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Operational modes

MARUM-QUEST Launch and Recovery

MARUM-QUEST is generally operated in free flying (or "live boating") mode, which means there is a direct connection between the steel armoured umbilical cable, the vehicle and the winch. Thus, the vehicle has to be capable of pulling a certain part of the cable to gain spatial freedom when deployed. In order to achieve this capability, 10 - 12 float units are manually attached to the umbilical during deployment, reducing cable weight to become neutrally buoyant some 20 m behind the vehicle.

Deployment and recovery are both carried out in close cooperation between MARUM-QUEST team members and ship's crew. In general, 2 pilots fly the vehicle, a deck supervisor advises pilots while the vehicle is at the surface, and the ship's crew handles the heavy load equipment such as ship's lifting winches and A-frame, and of course provides a precise vessel navigation. Typically, the vessel's aft deck will be closed to anybody not involved into the deployment/recovery procedures.

Launch and recovery requires increased working personnel from all parties, including scientists, ship's crew and ROV team. Thus, it is appreciated if launch and recovery procedures are planned at times where the majority of the required personnel are already on their feet. 08:00, 12:00, 16:00 and 20:00 have proven to be best for the usual watch cycles german vessels operate under.

Diving operations and turn-around times

12-hour diving operations on a routine daily schedule are performed during daytime, preferrably between 08:00 and 20:00. Prior to any dive, a 2 hour pre-dive check is carried out by the ROV team to ensure all systems are operating. After the dives, a 2 hour post-dive check is necessary to recover the vehicle entirely from its operational state.

During 12h operational mode, the turn around between dives is 12 hours, including recovery time for the MARUM-QUEST crew. More time is needed if any adaptions for the next dive are planned, or if any technical issues occured and have to be solved. A shorter turn-around may be on exception be considered if previous dives were substantially shorter than 12 hours AND the turn around happens during daytime.

Continuous 24-hour diving operations can only be performed when applied for during cruise preparation prior to the coordinative meeting, since the MARUM-QUEST crew has to be increased (see personnel requirements below) and a shift system has to be run during the major part of the expedition. This mode allows long dives, and a continuos dive/repair cycle in case technical issues do occur.

The minimum turn-around time during 24 hour operation is 6 hours, assuming there are no major setup changes or any technical issues.

Personnel Requirements

Depending on the operational mode of 12 hour or 24 hour diving, the MARUM-QUEST team will consist of 8 or 9 crew members, respectively.
The following positions are defined during operation:

Position MARUM-QUEST Crew needed 12h (2x6h shift) 24h (6x4h shift)
Pilot 1 x x
Co-Pilot 1 x x
Winch 1 x x
Administration/Standby 1 x -


In addition, the following scientific positions are to be filled during dive operation:
PositionScience Crew neededWorkspace
Sci. dive leader1Control van
Protocol writer1Control van
Navigator (GIS)1Lab
Observerany numberLab

Deck footprint and vessel interfacing

The complete MARUM-QUEST system fits into 4 x 20' ISO Containers, a total of 45 t equipment including the containers. On the vessel's main workdeck, the following installations are necessary:

Item Footprint Weight Comment
MARUM-QUEST vehicle ca. 3.5 x 2 m ca. 3.5 t main deck
Umbilical Winch ca. 4.5 x 2 m ca. 13.4 t main deck, 90° to ship axis
Control van ISO 20' twistlock raster ca. 10 t main deck, close to vehicle
Workshop van ISO 20' twistlock raster ca. 11 t main deck
ROV transport van ISO 20' twistlock raster ca. 2.5 t empty or storage space
Winch transport van ISO 20' twistlock raster ca. 2.5 t empty or storage space
LARS modular length 1.5 - 4 m ca. 1 t mounted in A-Frame
Power Cables 2 x 50m main power, 2 x CEE 32/63 A ca. 1.5 t installed on Deck
Umbilical Block ca. 1 m diam. ca. 0.1 t mounted in A-Frame


Electrical interconnection to the vessel is needed for power, data and video transmission. No hydraulic interfacing is used. Typically, the following connections will be installed (updated April 2012):
Function Specification Cable and Terminatioin Comment
ROV system power 400VAC 50Hz, 250A switch 4x95 mm2 to M12 ring terminals main propulsion power, max 180A
Winch power 400VAC 50Hz, 250A switch 4x95 mm2 to M12 ring terminals main winch power, max 150A
Control van power 400VAC 50Hz, 63A Standard CEE (3P+N+PE) 5x63A stabilized, for computers, lights and AC, max 45A
Workshop van power 400VAC 50Hz, 32A Standard CEE (3P+N+PE) 5x32A non-stabilized, for lights, heater, tools, max 32A
Ethernet 10/100/1000 Mbit CAT 5, RJ45 connect to ship's network
Video distribution 1920 x 1080p HDMI signal CAT 5/7, RJ45 or SC MM Fibre, or network stream via IP tiled subsea video signal distributed to labs
HDTV distribution HD-SDI SMTP292M BNC, special HDTV coax cable 1 single cable to Lab HDTV display (DVI-D)
USBL sync +5V/0V TTL-signal BNC / RJ45, CAT5 Posidonia or equiv. USBL electrical Trigger signal
Telephone - RJ 11 or custom Telephone to ship bridge, labs, cabins
Intercom custom custom open science talk between van and lab