Seiche Group Awarded ISO Certification

It is with great pleasure we can announce that Seiche Water Technology Group (SWTG) consisting of Seiche, Ashridge Engineering and Autonaut USV, have reached another major milestone in the development of the Group. On Thursday 18th May SWTG were informed of our success in achieving the standard required for ISO 9001:2015 (Quality) and 14001:2015 (Environmental) Certification.

We are delighted in sharing the great news with our customers and followers, in recognition of all the hard work and dedication that our teams have shown in reaching this achievement.

Seiche Ltd and Deep Vision Inc. Announce Collaboration to Develop Real-time Camera System for Automated Detection, Geo-location and Quantification of Marine Mammals

Seiche Ltd and Deep Vision Inc. have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a collaborative relationship in support of their respective business interests.

Seiche has expertise in the field of maritime environmental monitoring; in particular, Seiche has developed a unique camera system, as implemented in their Mini Dual Camera, that has been specifically designed to aid the observation and monitoring of marine mammals (and other surface, and near surface objects).

Deep Vision has expertise in the field of computer vision and unsupervised machine learning; in particular, Deep Vision has developed a highly advanced, unique, passive EO/IR technology that provides robust, real-time detection and tracking of marine mammals, vessels and other maritime assets on, or near, the surface of the water.

Under this MoU, the two companies will advance collaborative efforts to develop a real-time camera-based system that can automatically detect, geo-locate, and quantify the presence of marine mammals and other maritime assets. The system will be resilient under all weather conditions and operable at both surface level and above, e.g. mast mounted for ships. By leveraging state-of-the-art unsupervised machine learning techniques, the system will be truly autonomous.

Both Seiche and Deep Vision have strongly aligned environmentally focused business goals and feel that this partnership will be mutually beneficial both for their respective organisations and for their key stakeholders.

Mark Burnett, CEO of Seiche Ltd, comments:  “We are excited to be working with Deep Vision and their cutting-edge technologies,  particularly their software capabilities that can rapidly assess changes in the environment and automatically tune detection algorithms to optimise performance.  Our Seiche camera systems are currently providing environmental monitoring to clients around the world and this is an important next step in the provision of this technology to further protect marine life.”

Alan Parslow, CEO, Deep Vision, adds: “We are thrilled to be working with Seiche, one of the most respected and forward-looking environmental monitoring companies on the planet. We are confident that the proposed system, once realised, will become a significant tool in protecting marine life. We are certain that such a tool is crucial for the ultimate survival of the North Atlantic right whale.”  

Image: North Atlantic Right Whale – Courtesy of NOAA Photo Library.

Seiche Water Technology Group appoints Pete Bromley to Group Engineering Director

UK headquartered Seiche Water Technology Group has announced that Pete Bromley has been appointed as Group Engineering Director with immediate effect.

Pete will be leading the new product development lines, forging new synergies across the engineering teams and overseeing technical road maps for the individual operating companies.

Pete began his career at BAE Systems within its Underwater Systems Division. During his 9 years with the company, his role included software development, systems engineering and project management. He moved on to Tidal Energy Ltd as Engineering Manager where he was instrumental in the design and deployment of the DeltaStream project – the first full scale tidal energy device to be installed and grid connected in Wales in 2016. Prior to taking up his Group role, Pete was Technical Manager and then Managing Director at AutoNaut Ltd.

Pete’s first priority will be to finalise Seiche’s new mini thermal-imaging and Ultra HD camera system with automated cetacean detection software coming to market in early 2021. This compact, marinised and powerful camera system with gyro stabilisation is designed for marine mammal observation and a range of surveillance and survey operations to meet the regulatory demands required for offshore wind developers and offshore energy contractors across the world.

Pete comments: “I am really excited to take up this role as Seiche Group evolves to meet new market needs, particularly in the offshore renewables sector. Our engineering teams are working flat out to deliver innovative technologies to our clients with a key focus on enhanced autonomy, AI and data fusion.”

Pete will continue to provide technical leadership for the AutoNaut USV development as part of the Seiche Group.

Successful environmental mitigation services programme with Triton Knoll concludes

Our eight-month environmental mitigation services programme with Triton Knoll came to an end last week once the final pile was installed. It was an honour to work with RWE Renewables who put the safety of personnel and the environment first and foremost. Biggest thanks to our incredible team of MMO and PAM Operators who showed so much flexibility and commitment through these COVID times. Read more here.

AutoNaut USV with Seiche array maps North Sea soundscape during lockdown

An AutoNaut USV with a Seiche array has played a vital role in enabling The Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) to seize upon the quiet of lockdown to map the underwater soundscape of the Belgian section of the North Sea.

Using its near silent AutoNaut USV research vessel, Adhemar, VLIZ has been able to record current noise levels, which will be compared with the marine soundscape once normal sea traffic and marine activities recommence. This will help to determine the impact of manmade noise on natural sea life and the marine environment, building a picture of the marine soundscape in conditions that may never again be possible.

Following a 15% fall in shipping intensity in the North Sea since the start of the pandemic, VLIZ put its AutoNaut USV robot Adhemar into action to carry out measurements of the underwater noise in the turbid and shallow coastal waters of Ostend-Bredene. Some footage of Adhemar in operation can be seen here.

