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October 2014 // Sea Trial of Odyssey Deep-tow Vehicle

The deep-tow sonar mapping vehicle developed in a collaboration between Teledyne-Reson and Teledyne-Benthos was mobilized

on board the Odyssey Marine vessel Odyssey Explorer in the port of Charleston, South Carolina.  Paul Jubinski, who had been the

project engineer for the vehicle system while he was a Teledyne-Reson employee, was on hand for the mobilization and took part in

the vehicle’s first sea trial.

Following the sea trial, the Odyssey Explorer sailed to the Central America wreck site and the deep-tow vehicle was used to produce a high-resolution sonar mosaic of a 4,500 meter by 10,000 meter area that included the wreck site. Odyssey Marine has released detailed operational reports regarding its activities in the Central America project and the activities involving the new deep-tow mapping vehicle are described in Report 14-06.  

December 2014 // MH370 winch at University of Tokyo

Around 15 years ago, the Ocean Research Institute at the University of Tokyo acquired its Wadatsumi deep-tow vehicle system but

changes in the ORI research program put the system into storage for most of the past 10 years.  With the need to mobilize deep-

tow systems aboard two vessels in Australia to search for the lost Malaysian MH370 aircraft, Fugro Survey Pty Ltd (Perth, Australia)

expressed an interest in using the Wadatsumi deck equipment and armored fiber-optic towcable aboard one of the vessels.

Paul Jubinski, who had experience with the Wadatsumi system from his time at Fugro Seafloor Surveys, traveled to the Ocean Research Institute and worked with a team to unpack the deck equipment, set it up and assess the condition of the Dynacon diesel- powered traction winch and the Rochester towcable.  The assessment was favorable and the equipment was shipped to Fremantle, Australia and mobilized aboard the Fugro Equator.  

May-June 2015 // MH370 Search aboard Fugro Discovery

After assisting remotely with issues regarding deck equipment and fiber-optic telemetry, Paul Jubinski flew to Fremantle, Australia

and participated directly in the search for the MH370 aircraft as a member of the deep-tow survey team on board the Fugro

Discovery.  The at-sea operations presented the mix of challenges that we associate with deep-tow operations - launching and

recovering heavy equipment, high towcable tensions, balancing ship speed and winch activity to keep the vehicle close to the

seafloor, maintaining high-bandwidth communication links over long optical fibers, working at the absolute range limits of acoustic

positioning - plus the severe wind and sea states posed by winter in the Southern Ocean.  Paul very much enjoyed working with the

Fugro team, which deserves praise for maintaining a professional demeanor as it dealt with technical issues under difficult

circumstances, and was happy to work again with Chris Staddon, onboard representative for the Australian Transport Safety


The activities on board the Fugro Discovery and Fugro Equator have extended the industry’s body of knowledge with regard to deep-tow operations, racking up high numbers of survey track-miles, hours with long lengths of towcable in the water, and hours with large amplitude ship motions resulting from high sea states.  Detailed information regarding the MH370 search can be found at the ATSB website, which offers a number of technical documents regarding the equipment used in the search, along with images and videos associated with the search activities.

May 2015 // MATE Regional ROV Competition

Responding to a request from MTS superstar Fritz Stahr, our colleague Richard Petters put his extensive experience as a designer

of underwater vehicles to good use as a judge at the 10th Annual MATE Pacific Northwest ROV Challenge.  The rules of the MATE

ROV competition require that the competing teams of high school students adopt the mindset of a commercial company,

developing a vehicle that demonstrates certain capabilities and making technical presentations to introduce their vehicles, explain

their system designs and show that safety issues had been adequately addressed.


In addition to the sheer pleasure of being around smart, enthusiastic high school students with serious techno-geek aspirations,

Richard had high praise for AMNO & CO, the team that took first place in the Ranger Division.  According to Richard, the team’s

technical presentation and system design were as good as many (and better than some) of the professional presentations that he

has encountered in his career.

AMNO & CO consists of West Seattle residents Alex Miller (AM), Nicholas Orndorff (NO) & Clara Orndorff (CO) and, unlike their

other competitors, is a standalone group, not affiliated with any school.  They will go on to compete in the International MATE ROV

competition in St. Johns, Newfoundland.  


October 2015 // Oceans 2015

Paul Jubinski was in Washington, DC on 20 and 21 October, walking the aisles in the

exhibit hall at the IEEE/MTS Oceans 2015 conference, visiting old friends and

learning about new technology.  A special pleasure was seeing the Marine

Technology Society show its appreciation for the hard work and dedication of our

friend Fritz Stahr, awarding him one of its highest honors for service to the society.


September 2015 // Upgrade for the Aloha Cabled Observatory

Over the past two decades, our colleagues have worked with several institutions on the

planning and installation of cabled observatory systems and seafloor observatory instruments. 

Grant Blackinton spent a week in early September on board the University of Hawaii Research

Vessel Kilo Moana, working with the team upgrading the suite of instruments installed on the

Aloha Cabled Observatory, which is described in this article from the September issue of

Ocean News & Technology.  One of the notable achievements of the cruise was the installation

of a quick-responding pressure sensor that will feed real-time data into the network of

instruments monitored by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Network.

More information is available at the Aloha Cabled Observatory website.

June 2015 // MATE International ROV Competition

After receiving high praise from the judges (including our colleague Richard Petters) during the regional competition in

the Seattle area in May, the team of AMNO & CO took top honors with their Ranger Class ROV, along with a special

award for design elegance, in the 15th Annual MATE International ROV Competition in St. John’s, Newfoundland.  AMNO

& CO consists of West Seattle residents Alex Miller (AM), Nicholas Orndorff (NO) & Clara Orndorff (CO) and, unlike their

other competitors, is a standalone group, not affiliated with any school.


The ROVs entered into the MATE competition were required to demonstrate real-world capabilities (such as close visual

inspection, object retrieval and area mapping) after being deployed through a 75 cm by 75 cm hole (in simulated ice) into

a pool of a water solution maintained at near-freezing temperatures.  The Explorer Class vehicles were the largest and

heaviest in the competition and could be powered by 48 volt DC power.  The Ranger Class vehicles were somewhat

smaller and lighter and had to be powered by 12 volt DC power.

The team on the left, from Jesuit High School, of Carmichael, California, notched their third consecutive victory in the Explorer Class division.  The team on the right, AMNO & CO, with their first victory in the Ranger Class division, reminds of the wisdom in Professor Christensen’s book, The Innovator’s Dilemma - that the best training, equipment and a history of success should not blind you to the possibility that you may be overtaken by a small team of talented people working late hours in a garage somewhere.
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