At the end of 2013 Gardline Environmental Limited, part of the marine specialists Gardline Marine Sciences Limited, through WAW International, were awarded a contract to undertake Environmental and MetOcean surveys in South Eastern Mediterranean by BP.
Gardline’s survey vessel, the M/V Ocean Observer, mobilised in Malta just before Christmas in order to complete a 25 day environmental survey program and MetOcean string deployment. The successfully completed program included a variety of environmental sampling tools including the use of the ROBIO lander, provided by Oceanlab Aberdeen, in water depths ranging between 600 and 2,200m. The survey was hit with worse weather than anticipated, but Gardline was able to complete the work program, with zero HSE incidents, within 45 days.
The aim of the survey was to establish a detailed understanding of the water column and surface seabed sediments, to investigate the biodiversity of the area and establish environmental baseline conditions. With data acquisition now complete, Gardline have begun the complex and detailed task of interpreting and analysing all of the data acquired.
With regards to the biology and physicochemical characteristics, the survey included:
- Time lapse images taken on the sea bed for 24 hours by the ROBIO lander at a number of locations across the survey area;
- Spot point seabed imagery via Gardline’s deep water drop down camera system (collecting approximately 10,000 images);
- Discrete water samples and detailed water column profiles using a multi-parameter CTD and 12 bottle rosette water sampler;
- Sediment samples by means of a megacorer for subsequent meiofaunal and physiochemical analysis;
- Piston cores.
The MetOcean investigation will continue for a year in total and consists of two oceanographic strings which have been deployed at two discrete locations within the deep water survey area. The strings will profile the currents through the entire water column and help to reinforce the current oceanographic models used for the area.
Gardline Environmental Limited’s Business Manager Katie Cross, commented on being awarded the contract: “We were delighted to be involved with BP collecting marine Environmental data in what is a scientifically unknown area using equipment which is at the forefront of marine environmental research.”
BP’s Project Manager Tim Jackson said of Gardline’s involvement with the project “Gardline’s work will enable us to describe the current state of the environment and provide a baseline against which future change might be gauged. This understanding will represent significant progress in our Libya offshore exploration work and will be shared with the National Oceanographic Centre to further understanding of that part of the Mediterranean.”