Coastal Platform & ROV
Through funding from the Department of Science and Technology (DST) ACEP has built up a marine research platform comprised of state of the art equipment. ACEP makes available and facilitates the use of this equipment among partnering researchers and institutions from around South Africa.
The platform is comprised of a 13m Research Vessel, a Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV), a CTD, and other specialised oceanographic and biological sampling equipment as well as the skilled personnel required to operate much of the equipment.
uKwabelana – 13m Research Vessel
This 13m Category B Lee-Cat, propelled by 2 x 300hp Suzuki Outboards, has ample deck space and is fully equipped for overnight trips. It can carry up to 11 scientists and sleep up to five. Specialised equipment on the vessel includes:
- Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) to measure ocean currents
- Integrated GPS Echo-sounder to map the seafloor
- Davit and winch system to launch and retrieve scientific instruments
- ROV station
- CTD station
With a range of approximately 200 nautical miles and a cruising speed of 20 knots marine scientists are afforded the ability to sample the entire coastal ecosystem (physical oceanography, marine geology, phytoplankton, zooplankton, infauna, fish, marine mammals and birds) from near-shore to past the continental shelf.
The vessel is stationed in Port Elizabeth harbour and works mostly in and around Algoa Bay, however, if individual projects require, the vessel can be mobilised to other locations.
The most frequent users of the vessel who use her on a monthly basis for long term monitoring programmes and equipment servicing while others require less frequent or once off use. Some of the projects include:
- SAEON Continuous Monitoring Platform - Tommy Bornman.
- SAEON Phytoplankton of Algoa Bay - Eileen Campbell and Tommy Bornman.
- SAEON Larval fish of Algoa Bay - Paula Patrick
- SAEON Zooplankton studies in Algoa Bay - Shaun Deyzel
- SAEON MPA biodiversity studies in the Tsitsikamma National Park - Albrecht Gotz
- SAIAB Acoustic Telemetry Array Platform (including OTN) - Paul Cowley
- ACEP Great White Shark Tagging - Malcolm Smale and Matt Dicken
- ACEP Bentho-pelagic Studies - Francesca Porri
- ACEP Phuhlisa Programme – various projects
ROV – SAAB Seaeye Falcon 12177
The ROV has open up a new door to marine science in South Africa by providing the capability to explore depths not accessible to divers down to a depth of 250m. This observation/small work class ROV can be operated from a small Research Vessel such as uKwabelana as well as from larger platforms. It is the perfect tool for deep-water benthic surveys, exploration and limited benthic invertebrate collections. It is equipped with the following:
- High Definition colour camera with laser scaling and zoom
- 12MP stills camera
- Low light black and white camera
- LED and HID lights
- Falcon Manipsys 1000 tooling skid Manipulator system – 5 function manipulator arm
- Tritech Super SeaKing DFS Sonar system
- TrackLink 1500 USBL tracking system
To date the ROV has been used on the following projects:
- Benthic surveys of reef and invertebrate collections in Tsitsikamma National Park - Albrecht Gotz, Anthony Bernard and Elodie Heyns
- Benthic surveys of reef of Rye Banks (Algoa Bay) - Albrecht Gotz
- Benthic surveys of Alphard Banks - Albrecht Gotz and Sven Kerwarth
- Benthic surveys of reefs in Sodwana Bay - Reece Wartenberg and Tony Booth
- Coelacanth Exploration in Jesser Canyon (Sodwana Bay) – ACEP
- Canyon surveys in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park – Gombessa Expedition
To find out about using uKwabelana please contact Ryan Palmer on firstname.lastname@example.org or 046 603 5872.