Sonardyne International Ltd. has announced it recently chartered one of its Plymouth-based trials vessels to Guidance Marine, the well-known developer of local position reference sensors for Dynamic Positioning (DP) and vessel control systems.

Echo Explorer, a 12 metre survey-class catamaran, and her crew were hired to support sea acceptance trials of Guidance Marine’s new long-range microwave position reference sensor, Artemis Mk6, ahead of its official launch earlier this month (August). The system accurately measures the range and bearing of a mobile asset relative to a fixed position and is typically used during the offloading and transportation of oil between FPSOs and shuttle tankers.

Built in 2014, Echo Explorer is one of four vessels Sonardyne operates from its Sea Trials and Training Centre in Plymouth, a facility established to support companies evaluate new surface and subsea marine technologies. In addition to a fleet of well-appointed survey craft, the facility also has available for hire training classrooms, an inshore ROV, fully equipped workshops, client offices and onsite accommodation.

“Plymouth’s appeal as a marine testing ground lies in the diversity of water bodies, water depths, harbours and natural inlets that are on offer within a short vessel transit from one of the city’s many marinas. This maximises the time available engineers have to evaluate equipment following arrival at a test site”

Nick Sheraton, Operations Manager for Sonardyne Plymouth

For Guidance Marine’s trial, an Artemis Mk6 was installed on the roof of Echo Explorer and its performance compared to a Mk5 and another Mk6 unit positioned onshore. The Mk6 sensor has been designed to work at twice the range compared to the Mk5 so Sonardyne’s experienced trials team used their local knowledge to identify a location on land that was high enough to provide at least 10km line of sight at sea.

Milijan Mudrinic, Software Technologies Group Manager at Guidance Marine said that by the end of the first day, three 10km runs following the same waypoints had been completed with nearly 700MB of data collected for analysis.

“The controlled tests we undertook on Echo Explorer were invaluable in proving the quality of our Mk6 sensor and its capabilities. Sonardyne’s crew were instrumental in making the trial a success and we are grateful for all their help.”

Milijan Mudrinic, Software Technologies Group Manager at Guidance Marine

“For over 40 years, Sonardyne has utilised the challenging waters in and around Plymouth to test all manner of underwater and surface technologies,” concluded Nick. “This level of experience, combined with our vessel charter services, trials planning and logistics co-ordination, means that companies such as Guidance Marine who need to conduct tests at sea, can come to us and be confident that we can help them achieve their technical objectives safely and economically.”

Nick Sheraton, Operations Manager for Sonardyne Plymouth

For more information on Sonardyne’s trials and planning services, including vessel charter, please visit: