HMAS Mermaid tests new 3D technology on sunken minehunter

Full density colour image of HMAS Warrnambool on the ocean floor. Photo: Royal Australian Navy

Royal Australian Navy’s Survey Motor Launch HMAS Mermaid was recently conducting hydrographic survey work in Far North Queensland, Australia and visited the wreck of HMAS Warrnambol (I).

The Bathurst class minesweeper was clearing a mine-field in the Great Barrier Reef when on September 13, 1947 she struck a live mine and slowly sank. After resting on the seabed for 69 years, Warrnambool remains in remarkable condition and is now home to a variety of marine life.

Mermaid inspected the wreck while testing new real-time 3D positioning systems that have boosted the capability of the Royal Australian Navy’s Survey Motor Launch fleet.

Mermaid’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Geoff Lawes said the new technology represented a big change to the Navy’s hydrographic and mine warfare capabilities.

“As the images of Warrnambool demonstrate, we now have the ability to search for and classify seafloor objects with incredible accuracy,” Lieutenant Commander Geoff Lawes said.

Mermaid and her sister ships Paluma, Shepparton and Benalla along with Hydrographic Ships Leeuwin and Melville form the backbone of Australia’s national ocean-going hydrographic survey capability. Operating out of Cairns, in North Queensland, these ships conduct the majority of the survey work required to make the accurate nautical charts that all mariners use to safely navigate in Australian waters.

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