The innovative ways in which technology has been developed in order to explore the underwater world has yielded some remarkable discoveries. The advent of diving technology and the diving suit has created an industry of professional diving for fish farming, abalone and pearl diving, scientific diving, commercial construction, offshore oil and gas diving and recreational diving instruction.
The technologies utilised in order to harness subsea resources involves the initiation of a drilling well to extract oil and gas. This development involves extensive exploration, using drilling rigs or drill ships, seabed surveys, the laying of pipelines to a shore base, the installation of platforms and further drilling to complete the wells. Another facet of the extraction of underwater resources includes building the pipelines. Subsea pipelines are used to deliver oil, gas, water and other fluids between facilities, or to shore for processing and delivery to market.
- Woodside Diver
- Image copyright of Woodside
Many subsea tasks originally undertaken by divers are now completed by Remotely Operated Vehicles or ROVs. These underwater robots are linked to a ship by a tether and create the capability to perform deep-sea rescue operations and recover objects from the ocean floor. They are often the only method of installing hardware, performing maintenance checks and rectifying any problems. Acoustic technology is also utilised in order to undertake tasks that are unable to be completed by divers. By utilising the quality of sound in the ocean, data is able to be recorded of different underwater archaeological wrecks; submarine paths; and to track the pattern and behaviour of marine life.
Subsea sonar techniques, used for extensively mapping the ocean floor, have discovered many significant archaeological wrecks thousands of metres underwater, which would have been previously impossible without the progression of underwater technology. Some of the findings include the discovery of the HMAS Sydney II and the HSK Kormoran in March 2008. The deep sea is considered to be the last frontier for discovery on our planet. New technologies such as multibeam acoustics, high-resolution video systems and robust collection equipment have enabled man to better understand this unchartered region.