale calls in frequencies below 500 Hz so that their movement, populations and feeding



habits can be studied. The ongoing study programme uses monitoring periods that range from three to 12 months when typically six LRTs are deployed with the instrument packages. The data is collected using MARUs (Marine Acoustic Recording Units) which are designed to collect acoustic data in a way that consumes the least power.This is achieved by storing five minutes of recorded data on a buffer then transferring it to a hard drive which is only activated at intervals to conserve power.The MARUs have also picked-up other acoustic events including earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and distant seismic survey operations. At the end of each study period, the

transponders, the instrument packages and the valuable data they contain are recovered by transmitting an acoustic command that activates the LRT’s unique release mechanism that ensures a positive drive-off to overcome marine growth so enabling the unit to return to the surface. The data is then analysed at the British Antarctic Survey headquarters in Cambridge where the acoustic files are converted into sonograms. Tony Martin, BAS section head of marine mammal studies explained,“Each whale species has a distinctive call and by carefully analysing the sonograms we are able to identify the species and work out how many there are and how far away. We

Baseline » Issue 3


Sonardyne LRT – Did you Know? The Sonardyne LRT is unique amongst low-cost releases in that it has the ability to both receive and transmit acoustic signals.This provides the operator with confirmation that the release mechanism has been activated. It also allows slant ranges to be measured for accurate positioning purposes and for relocating it prior to activation of the release mechanism.

“Constructed from high strength plastics that offer excellent corrosion resistance, the transponder has a long operational life”

(Left) Fin whales are among the important species of cetaceans whose communications are being monitored by British Antarctic Survey using recording instruments moored to Sonardyne LRTs.(Above) The RRS James Clark Ross is fitted with a Fusion USBL positioning system and it was the crew’s familiarity with this that encouraged BAS to consider the use of Sonardyne LRTs. Photo:Pete Bucktrout,British Antarctic Survey.(Below) An example of how an LRT is programmed and tested for deployment

The LRT is depth rated to 500 metres at which slant ranges of 750 metres are typical and this makes it suitable for use in most continental shelf waters. Constructed from high strength plastics that offer excellent corrosion resistance,the transponder has a long operational life.Field replaceable alkaline or lithium battery packs give the LRT a listening life of 18 months or four years respectively. The surface control system consists of a portable deck unit and a dunking transducer.The deck unit is used to program the transponder with its unique,high security acoustic identity which can be chosen from one of hundreds available.

can also work out how much they eat based on our knowledge of their calorific requirements and the food available in the area. “We are looking at the whales’ recovery since commercial whaling was banned in the 1960s and when South Georgia was the world centre for the industry. Happily we have found that all species are recovering, even the blue whale which is slowly returning from a 99 per cent depletion,” said Martin. BAS scientists are particularly satisfied with the operating range and release reliability of their LRTs.The units enable a quick turnaround of MARUs and optimise the available time of the RRS ‘James Clark Ross’ from which they are being deployed.

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Technology Systems and Products

Fusion LBL V1.10 Software As part of Sonardyne’s continuous programme of product development, major changes have been made to Fusion software, the industries established construction survey tool A simpler UI and batch processing of baseline calibration measurements are amongst the key improvements in the new release of Fusion LBL software

The updated software focuses on allowing users to gain the most advantage from their Wideband LBL equipment to improve acoustic performance, QC, simplify the UI and make it more robust. USBL support and dialog boxes have been removed to reduce complexity. USBL transceivers can still be used in for ‘box-in’ calibrations, commanding Compatts and for LBL tracking. Support for older instruments such as Dual Band Compatt, Mk4 Riser Angle Compatt, Mk 4 Mini Compatt and earlier Compatt 5 versions has been removed, though these are still supported by other versions of software. Baseline calibration data collection has been speeded up using batch commands and

online measurement rejection.Where previous versions would make a single baseline measurement, Fusion V1.10 will now collect measurements in groups so greatly speeding up the process.The user can now filter the measurements as they are being made by setting thresholds in the histogram display, ensuring that sufficient good quality measurements have been made. Calibration processing has been improved by the addition of tools to allow a baseline azimuth to be defined and by simplifying the addition of box-in positions to baseline calibrations. During tracking, users now have the ability to select and deselect reference beacons. There is also the option to exclude the measurement from any reference beacon in the tracking adjustment, a useful tool when

working in large arrays or areas with a high level of multipath.The measurements to the deselected beacons are still collected and displayed but are not passed to the tracking filter for processing, so the quality of the measurement can still be monitored and reselected when geometry has changed and range quality improves. For situations where multiple vessels are operating within acoustic range, it can be necessary to work co-operatatively to allow subsea tracking operations to take place. Previous versions of Fusion LBL have allowed co-operation by sharing out the frequency band but the latest version of Fusion LBL now has the capability to synchronise itself with other systems to ensure the minimum of interference. Acoustic transmissions can be synchronised to GPS time to ensure that they only occur within a particular window.

