OSIL showcase deep-sea mining data tools

Ocean Scientific International Ltd continues to consolidate their deep-sea scientific data collection tools for use in the environmental management of deep sea mining & impact assessment of other deep-sea activities.


OSIL’s product range now includes a 0.5m2 Giant box corer for bulk sampling in biological, chemical and geochemical applications. Box corers provide a large well-preserved sample in a range of sediment types with easy access to the substrate for sub sampling.



The OSIL Giant Piston corer can retrieve cores of up to 60m in length from soft sediments and muds, as the action of the internal piston reduced internal friction and reduces plugging, ultimately providing a less disturbed sample and making it an important tool in the study of marine sediments.



OSIL’s range of seabed sampling equipment is also extended to ROV tools. OSIL offer an ROV mounted sediment sampler for collecting (multiple) samples of virtually undisturbed sediment, including the sediment/water interface, and overlying supernatent water, in addition to a programmable automated water sampling system which can be married with a range of instruments to provide data on water quality parameters such as turbidity, dissolved oxygen or the presence of hydrocarbons.



All sampling equipment can be adapted to include the ability to sample for gas hydrates, and can be monitored visually using the OSIL deep-sea camera system with dimmable lights to allow for adjustments for different visibility conditions, which can include additional battery packs for extended seabed observation.

Increasing global demand for OSIL sediment grabs

Leading international oceanographic equipment manufacturers Ocean Scientific International Ltd (OSIL) are reporting a surge in global demand for specialist sediment grabs, particularly the spring-activated Smith McIntyre grab.


The Smith McIntyre grab provides more predictable penetration than other grab designs and uses an uncomplicated method of operation combined with a straightforward handling system.


OSIL offer a superior range of efficient and high-quality smaller capacity benthic grabs, including the ubiquitous Van Veen grab (available in various sizes and bucket configurations), with recent shipments going to academic and government organisations, as well as commercial outfits, for use on site investigations, baseline surveys, dredge monitoring and deep sea mining projects. All grabs are manufactured from 316 Stainless Steel with optional ballast weights available for increased penetration, as well as landing tables to aid sample recovery for more complex designs. Bucket sieves and sieving tables are also available.


The robust sediment grab range compliments OSIL’s catalogue of larger sediment sampling equipment.








For further information or sales enquiries please contact: sales@osil.com or call +44 (0) 2392 488 240.

OSIL buoy for EU-funded coastal erosion project

Global marine systems manufacturer Ocean Scientific International Ltd (OSIL) have supplied a  data buoy platform to the “ORION” joint research and development centre for use as a real-time monitoring station on an EU-funded project managing coastal erosion.


The Harmonized Coastal Corrosion Management Framework for Enhancing the Implementation of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Protocol (HERMES) project required a platform with the ability to record a full profile of water column currents, tidal variations, wave parameters (significant wave height, wave period & propagation direction) & estimated suspended particulate matter (SPM) concentrations, with the data transmitted to a base station on land in real time, complete with software to analyse and process the data with a graphical display.


The OSIL Tern buoy offers a high visibility platform with a GPRS communication system ideally suited to the installation location given the proximity to the shore and a popular wreck diving site. The robust buoy is equipped with a seabed mounted Nortek AWAC to provide three-dimensional current profiles in cells with thicknesses from 0.25 to 4m. The ADCP is additionally furnished with a Prolog board for internal wave processing, and it can also be used to estimate suspended sediment loads by correlating the acoustic back scatter intensity to a site specific suspended sediment calibration.


The base station software provided by OSIL gives the end users extensive control over the data displayed from the monitoring buoy, highlighting OSIL’s ability to tailor individual buoy systems to meet specific project requirements.

For further information or sales enquiries please contact: sales@osil.com or call +44 (0) 2392 488 240.

OSIL’s expanding range of Data Buoys

Ocean Scientific International Ltd’s range of versatile data buoys is continually expanding to meet customers’ application requirements. OSIL offer flexible instrumentation platforms ideally suited for collection and measurement of oceanographic, meteorological (metocean) and water quality data parameters that are completely adaptable to meet any applications’ needs.


The selection of buoys on offer include: a 0.3m rapid deployment buoy that is ideal for emergency environmental monitoring; a 0.6m inshore monitoring buoy which can be quickly deployed and repositioned to allow the rapid completion of monitoring work; a highly modifiable 1.2m coastal monitoring buoy which has been used in a range of different operations from  dredge monitoring to oil spill monitoring with the addition on a non-contact hydrocarbon detector; a 1.9m metocean buoy which has been deployed in an assortment of highly dynamic environments, and a 2.6m metocean buoy that is suitable for deepwater coastal deployments and is in use on offshore wind farms.


