The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has awarded marine survey specialists EMU Limited (EMU) a multi-million pound hydrographic contract as part of its programme to systematically survey the waters around the UK.
The EMU contract will cover the Shallow Water Lot of the MCA's Civil Hydrography Programme, which aims to gather accurate hydrographic information for updating United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) nautical charts and publications.
The work will focus on eight main coastal offshore regions around the UK. These areas cover from Barra Island in Scotland and Carmarthen Bay in Wales to Belfast Lough in Northern Ireland and Poole Bay in England.
Starting in August, and with a two-year timeframe, the scope of work undertaken by EMU will cover more than 1,900 km² of seabed utilising state-of-the-art multibeam echosounding equipment and other geophysical sensors. The survey will incorporate challenging areas in which EMU's choice of the right people, equipment and techniques will be vital in ensuring safe and reliable seabed data is gathered.
The award of the contract recognises EMU's expertise in collecting precise seabed depth and geophysical data to the exacting International Hydrographic Office (IHO) standards, which are rigorously specified and enforced by the MCA and UKHO. The safety-related nature of this type of survey means accuracy is of paramount importance.
EMU Limited's Managing Director, Bruce Tomlinson said this is the largest and most prestigious contract the company has ever won and is evidence of its growing capabilities in the marine survey arena.
"By awarding the contract to carry out part of this essential national programme to EMU, the MCA and UKHO have recognised the company as a leading industry player able to provide the most technical and cost-effective solutions," Dr Tomlinson said.
"The project allows the company to continue its steady managed growth and invest in the very latest equipment which will benefit our whole client-base."
The UK has a 200-year tradition of surveying its home waters to improve shipping safety. From the eras of Captains Cook, Beaufort and Fitzroy, the UK has exported its hydrographic expertise worldwide. EMU will build on this tradition by using the latest dual-head high-resolution multibeam echosounders to obtain seabed depth in unprecedented detail.