As a world leader in ultra - deep water survey operations involving 6000m rated side scan sonars and ROV, DOS were requested by the Malaysian shipbuilder Boustead Industries (Boustead Heavy Industries Corporation - BHIC) in June to provide their assets to the search for the lost Malaysia Air flight MH370.
DOS teamed with Ixblue who provide key high tech systems for DOS’s sonar and deep water vehicle positioning systems
The Malaysian Asset Committee report to BHIC on 25th June 14 concluded that the best commercial and technical offer seen by the ATSB was that of DOS/Ixblue
DOS’s ship SV John Lethbridge (JLB) was made available in July for the MH370 project
DOS/Ixblue are retained by the Malaysian Asset Committee on 6th July 2014 pending contract awardDOS’s ship SV John Lethbridge put on 1 week notice for a transit to Perth from Cape Town
DOS/Ixblue attend a meeting in Canberra hosted by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) on 6th August for an update on the search areas and to review DOS’s vessel and sonar capabilities
DOS/Ixblue confirmed that their vessel comes equipped with two full 30 kHz sonar units, plus an ROV permanently on board and that they may be able to offer the SAMS next generation sonar through Ixblue.
ATSB confirm in this meeting that they had no issues with the JLB or the sonar, stating that “every contractor will be required simply to undergo a vessel inspection carried out under AMSA (Australian Maritime Safety Authority) rules and a sonar test to prove its ability to locate a 2m cube target”.
ATSB stated that their greatest concern is one of “false certainty”, where an area has been mapped and declared free of the aircraft debris when in fact the area boundaries are wrong because of inaccurate sonar positioning and any target in the unmapped area will remain undetected as the search moves on to another zone.
In mid - August DOS carried out an AMSA vessel survey (by Lloyds) and the ATSB required sonar test. The sonar picked up the specified ATSB target (size 2m3) at a range of 1300m.
Later in August DOS / Ixblue understand that objections have been raised by ATSB to the MAC regarding the purported “lack of efficiency” of the JLB.
Up to the present time DOS / Ixblue have sought clarification from ATSB on their unfounded, inaccurate and strange assertions (without success) and have demonstrated that the JLB spread is much more efficient and more effective than any other vessel and system on site.
2. PARTICULARITIES OF THE DOS/IXBLUE SYSTEMS
The DOS MAK-iX Sonar is the result of a strategic partnership between DOS and Ixblue conducted through 5 years of research and development and has been the beta platform for the new Ixblue sonar products. These are the shallow water SAS Shadows and the deep tow SAS SAMS.
DOS’s unique ultra - deep towed side scan sonar can reach 6000m depth due to its 10km long opto-electric cable.
The very long range Posidonia USBL system coupled with a DVL - aided INS (Inertial Navigation System) offers extremely precise real time positioning of the tow fish with an absolute positional accuracy of under 20m (0.2% of the slant range).
The high dynamic response of the low frequency mode allows small artefact detection over a very large, 3000m, swath. The wide scanning range and live data visualization produces a large daily surface coverage (average 250km²) and instant interpretation and processing.
The 100 Khz high frequency mode provides a high level of quality optimised for target confirmation located during the 30 Khz survey. This is the specification and the philosophy of survey operations conducted by DOS; wide coverage capability followed by high frequency confirmation.
A specially designed release system allows the tow fish to be detached from its tow cable in case of emergency and tracked and recovered to the surface due to its positive buoyancy and location transmission system.
Sonar MAKiX Specifications
Using MAK-iX for MH370 search, this is a guarantee of:
- Twice the efficiency of the deep tow sonars (75khz) used by others which have a maximum swath width of 1500m only as against 3000m for the MAk-iX .
Ensuring high level detection even on small objects up to 2 cubic meters at around 1300m range
Real time positioning thanks to the state-of-the-art iXBlue tracking system which guarantees overlap and protects against “false certainty”
The DOS support vessel is permanently fitted with a 6000m depth rated ROV that allows for fast identification without a transit back to shore to re-equip in ROV mode.
The ROV Comanche 6000 is a deep sea, light work-class ROV specially designed by Sub-Atlantic and DOS. The deployment system features high-speed winch spooling of 6000m of cable.
The dedicated control-room video-desk can record multiple formats and process them for rendering to any professional standard.
ROV Comanche Specifications
DOS has built a highly experienced team over the last 10 years that is expert in undertaking daily operations in extreme depths.
The full team is managed and organized to handle all operations from seabed mapping to salvage works undertaken by ROV.
This strategy is quite different to the usual methods used in the subsea market where specialized people and tools are mobilized according to the precise scope of work.
DOS keeps all its knowledge & capacities permanently on board and offers a high capacity to react to unexpected situations that are usual in ultra‐deep water search and salvage operations.
DOS Team Information
3. MH370 FAQ.
MH370 Talking Points
4. DOS / IXBLUE SIDELINED
DOS/Ixblue were informed, verbally, in late August by the ATSB that the JLB was “not efficient” enough. The reasons given were sketchy, inaccurate and frankly incomprehensible.
DOS/Ixblue demonstrated through letters written to the ATSB that the JLB and systems are approximately 100% more efficient than the assets currently being employed. Any discussion has been refused by the ATSB.
Similar letters and responses were sent to and received from the JACC and the Australian deputy prime minister’s office.DOS/Ixblue remain perplexed as to why the most experienced team in the world, equipped with the most sophisticated and dedicated wreckage search and location system in the world have been excluded from this important project – to find this plane.
4. POSITION NOW
DOS/Ixblue have been ready since July and remain available to support the efforts of the Malaysian authorities. Discussions are on-going.