Offshore Industry News

Exploring the Ocean Depths in Comfort

Exploration of the ocean depths involves an element of risk, but that doesn’t mean you have to be cold and miserable.


The AURORA Trust Foundation carried out photo mapping surveys of three Roman shipwrecks dating back to 200 BCE. The results were 3D photo mosaics of each of the wrecks with high resolution detail.

“Descending a thousand feet into the depths of the Mediterranean to investigate and survey ancient Roman shipwrecks in a 3 person air conditioned mini-sub was like exploring the South Pole in a Lexus,” stated Ian Koblick. The survey is the latest project carried out by Ian Koblick and Craig Mullen, founding directors of AURORA, in conjunction with U- Boat Worx, a Dutch company that builds mini submarines.

“The submarine was the most reliable and comfortable sub I have ever been in,” says Mullen. The C Explorer 3 with its 360 degree viewing sphere made it possible to carry out the photo survey from inside the sub allowing for onsite control of each and every one of the more than 500 photos taken on each wreck site. To the best of our knowledge this is the first time that 3 D mapping has been carried out with the camera inside the sub. The acrylic sphere is so transparent that there is very little distortion.

The wrecks were all near the island of Panarea in the Aeolian Islands north of Sicily. AURORA Trust had located the wrecks 5 years ago when they carried out extensive side scan sonar surveys in the islands. Dr. Sebastiano Tulsa, Superintendent of the Seas of Sicily, invited AURORA back to survey the sites and produce a photo mosaic of each wreck.

The wrecks varied in age from 200 BCE to 200 AD. One carried Garum, a pungent fish sauce much relished and expensive in Roman times, another carried wine and the third is yet to be determined.

The Aurora Trust was formed to advance the world’s understanding of the ocean environment, most particularly its marine cultural heritage hidden for thousands of years on the seafloor and to educate the public concerning the historic role the oceans have played in connecting different cultures; its commerce and conflicts.

For more information, click here.


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