The University of Hawai‘i at Manoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology recently held a ceremony to name and launch operations on a new remotely operated vehicle (ROV) that will extend its vertical reach to 6,000 meters, or over 3 miles, in depth for ocean exploration in the state and throughout the Pacific Basin.
The Lu‘ukai, meaning “sea diver,” will complement the capabilities of the existing fleet of UH-manned, remotely operated and autonomous underwater vehicles.
After several successful shore-based tests, a traditional Hawaiian blessing and naming ceremony took place on Friday, October 18, 2013, at the UH Marine Center. Kahu Kekoa of Kamehameha Schools invoked the mana of all people present to tie the name Lu‘ukai to the vehicle. Now, the Lu‘ukai is going on her maiden voyage on the R/V Kilo Moana for further testing before being opened up for scientific use.
DOER (Deep Ocean Exploration and Research) Marine designed and constructed the Lu‘ukai for maximum maneuverability and mission flexibility. It will support operations at the ALOHA Cabled Observatory (ACO) and provide submersible capability for research on the two large UH research vessels, the R/V Ka‘imikai-O-Kanaloa and R/V Kilo Moana. Equipped with manipulator arms, lights, sonar, and high definition still and video cameras, the ROV has the ability to collect specimens; characterize substrates on the seafloor; capture video and still images of activities and surveys; monitor water column properties; install, connect and test seafloor equipment; and perform other specialized tasks.
“This new capability for deep ocean exploration has been made possible through the scientists and engineers at HURL and throughout SOEST, working together with DOER Marine, to make the Lu‘ukai a reality,” said Sandy Shor, Associate Dean for Research at SOEST. “It’s been exciting to see how they have addressed the science requirements and the engineering challenges. It’s truly been a team effort.”
The Hawai‘i Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL), which already maintains two deep-diving manned submersibles, the Pisces IV and Pisces V, will play a large role, along with other SOEST personnel, in maintaining and operating the Lu‘ukai. SOEST researchers will embark on the ROV’s first scientific mission on December 2, 2013, to add new capabilities to SOEST’s Aloha Cabled Observatory.
Press Release, October 23, 2013