Okeanus Winch Completes Antarctic Field Season
Okeanus Science & Technology, LLC (Okeanus), an established provider of turnkey marine survey systems and oceanographic equipment, today revealed details of the first season-long deployment of a custom Okeanus ECO2000 winch which was commissioned by the Antarctic Science Platform to support the study of ice dynamics at the Kamb Ice Stream camp on the Siple Coast of Antarctica.
The Okeanus ECO2000 was chosen by Antarctic Science Platform—a $49 million research program funded by New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment—to support ongoing research into Antarctica's impact on the global earth system, and ultimately understand how this might change in a warmer world.
Most recently, the Okeanus ECO2000 played a central role in Project-1 ‘Antarctic Ice Dynamics’, and more specifically the deployment of a new hot water drilling technology designed to grant researchers access to previous records of ice sheet dynamics in West Antarctica. The winch was initially used to set the well-pump assembly, a critical component of the drill system, at a depth of 115 meters below the surface. Once the drill hole was open, the electric-drive winch was able to lower sampling instrumentation—including a gravity corer, a hammer corer, a geothermal probe, and a Niskin bottle for water sampling—through 500 meters of the Ross Ice Shelf and to depths of 240 meters below the ocean surface.
“Attempting precise and efficient sampling in Antarctic conditions not only relies on robust hardware, but also dependable equipment that affords operators a certain degree of dexterity and flexibility in the field,” explained Darcy Mandeno. “Not only did the ECO 2000 prove instrumental to a wide range of day-to-day tasks but the ability to control the winch remotely—effectively giving us the opportunity to observe what was happening ‘down the hole’ in real time—was a genuine breakthrough in terms of operational efficiency and HSSE mitigation.”
"While the standard Okeanus ECO2000 is designed for a variety of oceanographic applications such as water sample profiling, CTD, towing, bottom grab sampling and other such operations, Antarctic Science Platform’s model called for Okeanus engineers to adapt the design to withstand the hostile conditions found in the Antarctic, including exchange of appropriately rated components and materials and a custom built electrical panel fit for the extreme cold.
We were delighted to hear that the Okeanus ECO2000 was able to perform as designed in one of the most challenging field environments on the planet,” said Okeanus Chief Commercial Officer Benton LeBlanc. “This ongoing body of research is critical to garnering a data-led understanding of how a receding Antarctica—the largest reservoir of freshwater on the planet—could potentially contribute to sea level rise and disrupt global ocean circulation, so the team at Okeanus is enormously proud to be part of this important scientific initiative.