Using Seiche’s MicroPAM monitoring and mitigation system, developed specifically for autonomous surface vehicles (USVs), underwater sound was captured using two hydrophones trailed on an 8 m in-water cable with depth sensor. The onboard Seiche electronics module acquired and recorded all data.

Undertaken with the support of the agency for Maritime and Coastal Services (MDK) and FPS Mobility and Transport, the project took advantage of the unique current circumstances that allow a record of reduced human activities to be compared with a more normalised soundscape in post Covid-19 conditions.

Under normal circumstances, human interventions such as noise emanating from shipping, pile driving, and other activities can affect the soundscape of the coastal waters and North Sea, impacting on marine animals. Masking natural ambient noise, this extra underwater sound can disturb sea animal behaviour or even result in hearing damage. This is because sound is carried more than four times further in water than in the air, which is precisely why many marine animals use sound to communicate, determine their position and search for prey.

Supported by AutoNaut’s wave foil propulsion technology, which produces virtually no underwater noise, VLIZ utilised its USV Adhemar as a non-invasive, flexible method of capturing sound data, deploying Seiche Passive Acoustic Monitoring (PAM) technology to build a sound-map of the waters for future comparison.

VLIZ will analyse the sound recordings to identify underwater sounds originating from marine animals and the environment, including sounds from fish, invertebrates and other species that are typically masked by anthropogenic activities. This will allow VLIZ to investigate whether a different underwater soundscape can be observed as a result of reduced shipping traffic.

VLIZ executed the mission in close collaboration with the Flemish agency for Maritime and Coastal Services (MDK) and the Federal Public Service for Mobility and Transport, which have responsibility for the safety and regulation of shipping, and in close coordination with the Maritime Rescue and Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Ostend, which stipulates conditions and provides permits for USV activity. Several missions took place in April and May 2020, conducted during daylight hours and only in conditions of good visibility in order that the missions were planned, undertaken and executed without impact on shipping traffic.

The results from the study, which are currently being processed, will be announced later this year in the autumn, followed by a further programme of additional measurements – part of the LifeWatch observation programme – which are planned for the future.

Phil Johnston, Business Development Manager at AutoNaut, comments: “We are thrilled to see VLIZ running Adhemar, not just for the data collection in these strange times but also for the adaptations they’ve made to operate the 5 m USV in the southern North Sea. We look forward to working with VLIZ on future development and missions.”

Triton Knoll Offshore Wind Farm prioritises Marine Mammal Safety

Monitoring and managing the safety of marine mammals is being given a top priority at the 857MW Triton Knoll Offshore Wind Farm, as the 90 turbine project constructs state-of-the-art infrastructure 20 miles off the Lincolnshire coast.

While Triton Knoll has already been assessed as having low potential for marine mammal presence, East Anglia based Seiche Environmental has been appointed to implement important mitigation measures at the offshore site.

Specialising in underwater acoustic measurement, monitoring, and mitigation measures, the team from Seiche has been brought on board to ensure that the impact of underwater noise from construction activities – linked to the installation of 90 monopile foundations for the world’s most powerful wind turbines, and two high-tech offshore substation platforms – has minimal impact on any local cetaceans and seals.

Seiche’s marine mammal mitigation team – based on-board the 183 metre long installation vessel Seaway Strashnov – uses specialist Passive Acoustic Measurement (PAM) equipment to identify if any marine mammals are present under water. Under the direction of their team, an Acoustic Deterrent Device (Lofitech’s Seal Scarer) is used to help keep any marine mammals that may be present, beyond the 500 metre radius protection zone – established before live piling operations.

Combined with visual monitoring during daylight hours, Seiche’s team of observers and PAM operators ensure that the Marine Mammal Mitigation Protocol, which follows the government’s Joint Nature Conservation Committee’s guidance protocol, is adhered to at all times

In addition to the marine mammal mitigation services, Seiche is also recording and reporting on noise output during the installation of the initial piles, so that predictions – used to assess the potential impact on marine fauna – can be validated.

Commenting on the project, Nicola Harris – Associate Director, Environmental Services for Seiche, said: “Understanding and minimising the impact of offshore construction on marine mammals is a vital part of modern offshore wind farm development. Pile driving activities are governed by strict marine mitigation procedures, and we are proud to be providing the crucial expertise to ensure that the noise from these works is managed in a way that is not damaging to the like of grey seal, harbour porpoise and harbour seal, as well as other species less common in the North Sea, including white-beaked dolphin and minke whale.

“Utilising noise monitoring methodology developed by Seiche’s BioSciences and Acoustic Technical specialists, we have implemented mitigation measures that are in accordance with best practice underwater noise guidance and standards whilst better understanding the effect of offshore developments on the marine environment.”

The project covers the Triton Knoll turbine array, which is spread over 145 square kilometres, an area bigger than the City of Manchester. Jointly owned by innogy, J-Power and Kansai Electric Power, innogy is responsible for managing the wind farm’s construction, long-term operation and maintenance works, on behalf of its project partners. Once fully operational, Triton Knoll will be the most powerful in the innogy fleet and capable of powering the equivalent of over 800,000 UK homes.