Today we have finalized the MarMine cruise at the Mohn´s Ridge with an AUV dive over some interesting exploration targets. Now we are heading back fully aware that the cruise has been a success and we have accomplished all main goals set up during cruise planning. Geological sampling for mineral processing test work in lab was achieved early on the first week. Biological sampling and video transects are accomplished for the Mohn´s Treasure site. Methods and technologies for exploration have been tested. We have managed to drill one full core at 2700 meter water depth using ROV based drill rig. Although there was no mineralization in the rock (on purpose), a basalt core has been collected, the technology was proven. The UHI sensor (Ecotone AS) has been used successfully on transects both from ROV- and AUV based camera. Alongside scientific success, the operations have been safe and efficient. We have experienced zero HSE incidents due to careful planning. Weather time and time loss have been zero, hours lost to technical breakdowns can be counted on one hand. The vehicles have been in the water for about 85 % of the total time spent at the Mohn´s Ridge.
Returning from the cruise, we bring a lot of data, new knowledge and sample material that will be used to reach the research goals in the MarMine project and in future research beyond 2020.
The atmosphere onboard has been great. Always-optimistic scientists and crew working shifts around the clock processing data and samples, performing preliminary analyses, planning and running the underwater vehicle operations. No downtime due to weather must be considered as a strike of luck at these latitudes.
Thanks to researchers and students for participating in the cruise. This includes representatives from the MarMine partners Statoil, Fugro, Reach Subsea, NIVA and NTNU. Further, the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI), Williamsson and Associates (US), National Oceanography Center (UK), the Universidade de Aveiro and Ghent University. Last, but not at least the crew from G C Rieber who are responsible on the Polar King. Without your efforts, this would not have been a success.
See you all onshore.