Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Cruise Planning Synopsis

view revisions



R/V Atlantis


HOV Alvin

Cruise Party

Peter Girguis: Chief Scientist, Principal Investigator
16 Divinity Ave room 3085 Cambridge, MA United States 02138
+1 617 496 8328

Departure: Mar 14, 2014

New Orleans LA

Arrival: Mar 26, 2014

Gulfport MS

Operations Area

Southern California between San Diego and Los Angeles
Depth Range: min / max (m)
Will the vessel be operating within 200 NM of a foreign country? Cayman Islands
Are visas or special travel documents required? no

Science Objectives

March 12, 2014 - UPDATED SYNOPSIS:

Web site:


New cruise dates March 14 - 26,  New Orleans LA to Gulfport MS. - eb.

NEW SEPT 25 2013:


Over the past four years, HOV Alvin has undergone a suite of enhancements including a new pressure hull with improved visibility and ergonomics, new digital imaging and data acquisition systems, a novel basket that accommodates greater payloads, and numerous improvements to the vehicle’s command and control systems. The new pressure sphere has been certified to 6500m. Future upgrades to the submarine’s batteries and other major subsystems will ultimately make this HOV capable of operations at 6500 m.


Completion of the sea trials,  will result in Alvin being recertified for operations to 4500m.  However, there are aspects of vehicle operation and performance that are critical to science but not necessarily included in the certification process as defined by the US Navy’s NAVSEA protocols.  Consequently, a science verification cruise (SVC) will be conducted to assess the research capabilities of the vehicle.  The specific objectives of the cruise will include:  1) involvement of experienced users to ensure operational components and scientific sensors on the vehicle are working properly, 2) pursuit of various science projects and opportunistic exploration, and 3) education of early career scientists who plan to conduct deep submergence field science using HOV Alvin

Science Activities


New cruise dates March 14 - 26,  New Orleans LA to Gulfport MS. - eb.

CRUISE IS DELAYED _ 9/25/13.  Eric Benway.

The SVC will conduct operations is still TBD off Southern California.  Pending the applicant pool as well as unforeseen issues, e.g., weather.

Evaluating the Science Capabilities of the new HOV Alvin


Navigation and Data Collection

  • Assess navigational capabilities as necessary, including ease of adding science-supplied bathymetric underlays and waypoints, evaluating the results and assessing the accuracy and precision of the navigation and data logging systems.
  • Assess “routine” processing software designed to enable scientists and onboard technicians to verify the quality of navigation and other relevant data streams produced by contextual sensors on the submersible.
  • Determine if submersible data streams (e.g., time, altitude, depth, heading, navigation, and other science-oriented sensors) are readily accessible to the user in standard formats;
  • Determine if data storage and data access systems on board RV Atlantis are compatible with submersible data streams;
  • Establish the functionality of the frame grabber system; determine that this system operates -at a minimum- to enable rapid assessment of operational and scientific data post-dive; assess the ease of incorporating this metadata into the R2R data system being developed for all UNOLS vessels.


Power, Speed, and Duration Capability

  • Assess realized transit speed of Alvin near bottom and in the water column (The Alvin group will work with the scientists to appropriately tabulate power consumption during various operations, and compare these data to expected power consumption in order to provide the user community with reasonable expectations for dive duration and on-bottom times, and to develop better operating procedures for users). 


Seafloor Mapping

  • Undertake and evaluate near-bottom multibeam mapping in flat and rough terrains, including assessment of artifacts, protocols for data acquisition, and shipboard capabilities for post-dive data processing and production of gridded data acceptable for field use in planning dives.
  • Undertake and evaluate the reproducibility of mapping (i.e., repeat mapping of an area, including comparison to pre-existing near-bottom bathymetric data).
  • Work with NDSF to develop a ‘best practices’ document to provide both NDSF staff and the user community with protocols for high-resolution multibeam mapping using the submersible (including coordination with mapping operations for other NDSF vehicles – ROV Jason and AUV Sentry)


Lighting and Imaging

  • Assess whether illumination and its areal coverage is appropriate for obtaining “high quality” still and video imagery with the HD cameras in their standard configuration. 
  • Verify operations and “ease of use” of recording systems, including in-hull controls, focus/zoom performance, pan/tilt adjustments and aperture settings for each camera. 
  • Assess the ease of producing copies of video and still image data for science and archives, and quality/operational efficiency of duplicate imagery produced by onboard image duplication systems.
  • Optional: Assess the vehicle’s capabilities to collect image series for photomosaicing (with the photomosaics to be made by the science party).


