Gulf of Mexico

DETECTING AND TRACKING natural oil Seeps

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MISSION DESCRIPTION

Saildrone worked with the ECOGIG consortium to locate natural oil seeps in the Gulf of Mexico and then adaptively sample inside and outside the seep areas.

The objective was to understand the impact of natural seepage versus that of abrupt large hydrocarbon inputs on deepwater ecosystems. This effort is part of understanding long-term effects and mechanisms of ecosystem recovery from the Deepwater Horizon accident.

One Saildrone Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV), SD 125, deployed out of Cocodrie, LA through a dense oil platform field to a seep 200 nautical miles (NM) offshore. After successfully locating the seep, confirmed by an overflight, SD 125 surveyed the area for three weeks and then sailed back to its base after 1 month and approximately 1500 NM of autonomous deployment.

The Gulf of Mexico is an incredibly congested area with thousands of oil platforms and many more supply ships tending these platforms. This was one of many missions completed by Saildrone USVs in the Gulf of Mexico, demonstrating safe and precise piloting in one of the most challenging environments.

TIMEFRAME

2015

FURTHER READING

ECOGIG RESEARCHERS OBSERVE AND DETECT OIL SLICKS IN THE GULF OF MEXICO USING SAILDRONE

SCIENCE PUBLICATION >

Track of SD 125 during the 2015 Gulf of Mexico mission with ECOGIG.

Saildrone 125 being deployed from Cocodrie LA, carrying the Remote Optical Watcher (ROW) device from LDI, that detects oil by using it's natural fluorescence.

Saildrone USV navigating through heavily congested waters in the Gulf of Mexico.