As part of Fugro's ongoing policy to modernise its fleet of seabed survey vessels, the ex-Norwegian Coastguard vessel, KV Tromsø, was acquired early in 2007. Built in 1997, it was renamed M/V Fugro Discovery and entered commercial service later that year.
It rapidly gained a reputation as being a stable survey platform, delivering excellent data with well integrated marine and survey crews ensuring extremely efficient operations.
"Personnel showed a high degree of professionalism and competence throughout the project."
"Very satisfied with all marine and project crew. Good work ethic and team work shown together with friendly atmosphere."
The vessel's principal dimensions are:
Immediately the vessel was acquired it was converted into a geophysical survey vessel. Already designed to meet the highest standards of safety and of the environment it was fitted with Fugro's high precision DGPS satellite positioning systems, Starfix HP and Starfix Spot; HiPAP 500 USBL; EM710 multibeam echo sounder; Edgetech 4200 side scan sonar (3000m tow cable) and hull mounted sub-bottom pinger/profiler. It was also equipped with Fugro's FOCUS-2 Remotely Operated Towed Vehicles and used to carry out external acoustic pipeline inspection surveys in the North Sea.
"The line keeping of the FOCUS was exemplary despite difficult ambient conditions that included poor weather, limited access due to 500m zones, and anchor patterns."
The vessel proved to be very successful in this mode of operation. Since commissioning, over 15,000 kilometres of subsea pipeline have been inspected. It will be inspecting over 4,000 kilometres of subsea pipeline in 2009. Being fitted with automated station keeping capability it also deploys a work-ball ROV, such as a Seaeye Tiger, to carry out visual inspections of elements of the pipeline system being surveyed, selected after onboard analysis of the geophysical data.
"Experience of officers working vessel within 500m zones installation was a query onshore but level of professionalism quickly became apparent, to alleviate any concerns. No problems maintaining station keeping for ROV dives in 2-3m seas."
Early in 2009 M/V Fugro Discovery went back to the dockyard for the next phase of its refit, emerging as a vessel capable of undertaking a much wider range of survey tasks. In addition to being able to carry out acoustic and visual pipeline inspection tasks, it is now capable of undertaking:
• Full site surveys including "digital" and "analogue" surveys.
• Route and field development surveys, including the acquisition of vibrocores and cone penetrometer tests.
• Environmental sampling, including .25 sq. m. box coring and still camera & video camera imaging.
"Excellent work during good weather period to ensure three debris surveys completed in three days in difficult environmental conditions, especially by PC and Captain."
The latest refit has affected every part of the vessel from stem to stern. It's not only the vessel's survey equipment that has been subjected to a massive up-grade. The accommodation has been upgraded and the vessel's decks have been re-organised to enhance safety and increase efficiency while at the same time improving the environment for those working on the vessel.
"The Geo. had a very high workload but coped well and did a good job. All personnel were interested in doing a good job safely."
In addition to the systems previously available, the principal features of the M/V Fugro Discovery, as recently equipped, are as follows:
• New propeller blades for quiet running during seismic data acquisition.
• 20 tonne CPT and Vibrocorer winch c/w 1500m of kevlar rope.
• New A-frame to suit geotechnical operations.
• Remodelled accommodation for 36 in single or double en suite cabins.
• New HTI digital seismic system c/w:
· SeeMUX gel filled digital streamer (6.25m group spacing)
· Digicourse 5010 streamer levellers
· 140 in3 6-gun sleeve airgun array
• New Hamworthy high pressure air compressors.
• New 10 in3 mini air gun with wave shape kit.
• New drop corer c/w 1500m of kevlar rope.
• New streamer and gun array umbilical winches.
• New equipment deployment booms and gantries.
• Dedicated launch and recovery system area for ROV and ROV control cabin.
Everyone associated with the refit is pleased with the end result. What was a very efficient and comfortable vessel to work on is now a much more versatile platform from which the full range of geophysical survey tasks can be carried out. Because of its design it is capable of working in all conditions from above the Arctic Circle to equatorial regions. It is capable of making rapid transits so can rapidly deploy to distant locations and is capable of extended operations on site due to its capacity to carry large quantities of food, water and fuel.
"Fugro Survey Ltd onshore reporting have delivered everything that we have asked for with quality, efficiency and courtesy."
Fugro Survey Limited looks forward to putting her through her paces during your next geophysical survey project.