NOAA RELEASES SONAR IMAGERY OF BOW MARINER WRECK
March 5, 2004 — Two multi-beam sonar images taken by the NOAA ship RUDE on Thursday, March 4, of the sunken tanker BOW MARINER were authorized for release by the U.S. Coast Guard today. The images are among a suite of side-scan sonar and multi-beam images provided by RUDE to the Coast Guard for use in its investigation of the cause of the explosion that sank the vessel on February 28. (Click NOAA image for larger view of NOAA multi-beam sonar image of the sunken tanker Bow Mariner as taken by the NOAA ship RUDE on March 4, 2004. Click here for high resolution version, which is a large file. Please credit “NOAA.”)
RUDE (pronounced Rudy) found the wreck on Tuesday, March 2, and initial side-scan imagery showed the placement and orientation of BOW MARINER. However, RUDE had to discontinue operations because of bad weather. The ship returned to the scene during better weather and collected additional sonar imagery on Thursday, March 4, for the Coast Guard to review.
Multi-beam sonar systems provide fan-shaped coverage of the seafloor similar to side-scan sonars, but the output data is in the form of depths rather than images. Instead of continuously recording the strength of the return echo, the multi-beam system measures and records the time for the acoustic signal to travel from the transmitter to the seafloor (or object) and back to the receiver. RUDE’s multi-beam system is attached to its hull, rather than being towed like a side scan. Therefore, the coverage area of the seafloor is dependent on the depth of the water, typically two to four times the water depth. (Click NOAA image for larger view of NOAA multi-bean sonar image of Bow Mariner wreck as seen from the bow of the ship. The image was taken by the NOAA ship RUDE on March 4, 2004. Click here for high resolution version, which is a large file. Please credit “NOAA.”)
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