OceanX unveils new research and exploration vessel

Photo: OceanX/Taj Howe

OceanX has unveiled its new scientific research, media production, and exploration vessel, OceanXplorer.

Formerly named Alucia 2, the vessel is intended to operate as a floating, integrated marine research platform and media production studio. It is equipped with scientific exploration vehicles, chemical, biological, and geophysical sampling tools, and an onboard media centre.

The vessel is a former petroleum support and survey ship that has been completely retrofitted at Damen Shiprepair in the Netherlands. Features include a 40-tonne man-rated A-frame crane strong enough to launch submersibles, towed sonar arrays, and other heavy equipment; a resident helicopter and climate-controlled hangar; dedicated deployment systems that will allow for independent launch and recovery of piloted and autonomous underwater drones; and oceanographic sensor platforms.

The ship also features two manned Triton submersibles, each of which can dive to depths greater than 1,000 metres for up to eight hours, and a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) that can explore depths up to 6,000 metres.

OceanXplorer‘s underwater optical modem allows never-before-seen livestreaming video and data from untethered submersibles in the depths of the ocean seafloor to social media feeds and classrooms in real-time; the custom lighting rigs and housings make the ship the only vessel in existence that can image using 8K resolution cameras 6,000 metres deep.

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