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Survey ship off the Rhins

MV Fugro Discovery

A SURVEY vessel has been operating in the North Channel off the Rhins, leading to speculation it is involved in preparatory work for the proposed bridge/tunnel between Scotland and Ireland. The MV Fugro Discovery has been spotted on internet search tools which mark the location of shipping. A bridge between Portpatrick and Northern Ireland has been mooted for decades but the project was given new impetus when the Prime Minister backed the concept and said 'scoping work' would be undertaken. It is understood a bridge combined with tunnel elements is favoured as the Beuafort's Dyke abyss is a major obstacle to a pure bridge. The subsea trench and surrounding area are littered with an estimated million tons or war-surplus ammunition dumped by ships operating out of Cairnryan. To go beneath the Dyke would require the world's deepest undersea tunnel. The Free Press contacted operators Fugro about what work the Discovery is undertaking but has received no reply. The vessel, which was purpose-built for the Norwegian Navy, has multi-role survey capabilities, according to their website. "M.V. Fugro Discovery, built in 1997 and subsequently maintained to the high standards demanded by the navy, provides clients with a reliable and well appointed survey vessel with multi-role capability, ROV inspection, pipeline and cable route surveys, high resolution seismic acquisition surveys, geotechnical and environmental surveys. "The vessel is fitted with an auto-positioning system, a full suite of modern survey equipment and a comprehensive suite of deck equipment. "The design of the vessel permits all kinds of simultaneous geophysical survey operations as well as geotechnical and environmental investigations." Experts say the vessel could be surveying pipes and cabling which run between Scotland and Northern Ireland. Separately, a vast area of sea south of the Mull of Galloway was earlier this year zoned for a possible offshore wind farm development. Consultation on this proposed project is still ongoing.

<< back Published: 29 May 2020, 14:08

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