Baseline » Issue 3


Technology Systems and Products

Over-The-Side Deployment Pole A modular, transportable, over-the-side deployment pole for Sonardyne USBL systems, designed for vessels where through-hull deployment options are not available

Sonardyne’s new modular deployment pole can help reduce operating costs by enabling smaller vessels of opportunity to be utilised

Designed from years of experience on many vessels and careful modelling, the high performance pole enables survey grade acoustic positioning from any vessel of opportunity so reducing operating costs and extending capability.The high integrity design and deck level actuation reduces potential health and safety concerns seen on some installations. Installation is made easy with deck or hull mounting options.The poles length can be adjusted by adding or removing sections. Lower sections are simple and cost effective to replace. Each section is fitted with lifting lugs positioned at its centre of mass. Once deployed, the pole is locked into place by a heavy duty hydraulically operated mechanism welded to the ships hull.When the lock is engaged it increases

the stiffness of the pole and ensures a high degree of repeatability when raised and lowered. Manufactured from high grade steel, the highly rigid pole includes vortex shedding strakes to reduce drag and vibration which can reduce performance. Longevity and robustness are enhanced by fabrication from hot dipped galvanised steel which is then over-coated with a two part marine epoxy. The poles design makes assembly easy by incorporating internal protected ducts for the hydraulic hose (for the locking mechanism) and two cables to the pole end. The modular design allows the fabrication of a range of adapters offering a high degree of flexibility in the type of equipment that can be attached and deployed from the pole.

Modular, Over-The-Side Deployment Pole Facts & Figures ● High performance,high integrity survey grade USBL deployment system ● Drag and vortex reducing strakes ● Deck and hull mount options ● Sectional pole allows length to be configured for each vessel ● Good corrosion resistance ● Adapters to fit all Sonardyne transceivers.Custom design available for non-Sonardyne instrumentation ● Easy to transport and assemble

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International News from around the World

SE Asia – Singapore John Ramsden VP Asia

USA – Houston Spencer Collins VP Americas

UK – Aberdeen Barry Cairns Sales Manager

Brasil – Macaé Gavin Hunting Regional Manager

Sonardyne Asia has expanded in many capacities to provide enhanced structure for both pre and post sales support.

Operational savings 2007 was the year that Sonardyne Wideband® made a difference in the Gulf, contributing to safer simultaneous operations and averting millions of dollars in vessel down time. Wideband facilitated ‘SIMOPS’ between drilling and constructions vessels which otherwise could not have operated in close proximity.

Business through the Aberdeen office has grown significantly over the last year. I've now been heading up the office since November and I'm pleased to be part of the continued growth. I believe in developing closer ties with our industry clients through an active program of workshops and seminars. My 12 years working at Head Office helps me bring the right people from Blackbushe to Aberdeen, building the links between your offshore applications and our engineering teams.

Recent announcements of the giant oil and gas discoveries, Tupi and Jupiter in the Santos basin, will place significant pressure on the drilling and survey markets in our region. It will be a challenge to reconcile Petrobras’ targets with industry wide capacity to supply equipment and services but is one we look forward to tackling.

Staffing levels have been boosted with the recruitment of additional technicians to support Sonardyne products throughout the region and sales staff to keep the marketplace fully informed about our latest products. ISO 9001:2000 In late 2007, our office became the latest Sonardyne company to gain ISO accreditation. A Risk Assessment Audit was also conducted to ensure that the health and safety requirements of our staff and visitors are of the highest standard. In recognition of the expanding Middle East marketplace, TES, with Susan Murray at the helm, has been appointed the Sonardyne agent covering the region. Susan has a wealth of experience in the subsea equipment marketplace. With the new people and processes we now have in place, the office here in Singapore is well positioned to meet the challenges and the needs of our customers in the months to come.

Lodestar debut Following successful trials of Lodestar AHRS in the region, several ROV support vessels have taken delivery of their own units.The incredible positioning performance that can be achieved when using Lodestar with Wideband USBL, will in 2008, set new standards for deepwater operations in the Gulf of Mexico. Drilling Worldwide Oilfield Machine Inc. and Electro-Flow Controls have chosen Sonardyne to supply an acoustic command system to be integrated within a BOP Mux control system; the first of its kind in the GOM. Operating in the LMF band, Sonardyne’s robust telemetry was the deciding factor.The equipment will be installed on the Helix vessel ‘Q4000’.

