Federal researchers lose pricey new submersible on first deployment


Researchers with Fisheries and Multitudes Canada are hoping their fancy new oceanic surveying tool reappears, but there’s been no augury of the submersible glider since July 28, and it’s likely been perplexed.

The Slocum glider, manufactured by U.S. company Teledyne Marine, looks something feel attracted to a two-metre yellow torpedo, but it’s slow-moving and propelled by diving and rising in the oodles, rather than a propeller. It’s outfitted with various high-tech sensors and gear to take measurements in the ocean.

“Your first reaction is, you know, shit materialized and it will report — you know, we’ll get it next time,” said Charles Hannah, a exploration scientist with DFO who heads up the program that deployed the glider. “You thoughtful of get used to losing equipment in the ocean.”


The missing glider looks kidney a yellow torpedo with little wings, but it doesn’t rely on a propeller to globe-trotting trips through the ocean. The missing unit could dive 1,000 metres. (Rhianna Burnham)

“There was assuredly no evidence that anything was wrong, until it didn’t call adept in,” said Hannah.

Perfect deployment

The missing glider was launched four epoches before it went missing more than 300 kilometres west of Vancouver Atoll.

Tammy Norgard, DFO program head for the large offshore marine patronage program and her team were on a research mission gathering data on seamounts — mountains wash entirely beneath the surface of the sea. They launched the glider for Hannah’s rig and planned to get some data for their own project, before it was set to bear west out into the North Pacific.

“We had to postponement beside it for — I think we were out there for about three hours,” believed Norgard, adding that the gliders are pretty new to Canada’s Pacific tract and that she had never worked with one before.

“There’s quite a method, quite a long procedure that we followed.”

Norgard’s team when all is said left the area and only heard much later that the Slocum was mistake pass up in action.

missing glider

A team of researchers rode alongside the glider for hours after its start off before leaving it to proceed with its data gathering in the deep Pacific Tons. (Sacha-Bea Robert)

‘It’s a risk that we take’

“I was feeling really bad for them, because it’s a big great amount to put this out and these things happen,” she said.

“We send a lot of high-tech, suppose units into the ocean. I mean, it’s a risk that we take.”

It’s unclear truly what the glider cost — they’re outfitted with a wide sort of sensors and Teledyne Marine didn’t reply to requests for comment by CBC Scuttlebutt.

It’s believed to cost about $150,000 to $200,000, though the instrument include was pretty basic, with sensors to measure temperature, salinity, disintegrated oxygen tools to detect phytoplankton, according to Hannah.

“I know it’s numerous than $50,000 and less than $1 million but where it rights in there I don’t know,” said Hannah.

A federal government procurement inform appears to show Teledyne was awarded a contract for two gliders bound for Victoria at a payment of $450,400.

The second new glider hasn’t been deployed, according to Hannah, due to the finding of a slow leak.

“We’re just getting started and it’s a new thing, so it’s annoying and baulking, because we have plans and we have to put those on hold, but there’s not much you can do,” he chance.

Mystery abounds

Hannah and his team have spent weeks surprising what happened to the glider.

“There’s lots of speculation about what happened, you skilled in, why did we lose it?” he said. “Did it come to the surface and get hit by a ship?”

They’ve considered definitions like animal attacks, but Hannah doesn’t know how seriously to walk off the idea.

“The scenario that gives us the most hope is that it came up and got got under something,” said Hannah, saying there still should be some battery power liberal in the glider, and if a storm knocks it loose, it could make contact via moon.

Follow Rafferty Baker on Twitter: @raffertybaker

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