In May, 2016 the K2 ROV supported the Science Verification Cruise #4 (SVC-4) of the new research vessel the Neil Armstrong, recently delivered to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). As part of the SVC-4 the K2 conducted two major activities – the maintenance of the Ocean Observatories Initiative’s (OOI) Pioneer Array and diving on three of the Georges Bank subsea canyons.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has established the OOI to provide long-time series observations of ocean conditions and processes at several locations at coastal, regional and global scales. In the northeast the coastal observatory is called the Pioneer Array that lies about 80 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, MA. The Pioneer Array is a comprehensive observation system comprised of many interconnected components that are capable of sampling throughout the water column at multiple spatial scales using a variety of sampling technologies.
The complexity and multi-modality of the Pioneer Array (PA) components have warranted that a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) is the most effective way to install and maintain the multiple systems that have to be connected subsea. The capacity to support this mode of installation and maintenance has been accommodated by the incorporation of wet-mateable connectors as part of the design. NURTEC’s K2 ROV has been involved in three cruises to test the ability of the K2 system to locate and visually evaluate OOI assets on the seafloor, handle and maneuver long sections of interconnect cabling between the MFN and AUV docking station, test the ability to plug and unplug wet-mateable connections on both OOI subsea assets and to complete the installation and recovery of one AUV docking station at the deep water (450m) PA site.