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December 28, 2015

A thousand beams of light in the darkness

*** Local Caption *** The ROV on the ice sea. Near Pori, Bothnian Sea, Finland. Oceana Hanse Explorer Baltic Sea Expedition. April 2011. El ROV en el mar helado. Cerca de Pori, Mar de Botnia, Finlandia. Expedición del Oceana Hanse Explorer al Mar Báltico. April 2011.

It was in 2005 that Oceana in Europe received a very special gift: the Oceana Ranger, the catamaran that was to become our research vessel enabling us to get first-hand information about the situation of the seas and the creatures living in them. But we wanted more in-depth intelligence on what was going on down there, and in 2006 we started to work with an underwater robot or Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV).

Since then, we have undertaken a total of 992 ROV dives, that is, we have used an ROV in 56 percent of the surveyed points. We have researched one of the deepest points in the Baltic Sea, Gotland Deep, and assembled documentation that we are now using to advocate for its protection. And just a few months ago we hit our own record reaching 1,027 metres below the surface in Malta!

Working with an ROV is technically complex and time-consuming – it takes a while until you reach the bottom! But it allows Oceana to film places never seen before, such as the Emile Baudot escarpment in the Mediterranean, and also to work with the European Commission and national governments to document and preserve our most neglected yet valuable marine areas. Don’t miss our best images from south of El Hierro island, in the Canaries (and choose your favourite creature here).

Working with an ROV is one of the things that make Oceana unique. Have a look at our story map if you want to know what we have researched so far.