The Magazine for Underwater Professionals
As part of an effort to unlock the secrets of HMS Erebus, Canada’s prime minister, Stephen Harper, has announced that Parks Canada and Royal Canadian Navy divers will join forces for Operation NUNALIVUT.
The divers will conduct approximately 11 days of intense ice diving and underwater archaeology during April.
The Prime Minister made the announcement at a special event held at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto to celebrate last summer’s discovery of HMS Erebus, one of two ill-fated Franklin Expedition ships lost in 1846. He was representing the Canadian government at the event to receive the Erebus Medal – a one-time honour awarded by The Royal Canadian Geographical Society – for contributions to, and support for, the 2014 Victoria Strait Expedition which led to the discovery of HMS Erebus.
Operation NUNALIVUT allows the Canadian Armed Forces to provide meaningful support to scientific research in the Arctic, and to demonstrate interoperability in the High Arctic with military allies and other Canadian government institutions.
“Operation NUNALIVUT will showcase to the world the extraordinary abilities of Canadian Armed Forces ice divers and Parks Canada’s underwater archaeologists. I wish all participants the best as they embark on winter dives beneath the Arctic ice to learn more about HMS Erebus,” Harper said.
HMS Erebus was a Hecla-class bomb vessel constructed in 1826. The vessel was named after the dark region in Hades of Greek mythology called Erebus.
Inspection, maintenance and repair (IMR) specialist N-Sea UK reports it has utilised the world’s first “wet repair habitat” to complete an in situ subsea cable repair.
The habitat was developed by Moyle Interconnector Ltd, UK, as part of the seabed repair project, with ESB International, Ireland, the owner’s engineer for the project. The habitat allows repairs to be implemented in situ below sea level, as opposed to the conventional method of recovering the subsea cable prior to repair.
The unique diving scope was performed as part of a Moyle Interconnector project to carry out the repair on the Moyle Interconnector cable, a 500-megawatt HVDC electrical interconnector, in the Irish Sea.
The interconnector cable links the electricity grids of Northern Ireland and Great Britain through submarine cables running between converter stations at Ballycronan More in Islandmagee, County Antrim, and Auchencrosh in Ayrshire. The fault area was located approximately 2.5 kilometres from the Scottish coast and submerged between one and three metres below the seabed, in approximately 25 metres of water.
N-Sea chief executive officer Gerard Keser said: “The principle employed by ESB International is based on an incubator design which surrounds the cable section whilst providing a dry and conditioned repair option. We deployed our TUP Diving System along with one of our subsea support vessels, the Siem N-Sea, which allowed the cable to be repaired in its current position.”
Keser said N-Sea’s TUP Diving System, a closed bell diving system, was key to the project, providing safer operations and longer bottom times in comparison to other surface supplied diving techniques. Due to the efficient work process, this diving scope was completed within one month, he said.
Keser added: “We are proud to have been involved in this innovative project which truly showcases the capabilities of N-Sea and our products. We continually strive to spot and deploy pioneering technology for our clients in the offshore subsea industry, and are delighted that we have provided an efficient and effective solution for subsea repair challenges.”