Dutch company Fugro has been selected to chart the waters of South Australia’s Gulf St Vincent and Investigator Strait as part of the Australian Government’s HydroScheme Industry Partnership Program (HIPP).
The 998-square-kilometre survey will be conducted on behalf of the Australian Hydrographic Office (AHO) that will use the data to update nautical charts for safer navigation. Data will also be shared with scientific agencies, including Geoscience Australia and the national AusSeabed community.
The area within Gulf St Vincent and Investigator Strait is the major waterway for the approach to Port Adelaide. It features adjacent marine parks and habitat protection zones of national significance.
Fugro will deploy a new uncrewed surface vessel (USV), Fugro’s Autonomous Surveyor-900 (FAS-900), which will expedite data collection. This is the first time this technology has been deployed in Australia for the AHO and demonstrates the innovations being developed to improve the safety and efficiency of data collection in the marine estate.
Fugro will also utilise other technologies developed in Australia, including remote operations centres (ROCs) and Back2Base™ data transfers to achieve significant environmental, safety and efficiency gains.
“Fugro is proud to be supporting the AHO as part of the HIPP,” said Mark Sinclair, Director of Hydrography for Fugro in Asia-Pacific.
Sinclair explained, “Long-term strategic partnerships help support innovation, such as our USV for faster data acquisition, and contribute to developing an enduring national hydrographic industry.”
The nautical charts of Gulf St Vincent and Investigator Strait support marine traffic, fishing, tourism, recreational boating and environmental management. The charts currently consist of historical data of varying reliability, with some going as far back as Matthew Flinders and Nicolas Baudin in the early 1800s.
As part of the hydrographic survey, Fugro will also deploy a number of tide gauges and current meters to improve understanding of the gulf’s oceanography and support the development of an accurate tide model for future vessel traffic and resolve known tide datum anomalies in this complex region.