On March 9, 2011, the German research vessel Sonne left the port of Wellington, New Zealand. The project NEMESYS is part of a long series of research operations performed by IFM-Geomar in order to enhance the understanding of gas hydrate deposits.
L-3 ELAC Nautik's multibeam system SeaBeam 3050 was fixed to the vessel's hull by divers and allows, with a sonar frequency of 50 kHz, the spatial investigation of gas bubbles in the water column.
Gas hydrates exist in nearly all continental margins, in particular on the active continental Hikurangi Margin, where numerous spots, the so-called cold seeps can be found.
The URUTI flare could be surveying in detail using the system SeaBeam 3050 and no seep sites could be observed at the south-west area of the Porangahau ridge, although gas conglomerations are assumed closely underneath the sea floor. Though weather conditions have been less than favorable, SeaBeam 3050 has been used extensively and has provided excellent results.