To strengthen the team, I am pleased to announce that Angela Fergus has been promoted to Technical Sales Representative and Barry Stephenson has been promoted to Field Engineer. We are also recruiting positions in sales, administration and in the workshop. Seminars and Workshops This year we will run more workshops to give our customers a better understanding of the advantages of Sonardyne technology.The new Survey Customer Support Group will be heading up this initiative with regular visits to our office over the coming months. Read more about the role of the SCSG on Page 18 of Baseline.

Survey and construction The Fusion systems on the ‘CBO Campos’ and ‘Rio’ RSVs have now been commissioned and are working for Petrobras. Feedback from the field is that both systems’ performance is “second-to-none.” Tidewater’s AHTS ‘Richard M. Currence’ continues work for Shell on block BC-10.The vessel operator has decided, together with Shell, to order a Ranger USBL system for delivery later this year. Training and support LBL and LUSBL training was very popular last year and we continue to see high levels of demand for more classes. The Brazilian Navy Training Centre in Rio, Ciaga has ordered a Ranger USBL which will be integrated into their bridge simulator.

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Help & Advice Your questions answered

Ask Dave With over 20 years experience here at Sonardyne, Dave Mould has all the answers If there’s something you’ve always been meaning to ask us,then I’m here to get you the answer.Whether its a technical query or a handy hint,email me your questions at Some of the best questions will appear in the next issue of Baseline.


We’ve had a Fusion USBL system onboard our DP rig for about a year and have recently moved to a new well location off southern Africa. We’ve noticed a gradual deterioration in positioning performance and upon recovering the transceiver head to investigate the cause,we have discovered a lot of marine growth covering the unit. Please can you advise how best to remove this without causing damage to the head.


Your problem is due to your location which is well known to have warm,nutrient rich waters that provide the perfect growing conditions for marine fauna. The photos above,right show an extreme example of what can happen;this buildup occurred over just eight months! Firstly,wash down with water to remove any loose biofouling and then use a plastic scraper to remove the more permanently attached marine life.Do not use anything which could deeply scratch the front face of the array and keep the motion of the scraper flat across the surface. When the worst of the debris is removed,it is acceptable to lightly hand sand the face with abrasive paper such as ‘wet and dry’to remove the final signs of biofouling. Use a grade equivalent to 240 grit and lots of clean water to keep the


All current Sonardyne software products are fully tested on Windows XP Service Pack 2, English (United Kingdom) version.Compatibility with older versions or other variants of Windows (including Vista) is not guaranteed and technical support for Windows compatibility issues cannot be offered by Sonardyne.

Biofouling: before and after cleaning

process wet,ensure that it is done evenly across the whole face.Next,carefully examine the face for damage,such as small cracks which typically occur around the edges of barnacles.If you have any doubt about damage to the array face, take a photo and send it in to Sonardyne support for further advice.This would now be an ideal time to perform an array ‘health check’;a diagnostic tool found in the software providing you have a suitably equipped transceiver.


Hi Dave,we are in the process of upgrading our Nav suite with some new PCs.What version of Windows should we be specifying?


Dave,we are an EM seismic crew looking for a release beacon that we can put onto our seafloor recording packages.We need to be able to track it with our USBL and command it to release when we want to recover the recorders.I’ve been on your website and was wondering whether an ORT would do the job?


ORTs and DORTs are not USBL beacons so you need to be looking at something else. You could use a short housing Compatt 5,DPT or PGT or you might want to consider the new External Release Wideband Sub-Mini (WSM) which is very small and ideal if space is limited. The External Release WSM differs from standard WSMs in that it has the ability to activate an external release mechanism in order to recover the transponder and any equipment package back to the surface. Two release options are available; a dual contact closure (XRCC) actuation where the power for your release mechanism is provided externally to the WSM (order Version 04) or a dual voltage output (XRVO) where the battery voltage of the WSM is used to drive an release directly (order Version 08).

Globetrotter. Since its first commercial deployment in 2005, the Compatt 5 subsea transponder has been adopted in every major field development establishing itself, and Sonardyne WidebandÂŽ technology, as the low-risk trusted workhorse of the offshore construction survey industry.

Configurable to meet any customer requirement, Compatt 5 has proven itself to be an adaptable platform for all LBL and USBL acoustic positioning operations including template installation, pipeline survey, DP reference and high accuracy metrology.

Š Copyright Sonardyne International Limited. Specifications subject to change without notice. Printed 03/08


Profile for Sonardyne International Ltd

Baseline issue 3  

Baseline is Sonardyne’s customer magazine aimed at bringing you the stories and the ideas surrounding our latest product developments. Each...

Baseline issue 3  

Baseline is Sonardyne’s customer magazine aimed at bringing you the stories and the ideas surrounding our latest product developments. Each...