Seabed AS has been awarded a contract regarding search for the Air France-plane that crashed outside Brazil June 1st 2009. The wreck is likely at a depth of 3-4000 metres, and the French Safety Investigation Authority responsible for the investigation of civil aircraft accidents and incidents (BEA) has, among different international companies, chosen Seabed AS as a partner.
The mobilization of Seabed Worker commences in the beginning of March in Brazil. The vessel is already in the area. The search is expected to last between one and two months. The search area in international waters between Brazil and West Africa, is huge and far from shore, and the water depth makes the search a technological challenge.
The Airbus A330-203-plane, Air France AF447, is supposed to be at depth of 3-4000 metres, and Seabed's specially equipped vessel and experience with deep sea operations, have contributed to the contract award.
"We are proud of that BEA has chosen us for this challenging task, and that Seabed in this way might contribute to clear up this tragic accident where 228 persons were killed," says CEO Hans M. Gravdal.
An important task is to find the aircraft's Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and Flight Data Recorder (FDR), and BEA will utilize the best equipment available in the search. In addition to equipment and ROV on board Seabed Worker, three REMUS AUV's will be used. The AUV's are operated by the American Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and are capable to operate down to a depth of 6000 meter.
"We are working different from other subsea-companies and perform what we call 'subsea surgery'. We have experience from work on depths deeper than 3000 meter. This is deep, but we have personnel who have long experience with this type of work, and a good track record."
"We consider the possibilities to locate the plane as good," says Mr. Gravdal.