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Tangaroa heads for dry dock

Tangaroa heads for dry dock

NIWA’s flagship research vessel Tangaroa has this week gone into dry dock for extensive maintenance.

Work on the vessel is taking place for the next few weeks at Devonport Naval Base in Auckland.

This is the first time Tangaroa has been lifted out of the water since she had a major refit in Singapore in 2010.

NIWA vessel operations general manager Greg Foothead described the dry docking as a full service during which Tangaroa’s hull will be inspected, repairs carried out and repainted.

“This type of maintenance happens about every three years but this time we are also fitting a new $1m sub-bottom profiler which will improve data quality and operate in a wider range of sea conditions than our current model.”

The sub-bottom profiler is used to identify and characterise marine sediment layers up to 200m below the sea bed and will be mounted in a pod off the hull.

Data generated by the new system, known as the TOPAS PS 18, can be used for such things studying active faults, substrate identification for habitat work, hard-ground identification and canyon studies.

While Tangaroa is in dry dock, NIWA is also taking the opportunity to engineer deck space to enable the launch and recovery of automated and remote underwater vehicles commonly called AUVs and ROVs.

These vehicles enable closer inspection and sampling of the sea bed. Other minor works will include upgrade of the onboard chiller where stores are kept, and a new scientific freezer is also being installed. Major work is also being carried out on the ventilation

Mr Foothead said Tangaroa will return to Wellington on 15 July with trials on the new equipment being carried out en route. She then heads into the Tasman Sea for a voyage chartered by GNS Science.


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