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Into the deep

By Stephanie Barrett

ROV student Kimberly Hann is voyaging to the bottom of the Black Sea in search of shipwrecks and ancient artifacts. Well, the ROV she operates will be operating is anyway.

She left for Istanbul, Turkey, on June 20 to partake in a 10-day expedition on the Institute for Exploration’s (IFE) vessel, the E/V Nautilus.
Ms. Hann, who just completed the remotely operated vehicle program at the Marine Institute, is one of three students heading out on expeditions with IFE this summer.

The Institute for Exploration is dedicated to research in the aquatic sciences, especially pertaining to human and natural history in the oceans. Under the direction of Dr. Robert Ballard, discoverer of the Titanic, IFE develops advanced deep-sea vehicle systems to conduct this research, as well as educate students and the general public.

Ms. Hann sees the opportunity as unique and is thrilled to join the expedition, if only for 10 days.

“This is a rare and uncommon chance to do something very different with my new skill set and education,” she said. “Most people go directly into the oil and gas sector, but this job deals with ocean exploration of shipwrecks and such.”
As part of her job, Ms. Hann will operate the ROV tow sled called Argus, which provides lighting for the main ROV known as Hercules. Hercules provides high-quality, high-resolution imagery of the shipwrecks, allowing the team to better interpret the sites and their formation.

Last year, the Sea Research Foundation’s Institute for Exploration team had a successful voyage to the Aegean and Black seas in August, discovering five shipwreck sites around the Datca peninsula, south of Knidos, Turkey, from aboard the new E/V Nautilus. Based on these findings, the team has concluded that the area is a prime region for locating and documenting ancient shipwreck sites in deep water. The six-month expedition, which ends in the Indian Ocean in December, will be documented by National Geographic.