The Harris County Sheriff's Office (Houston, Texas) recently completed training from Craig Thorngren, owner of Submerged Recovery & Inspection Services in the capabilities, deployment, use, and care of their new suite of robotic underwater search and inspection equipment. They acquired a VideoRay Pro 3 GTO remotely operated vehicle, integrated with BlueView Technologies P900-45 multibeam sonar, LYYN Visibility Enhancement Technology System and KCF Technologies Smart Tether Positioning System with the help of a Department of Homeland Security Grant.
Eight Deputies spent three days learning how set up the system, interpret the sonar images, and fly the ROV to the targets and then obtaining the GPS coordinates of the underwater targets. Three sunken cars and trucks were located on the second day of training.
The last day of training consisted of tactics and techniques to search a ship hull quickly and efficiently for parasitic devices. During the training the Chief Engineer from the MARAD vessel Cape Taylor asked if a 1.5 inch plug could be located and inspected to make sure it was fully threaded into the hull. Using the BlueView Sonar, Deputy Doug Klim located and inspected the plug (on a 630 foot vessel) in less than 10 minutes.
The training scenarios were tailored to specific tasks as directed by the Sheriff's Office. These included searching a fairly wide area for evidence and recovering it, inspecting ship hulls for evidence of smuggling, and assisting other agencies in their search efforts.
"This is sophisticated, state of the art gear." Said Craig Thorngren of Submerged Recovery & Inspection Services, "This group was as good as any I've worked with picking up the technology and techniques and running with them. I'm certain they will be successful."