A new multibeam echo sounder has just been fitted on the RV Celtic Voyager. The Kongsberg Simrad EM 3002 was purchased by the Marine Institute for the INFOMAR(INtegrated Mapping FOr the Sustainable Development of Ireland’s MARine Resources) programme, a joint programme between the Marine Institute and the Geological Survey of Ireland with the aim to map Ireland’s inshore waters. The project will cover some 125,000 square kilometres of underwater territory, and produce integrated mapping products covering the physical, chemical and biological features of the seabed.
The EM 3002 is a high performance shallow water multibeam echo sounder, and will be used for detailed seafloor mapping in waters of less than 200 m depth.
While “normal” (single-beam) echo sounders calculate the depth in a point below the vessel by measuring the travel time of a sound signal to the seabed and back to the ship, multibeam echo sounders send out many sound beams in a fan shape across the ship’s track. This way a whole swath of the seafloor can be covered for each passing of the ship.
The new multibeam was installed by P&O and Marine Institute technicians during a short break in the RV Celtic Voyager’s schedule. The vessel was drydocked on Wednesday May the 16th 2007 at the Department of Communications Marine and Natural Resources' synchrolift facility in Killybegs and returned to the water on schedule on Monday the 21st May 2007. Engineering support was provided by Mooney Boats Ltd.
The system will be initially trialled in Galway Bay in early June, and taken into operation fully during the Infomar cruises this summer, following full commissioning by Simrad engineers.