The Kiel 6000 ROV manufactured by Schilling Robotics, a leading producer of remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs), has been certified by Germanischer Lloyd (GL) as meeting requirements for safety and environmental impact.
The technical monitoring group GL has conducted safety surveys of thousands of ships and several ROVs, but the survey of the Kiel 6000 is the firm’s first of a work-class ROV and of an unmanned vehicle with a 6000-meter depth rating. The ROV will join the ranks of high-profile GL-certified subsea vehicles such as the 6000-meter, deep-diving, manned MIR submersibles.
The ROV is owned by the Leibniz Institute of Marine Science (IFM-Geomar) at the University of Kiel. While in the service of the university, the ROV’s primary role will be marine research.
"The certification of ROVs is not regulated uniformly on an international level. However, plant operators are under an obligation to protect their staff against any hazards arising from the operation of technical equipment," explains Herald Pauli, Head of Department Pressure and Underwater Technology at GL. "Of the underwater vehicles we have certified, the Kiel 6000 is the most complex and sophisticated ROV which we have dealt with."
GL reviewed a comprehensive series of tests on the ROV, and GL representatives were present during factory acceptance testing at Schilling Robotics’ headquarters in Davis, California. During testing of the ROV, GL monitored the integrity of the vehicle and its components under pressure at different depths and tested various safety factors in the design.
GL was also present at the ROV system’s deep-sea trial, which was conducted from the research vessel Sonne off New Zealand.
The Kiel 6000 will add to IFM Geomar’s capacity to research and investigate the state of earth’s marine environment and global climate change. "The robot will enable us to investigate and explore the marine geophysical environment," commented Dietrich Austermann, Chairman of Schleswig-Holstein Ministry of Science, on the purchase of the Kiel 6000. The ROV’s depth-rating of 6000 msw will make 95% of the ocean floor open to exploration.
Schilling Robotics’ Kiel 6000 project manager, Mike Owens, commented on his role in constructing the ROV, "I was excited to be involved in a project that has set an industry benchmark for deepwater, workclass ROVs. Schilling Robotics has taken the next step in ROV evolution with this work-class, electric, environmentally friendly ROV."
The Kiel 6000 will embark on its first cruise ending in Receife, Brazil in January 2008. The ROV will investigate the Logatchev hydrothermal field, studying the hydrothermal fluids and their effects on the vent communities. It will also monitor seismic, tectonic, and magmatic activity, and measure and sample hydrothermal plumes and high-temperature hydrothermal fluids.