To tackle the strong currents in Australia's offshore oil & gas fields, leading contracting company, Cal Dive International (Australia) Pty Limited, selected Saab Seaeye's powerful new Panther XT Plus ROV (Zone Rated and configured for operations in hazardous areas) when making that choice.
A Cal Dive spokesman said: "The Panther ticks all the boxes. It is small enough to work inside rig and platform jackets, yet powerful enough to open and close pipeline valves and operate in the strong currents of open water."
Although intended primarily for inspection work on oil & gas platforms, sub-sea completions and associated pipelines, Cal Dive says: "‘It has the muscle to do whatever needs to be done."
Cal Dive points to the fact the Panther XT Plus has ten powerful thrusters, has 50% more power and swims 30% faster than any other electric work ROV of its class.
Such thruster power means it can maintain position whilst working in the strong currents of Australian waters that would normally restrict the operations of other similar ROV's.
The Panther's configuration chosen by Cal Dive includes a Seaeye wide-angle low-light black & white camera and a Kongsberg compact colour zoom camera.
Also a Tritech Super SeaKing sonar with dual frequency sonar head, and a Tritech altimeter with auto altitude option.
Fitted to the ROV are two Schilling Orion manipulators: starboard side, a seven function position feedback manipulator with 3.8" gripper, and port side, a four function rate manipulator with 7.8" gripper.
For debris clearance, the Panther comes with a rotary disc cutter and a 38mm anvil cutter.
There is also a water jetting system, a cleaning brush assembly and manipulator-held cleaning brush tool.
A Cygnus ultrasonic thickness gauge comes with the ROV, together with a CP proximity probe to check anode protection.
In the case of an emergency the ROV is fitted with a battery operated emergency locator strobe.
The ROV system includes a stainless steel framed tether management cage with 150m of tether cable, and its own Seaeye mini camera.
Also supplied through Saab Seaeye's West Australian distributor, Oceanvision, is a control container and a self-erecting launch and recovery A-frame with 1100 metre umbilical cable capacity, a certified bullet assembly and lock latch assembly with snubber rotator.
Reassuringly for Cal Dive the new Panther XT Plus has evolved from the proven Panther concept into a more powerful vehicle with an increased payload and re-designed frame that allows more space for additional equipment and a greater range of tools and sensors.
An added bonus when working to a tight deadline in hazardous conditions is that ten thrusters in hand offer a reassuringly high degree of redundancy, should one or more thrusters become fouled - allowing the operator to keep the ROV on task until recovery.
Cal Dive say that, although this is the first Saab Seaeye ROV for Cal Dive's Australian operation, the ROV team has good previous experience with Saab Seaeye ROVs in other fields of operation.