Kilo Battles Dorian in the North Sea - and Wins!


In the spring of 2019, as part of the EU’s Joint Monitoring Programme for Ambient Noise in the North Sea (JOMOPANS), Dr. Jakob Tougaard and his team from Denmark’s Aarhus University, sailed out into the North Sea to deploy a sub-sea mooring equipped with sophisticated ocean acoustic instruments and recording devices.

The team successfully deployed the instrument package to the seafloor and planned on returning 3 weeks later to recover the instruments and the recorded data. Unfortunately, as is often the case in harsh, energetic and unpredictable environments like the North Sea, Mother Nature had other plans. For unknown reasons (Mother Nature isn’t talking), the mooring lines snapped and the package surfaced unexpectedly. Luckily, Jakob had the foresight to include a Kilo Iridium satellite locator beacon on the package, and therefore was alerted of the ‘new plan’ immediately.

The Kilo made use of the bi-directional, global, real time Iridium Satellite Short Burst Data (SBD) network in combination with GPS position location to enable the team to scramble a recovery plan. Dr. Tougaard tracked the unit the rest of the day, and was able to organize a recovery mission the following day with a search and rescue boat from Hvide Sande on the Danish west coast. Thanks to the combination of the near real-time positions provided by the Kilo beacon, and the exceptional skills of the experienced crew, they were able to find the unit within minutes of arriving at the indicated location, despite the post hurricane Dorian swell and 40 km/h winds.

Kilo after hurrican Dorian
Kilo in the water viewed from a boat

“Thanks to the Kilo, we were able to recover the instrument package safely a day after it broke loose from its mooring. It is a pleasure to work with equipment that does what it is supposed to do!” - Dr. Tougaard, Aarhus University

More about JOMOPANS

The Joint Monitoring Programme for Ambient Noise in the North Sea is developing a framework for coordinated monitoring of underwater noise in the North Sea, as part of fulfilling requirements of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

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