Havila Harmony is under long-term charter to Fugro and has excellent sea-keeping capabilities, providing a stable platform for operations in a wide range of weather conditions. Echo Surveyor VII was used earlier this year in search operations; when sea conditions deteriorated beyond limitations for the safe launch and recovery of the AUV, it was withdrawn.
The state-of-the-art AUV will again be used to scan the most difficult portions of the search area that cannot be searched as effectively by the deep tow systems on the other search vessels. The deepwater system is a Hugin 1000, specifically designed for high resolution and efficient survey operations in water depths to 4,500 metres. With a 75 kHz side scan sonar and a dual-head Kongsberg 2040 multibeam echosounder, its configuration is the same as the systems deployed from the other vessels in the search, the Fugro Discovery and Fugro Equator. The AUV is also equipped with an underwater camera.
After calibration trials off the coast of Fremantle, Havila Harmony and her international crew of 40 will head to the search area where she is expected to begin search operations on 3rd December.