Flagship research vessel supports marine survey

An unusually large group of Port Jackson sharks and an incredible diversity of sponge species were among the marine life detected during a recent research voyage aboard the Australian Maritime College’s flagship research vessel, RV Bluefin.

AUV being deployed from Bluefin

The AUV being deployed from Bluefin

Bluefin was chartered to carry out a ten-day survey of the deep water reefs surrounding Tasmania. The 35-metre vessel was used to deploy an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) at 19 sites, from Tasmania’s southern-most marine reserve up to the Furneaux group of islands in the Bass Strait.

A specialist crane transferred the AUV from Bluefin to the ocean, where it collected images and samples that will help scientists better understand the nature and magnitude of changes in the ecosystem due to finishing, storms, global warming and more.

The mission was part of a long-term observation program facilitated by the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) on observing reef systems at the continental scale.

Research leader Dr Neville Barrett from the University of Tasmania’s Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) described RV Bluefin as an ideal work platform for the survey work.

“Bluefin has a spacious wheelhouse where we can set up all the computing and control equipment necessary to program and deploy the AUV. It’s also one of the few vessels in Tasmania that can safely deploy the AUV due to its crane capability, particularly the new Hiab style crane.

“Bluefin also provides accommodation for multiple scientists, engineers and support crew, and its crew are excellent in supporting our operations from every angle.”

“Bluefin provides accommodation for multiple scientists, engineers and support crew, and its crew are excellent in supporting our operations from every angle.”

“AMC assisted in keeping costs at an affordable base, and it’s a large comfortable platform so makes working at sea pleasant and productive.”

AMC Search CEO, Dean Cook, said that Bluefin was ideal for use by science missions in and around Australia.

“AMC Search was pleased to be able to provide Bluefin to support this important scientific survey work.

“Bluefin’s spacious bridge has plenty of room for survey recording and monitoring equipment, making it ideal as an affordable base for ocean-based scientific work.”

Bluefin is available for charter by commercial, defence and science organisations. For more information, please contact us.

Port Jackson sharks surveyed during the voyage

Port Jackson sharks surveyed during the voyage