Sampling Capability

  • Verify the ease of using the variety of standard NDSF HOV sampling systems and instruments (http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?pid=21075).
  • Assess both manipulators for delicate manipulation and fine-scale collections of sediments, rocks and organisms.
  • Use a range of basket configurations and payloads to assess basket flexibility, accessibility by the manipulators, and payload capacity
  • Verify mid-water capabilities, including the ability to maintain neutral buoyancy and collect samples of water, particles, and – if possible- organisms.


Instrument Interface

  • Assess the capability to interface user-provided equipment/sensors to the vehicle, including power and communications and basket integration (Note: these instruments must be compliant with HOV safety requirements). 
  • Evaluate the ability of the vehicle to interact with elevators to transport samples/equipment to/from the seafloor.


Ergonomics and Habitability

  • Evaluate the ergonomics in Alvin, specifically how users interact in the personnel sphere with viewports, seating, camera and video controls and monitors, voice recording, other equipment and each other.
  • Evaluate the ease of outfitting and dismantling the Alvin basket before and after each dive.

Additional Info

Pre-cruise Planning Meeting: Teleconference/Visit WHOI


Supporting documentation:

Notes: MARCH 11, 2014 -  SVC WEB SITE CREATED.




Funding Agency: NSF
Grant or contract number: 00001

Scientific Instrumentation for R/V Atlantis

Shipboard Equipment

Deionized Water System
Fume Hood
Navigation - Heading
Science Underway Seawater System
ADCP 75 kHz
Bathymetry System 3.5 kHz

Shipboard Communication

Basic Internet access via HiSeasNet
Is there an expectation to use Skype or any other real-time video conference program?

CTD/Water Sampling

911+ Rosette 24-position, 10-liter bottle Rosette with dual T/C sensors

Critical CTD Sensors

Sample Storage

Climate Controlled Walk-in
Freezer -70°C 25 cu. ft.
Freezer -70°C 3.2 cu. ft. ea.
Refrigerator 8.6 cu. ft.
Scientific Walk-in Freezer
Storage Notes: Science storage should be adequte in Lab spaces and Sci Hold.


Will you be using Long Base Line (LBL) navigation? no
How many nets? null
How many tansponders? null
Will you be using Ultra-short baseline (USBL) navigation?no


Navigation Notes:


CTD Winch with .322" Electro-mechanical wire
Winch Notes:
Winch Notes:

Standard Oceanographic Cables

Slip ring required? no
Non-standard wire required? no
Traction winch required? no

Portable Vans

Chemical Storage Van

Specialized Deck Equipment

Mooring Deployment/Recovery Equipment Required: no Type: 
Cruise Specific Science Winch Required: no Type: 
Nets Required: no Type: 

Over the Side Equipment

Will you be bringing any equipment (winches, blocks, etc.) that lowers instruments over the side? no

Special Requirements

Elecrical Power: no Identify 
Equipment Handling: no Identify: 
Inter/intraship Communications: no Identify: 
Science Stowage: no Identify: 
Water: no Identify: 

Additional Cruise Items/Activities

Explosive Devices:no
Portable Air Compressors:no
Flammable Gases:yes
Small Boat Operations:yes
SCUBA Diving Operations:no

Hazardous Material

Will hazardous material be utilized?no
Describe deployment method and quantity:
Chemicals and Gases will be used.  NO RADIOISOTPES (eb 2/10/14).

Radioactive Material


Additional Information

Is night time work anticipated on this cruise?yes
Specialized tech support (Seabeam, coring, other):
CTD ops
Other required equipment and special needs:

Scientific Instrumentation for HOV Alvin

Current Chart(s):

What type of samples do you expect to collect? null null null

Site Survey

Will you provide detailed charts of the work area(s)?yes
If no, willl you need R/V Atlantis to generate maps of the work area(s)?no
Will you need post-dive maps of the work area generated?no


Will you be using Long Base Line (LBL) navigation? no
How many nets? 0
How many tansponders? 0
Will you be using Ultra-short baseline (USBL) navigation for other than Alvin operations?yes

Vehicle Equipment

Push corers (12-pack rack)
High temperature probe (0-480°C)
Low temperature probe
Scoop nets
Small capacity slurp samplers
Large capacity slurp samplers: single-chamber
Large capacity slurp samplers: multi-chamber
Bio collection boxes: 12 x 12 x 12
Bio collection boxes: 12 x 12 x 24
Major (dual) pair water sampler(s) with ICL temperature probles


Will you be using elevators to transport samples to the surface?yes
If yes, how many would you anticipate? unknown

