OceanWorks International has been awarded phases 1 and 2 of a 3 phase contract by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) to assist with the re-certification of life support systems on the Deep Submergence Vehicle Alvin (DSV Alvin). Certification for manned diving operations will be provided under the authority of the U.S. Navy’s Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) and the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS).
The DSV Alvin is currently midway through the Alvin Upgrade Project, including a refit of the vehicle and a new titanium personnel sphere that will eventually enable the DSV Alvin to dive to depths of 6,500 meters with dive durations up to 12 hours. OceanWorks International will use their substantial experience with manned submersible design and certification in the execution of this consulting contract.
The main focus will be on the Oxygen Systems, CO2 Removal Systems, and the associated calculations and models necessary to demonstrate the highest level of safety and performance.
The Phase 3 option would involve consulting and assistance with the development of a complete certification submission package to both certifying authorities that demonstrates that the systems meet or exceed the very stringent requirements mandated by NAVSEA SS800-AG-MAN-010/P-9290 rev A System Certification Procedures and Criteria Manual for Deep Submergence Systems and the ABS Rules for Underwater Vehicles.
“OceanWorks is very happy to be working with WHOI on this project,” stated Rod Stanley, CEO of OceanWorks International. “OceanWorks has worked diligently to put in place comprehensive systems and procedures aimed at satisfying the very same certification requirements being addressed by WHOI in their latest DSV Alvin refit. We believe that our participation in this contract will help benefit WHOI and the scientific community at large.”
The DSV Alvin, owned by the U.S. Navy and operated by WHOI, is perhaps the world’s most well known manned deep submergence vehicle. Originally built in 1964 it has made 4,664 dives to date and has facilitated countless scientific discoveries. The submersible’s most famous exploits include locating a lost hydrogen bomb in the Mediterranean sea in 1966, exploring the first known hydrothermal vent sites in 1977, and surveying the wreck of the RMS Titanic in 1986. Though it is one of the world’s oldest research submersibles, DSV Alvin remains state-of-the-art due to numerous refits and upgrades made over the years.
“The fact that OceanWorks have themselves been involved in certifying multiple systems to the requirements governed by both NAVSEA and ABS means that they are a natural choice to be added to our project team. Their lessons learned through previous projects involving these types of systems will assist us greatly in the execution of this refit,” stated Kurt Uetz, the DSV Alvin Upgrade Project Manager for WHOI.
Subsea World News Staff , April 30, 2012; Image: OceanWorks