On January 19 2011 the UK's iconic research robot submarine Isis was involved in an accident that significantly damaged the vehicle. The loss of this important Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) was both shocking and devastating for the UK marine science community which had come to rely upon and appreciate the huge scientific rewards that this amazing deep diving vehicle can offer. 
Once funding from the Natural Environment Research Council was approved in June 2011, it was a race against time to resurrect Isis to meet her demanding schedule.

This is the story of the first real test of the rebuilt Isis on its continuing quest to unlock the mysteries of the deep.


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National Marine Facilities Sea Systems

The National Marine Facilities (NMF) Sea Systems team at the National Oceanography Centre supports a range of equipment that is available for use by the whole of the NERC-funded marine science community.

The NMF Deep Platforms Group, that participated in cruise JC076T, supports a range of equipment, including the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Isis and the Towed Ocean Bottom Instruments called TOBI.   These vehicles are used to explore some of the deepest and most inhospitable places in the ocean.

When oceanographic research equipment is new or has undergone development or enhancements, it must be tested at sea before it can be used on a research cruise.   In the case of cruise JC076T, we needed to test Isis after her substantial rebuild following the accident in January 2011.

Other objectives achieved during the cruise included testing the operation and functionality of TOBI2 and testing a Kongsberg AP2008 Adaptive auto pilot which had recently been fitted to the ship.   The crew also undertook some Dynamic Positioning system training.   Dynamic Positioning (DP) is the facility that enables the RRS James Cook to remain very stable, whilst on station.

Our team was also able to help out our glider team as some of the NOC gliders needed recovery and redeployment.

Although not a science cruise, the ROV team used the trial dives of Isis to collect some biological and sediment core samples, enabling our two scientists on board, to further their research.