Bound for tasks at the southernmost tip of Chile, Chilean diving and ROV operator, Nautilus, has added a Falcon ROV to its Saab Seaeye fleet of ROVs.
Francisco Ayarza, who founded Nautilus in 1959, bought his first Seaeye ROV in 1991 – and it is still in operation today, some 22 years later. Then he added a Boxer and aTiger, and continues to expand his fleet with the top-selling Falcon.
It will be deployed throughout the Magellan Strait - the important navigational channel between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans – also further afield in the South Atlantic and Antarctica where some of the most hostile environments in the world can be found.
Missions will range from offshore support for the Chilean and Argentinean oil industries, wreck exploration and marine science studies amongst the reefs and waters of the region.
The Falcon will also examine salmon fishery production centers and inspect wastewater outflow pipelines, outside as well as inside.
Nautilus has already deployed the Tiger for work at the marine wastewater outfall at Puerto Montt city, where it assisted in severing an800 mm diameter outfall line at 130 meters depth by positioning a tungsten steel cutting wire and monitoring the process throughout.
Francisco Ayarza chose the Falcon for its versatility. It small and light enough to be manhandled overboard, even from a small boat. Although it has the power to operate a wide range of robust tooling and sensors for oil industry work with plug-and-go simplicity, it has a delicate touch that can collect fragile samples for marine science studies and carefully remove artefacts from wrecks.
Five powerful multi-directional thrusters with velocity feedback drive the Falcon’s fingertip maneuverability and keep the vehicle steady, even in strong crosscurrents, whilst undertaking precision tasks or filming.
Nautilus’ 300-meter-rated Falcon comes with manipulator and rope cutter, front and back facing cameras, an Imagenex sonar, altimeter, cathodic probe and cleaning brush.
For diver safety, Francisco Ayarza particularly welcomes the benefits of deploying the Falcon and his other Saab Seaeye ROVs as diver support vehicles.
Not only can they undertake work considered too hazardous for divers, if a diver must go down the ROV can keep a watchful eye over them.
Valuable dive time can also be saved by first sending down the ROV to locate the dive site and preview the area for hazards, before allowing the diver to swim directly and safely to the point of interest. The ROV can also save diver time by transporting tools and objects back and forth to the surface.
The region can be a particularly cold and hazardous place in which to operate, even though the Magellan Strait is an attractive area rich in marine life that includes humpback wales, leopard seals, dolphins, penguins and albatross colonies.
This sea life shares the Strait with many large vessels navigating through it and which call upon Nautilus for hull inspection and survey work – a role ideally suited for the company’s ROVs, now including the Falcon.