Hybrid ROV system development moves ahead

Mentor Subsea Technology Services Inc., a subsidiary of J. Ray McDermott SA, and International Submarine Engineering Ltd. (ISE), Friday laid out plans for the development of a prototype unmanned semisubmersible system called SAILARS, designed to launch and recover high-spec remotely operated vessels for a range of subsea intervention work. SAILARS is a hybrid autonomous underwater vehicle/remote operated vessels system that can operate and provide power for 50-150 hp work-class ROVs.

Jan 26th, 2001


Mentor Subsea Technology Services Inc., a subsidiary of J. Ray McDermott SA, and International Submarine Engineering Ltd. (ISE), Friday laid out plans for the development of a prototype unmanned semisubmersible system called SAILARS, designed to launch and recover high-spec remotely operated vessels for a range of subsea intervention work.

SAILARS, an acronym for Semi-Autonomous Intervention, Launch, and Recovery System, is a hybrid autonomous underwater vehicle/remote operated vessel (AUV/ROV) system that can operate and provide power for 50-150 hp work-class ROVs. The system can accommodate "a variety of existing ROVs without modification" and function in wave heights up to Sea State 6 as far as 15 miles from the controlling offshore platform."

"Compared to the fully submersible AUV in the hybrid role, the semisubmersible SAILARS can provide much higher levels of endurance and power to the ROV, a continuous ability to transmit high-bandwidth ROV data to the controlling platform and more accurate positioning," said ISE Vice-Pres. of Development James Ferguson.

He noted that SAILARS works free of infrastructural support from offshore platforms, meaning it can be used on installations other than just those with specially built ROV facilities.

Lee Taylor, division manager for technology products for J. Ray McDermott, added: "The increased hydrocarbon production in deepwater is also increasing the complexity and intervention of subsea systems. SAILARS can reduce costs and risks associated with maintaining seabed intervention at offshore locations."

Taylor said that advances in information technology, increased capacity of solid state electronics, and reliability of remote control systems have helped to give rise to a new generation of ROVs that make remote deployment practical and safe.

Among the system's uses, he said, were inspection, repair, and maintenance of communications cables, subsea pipelines, wellheads, manifolds, and other seabed infrastructure.

Development of SAILARS, which began in 1999, will continue through a cofunded program between Houston-based Mentor and Vancouver-based ISE with the aim of testing a prototype system in 2003.

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