Science Supplied Equipment

Are you supplying equipment to be used on HOV Alvin yes
Has this equipment been used on Alvin before? yes
Please give a brief description of the equipment, its intended purpose, the cruise # it was last used on if any and its deployment method.
Does this equipment use an external pressure housing? yes
Has the pressure housing been tested per Alvin Pressure Test requirements? yes
Pressure housing schematic with dimensions and include air and water weights.
Air weight of this equipment?
Water weight of this equipment?
Does the equipment require a power interface from Alvin? yes
Voltage required null
Power required
Data Interface
Does the equipment meet the electrical requirements of the Alvin User Manual? yes
Please provide power and comms specifics, wiring diagram, pinout, and wiring harness in advance of the cruise.
Does this equipment require hydraulic inputs from the vehicle? no
Hydraulic schematic of the equipment requirements.
Does this equipment require manipulation? yes
If yes, please describe how the equipment is to be manipulated:
Will this equipment be deployed off the vehicle? no
If yes, please describe how the equipment is intended for deployment:
If yes, will the equipment be disconnected from the vehicle and left in situ? no
How long will the deployment be?
Will the equipment be recovered by the same vehicle? no
Do you intend to recover any other previously deployed equipment? no
If yes, please describe this equipment:
Does this equipment use any glass spheres for either buoyancy or as pressure housings? no
Does the equipment have an associated computer or control panel for remote operation from the personnel sphere? no
Has the computer or control panel been gas tested for use in the personnel sphere? no

Hazardous Material

Will hazardous material be utilized?yes
Describe deployment method and quantity:

Additional Information

Brief operations description or comments:
Navy Clearance:
Granted 03/04/14:
A. WITHIN 5 NM RADIUS OF 29-06N 88-23W DURING PERIOD 151200Z THRU 262300Z MAR 14.
B. WITHIN 5 NM RADIUS OF 28-51N 88-29W DURING PERIOD 151200Z THRU 262300Z MAR 14.
C. WITHIN 5 NM RADIUS OF 27-35N 89-42W DURING PERIOD 151200Z THRU 262300Z MAR 14.
D. WITHIN 5 NM RADIUS OF 27-39N 88-22W DURING PERIOD 151200Z THRU 262300Z MAR 14.
E. WITHIN 5 NM RADIUS OF 28-57N 88-12W DURING PERIOD 151200Z THRU 262300Z MAR 14.
F. WITHIN 5 NM RADIUS OF 28-19N 87-18W DURING PERIOD 151200Z THRU 262300Z MAR 14.

Checklist & Notes


U.S. Customs Form: no
Diplomatic Clearance: no
Date Submitted:
Date Approved:
Agent Information:

United States (New Orleans, LA)

Attn: Scientist's Name - AT26-12
4760 Pontchartrain Drive
Slidell, Louisiana 70458

Phone:  (504)581-7468 (24 hour service)
Fax:       (504)835-1233

e-mail:    nola@fillettegreen.com

Contact: Allen Guthrie, Operations Manager
               Mobile:  (504) 914-7205 

Contact:  Tom Pumphret
                Mobile:  (504) 941-0007

Note: Agent and WHOI contacts should be copied on all communications. Shipment information for all equipment, supplies and spares should be communicated to the Agent and all WHOI contacts.


United States (Gulfport, MS)

Attn:  Scientist's Name - AT26-12
Fillette Green Shipping Services (USA) Corp.
261 N. Conception Street
Mobile, AL   36603

Mailing address:
P.O. Box 1842
Mobile, AL   36633
Phone:  (251) 375-2224
Fax:  (251) 432-6813
Email: mob@fillettegreen.com

Contact:  Jason Halischak
Cell:  (251) 232-1659

Shipments of up to 200 lbs may be sent to the address above.  All shipments over 200 pounds should be scheduled to arrive while the ship is in port and directed to the address below.   The agent must be notified of all shipments.

Port of Gulfport address:
Master:  R/V Ship Name
Atten:  Scientist's Name
Mississippi State Port at Gulfport
30th Avenue South Extension West Pier
Gulfport, MS   39501

WHOI NOTE:  Agent and WHOI contacts should be copied on all communications.  It is requested that shipping information of any equipment be communicated to the Agent and WHOI contacts.

none required.
Isotope Use Approval: no
Isotope Notes:
no rads.
SCUBA Diving: yes


SSSG Tech:
Allison Heater, Catie Graver
New Orleans Mob = 2 days March 12,13th
Gulfport demob = 1 day March 27.

Shipments to New Orleans (to our agent for ship delivery).  PLEASE be sure to contact Eric Benway or copy him on all communications with our agents.
SCUBA DIVING;  WHOI communications and outreach will be on board.  Their goal is to also get vidoe and photography during Alvin launch and recoveries.   If possible 1 person (Evan Kovaks) would join in the RHIB boat during  launch / recovery ops and do shallow water photography.