The platform size is carefully selected to suit the deployment location and unique site conditions in addition to payload requirements such as weight and power consumption. Top frame designs can include grab rings and supports for personnel security on maintenance visits, secure service doors, a variety of solar panel combinations and a wide range of met sensors, in addition to a full complement of telemetry options.


OSIL supply a fully-equipped solution including platform, instrumentation, telemetry and software. On-site installation and end-user training can also be provided.



For further information or sales enquiries please contact: sales@osil.com or call +44 (0) 2392 488 240.

Autonomous Profiling Winch developed by OSIL

Bespoke marine engineering experts Ocean Scientific International Ltd (OSIL) have produced an innovative and compact autonomous profiling winch that will operate unmanned for 30 days.

OSIL were approached with a requirement for a 24V waterproof winch system to mount to existing Automated Surface Vehicle systems. The winch will undertake 10 profiles per day, with a 15kg payload, for 30 days continuously.


The design was constrained by the size of the available space and a maximum weight restriction, in addition to the payload requirements.


The winch has 200m drum capacity using 3mm diameter dyneema, and is equipped with a level wind to prevent entanglements and ensure the cable spools evenly onto the drum. The winch drum is also fitted with an encoder for pay out readings and an internal brake which operates automatically.


OSIL have worked closely with the end client to ensure that the specification is exactly as required.


For further information or sales enquiries please contact: sales@osil.com or call +44 (0) 2392 488 240.

Microplastics Sampler developed by OSIL

Global environmental monitoring experts Ocean Scientific International Ltd (OSIL) are pleased to release a new Microplastics Sampler for the collection of water samples for the analysis of microplastics.

Oceanic microplastic pollution is an increasing concern in the worlds’ oceans, and continues to grow due to the degradation and fragmentation of existing marine litter through physical and chemical processes. “Microplastics” refers to plastic particles smaller than 5 mm and includes fragments, films, pellets/nurdles, granules/beads, filaments and foams.

The unique Microplastics Sampler from OSIL is a large volume water sampler that allows researchers to collect and characterise suspended and sinking particles in the water column. Traditional systems rely on towed nets which have issues with pressure waves affecting the different sizes of microplastics resulting in over/ under reporting of concentrations. The new sampler allows for very precise placement within the water column and provides a more accurate and reliable representation of the true concentration of microplastics in the water column than might be achieved by traditional collection systems.

The sampler collects 50 litres of water in a single sample and upon recovery the device remains upright on deck to allow dense particles to slowly sink to the bottom. The upper 5 litres can be drawn off to be sampled for positively buoyant plastics, with the next 40 litres slowly drained through a tap for neutrally buoyant materials. The bottom section of the water bottle, containing the remaining 5 litres of water and the dense plastic particles can then be disconnected from the main body. This lower section can then be analysed in the laboratory where the flat bottom of the chamber offers an excellent backdrop for photographing/ and or subsampling using a wide-bore pipette for further analysis.

OSIL constantly strive to improve and develop our understanding of the oceans through innovative and unique products. The Microplastics Sampler is another step forward in terms of providing tools that help achieve this aim.

OSIL deliver set of Marine Snow Catchers for Norway

Oceanographic equipment manufacturer Ocean Scientific International Ltd (OSIL) have supplied 3 Marine Snow Catchers to a Norwegian institute for use in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica on a 5 month research cruise.

Marine Snow Catchers are large volume water samplers with separable top and bottom sections that allow researchers to collect and characterise suspended and sinking particles in the water column. This provides a greater understanding of the export processes of the oceanic organic carbon cycle (removing carbon from the upper ocean), and can help to predict how these processes may change in the future.

The design of the OSIL Marine Snow Catchers has been subtly altered, guided by user feedback, with the intention of making them easier to operate in extreme conditions. OSIL constantly strive to improve and develop their range of products, and are guided by invaluable customer feedback and a vast wealth of experience.

OSIL engineer on-site for buoy re-commissioning

An OSIL engineer is currently on-site in Belgium to recommission 4 buoys for existing marine engineering clients. The buoys will be deployed on 2 separate global projects with a focus on dredge monitoring.

The first project, based in Qatar, will utilise 3 of the buoys. 2 buoys are set up to monitor water quality parameters including turbidity with the remaining buoy reporting current and wave readings.

The second project is located in the Netherlands, and the buoy to be installed is equipped with both a multi parameter sonde and a Nortek AWAC for currents and waves.

The versatile buoy systems have been in storage for several months following the successful completion of their last projects.

Monitoring real time hydrodynamic changes from coastal platforms

Supporting marine renewable energy (MRE) research with live data from buoy networks

The nearshore and offshore regions running from the shallow coastal shelf to the intertidal zone are dramatic, tempestuous and extremely complex environments that offer the potential to reliably provide vast amounts of renewable energy to most coastal countries in one form or another. In order to be able to harness this capability safely and efficiently it is critical that we continue to expand our knowledge and understanding of the hydrodynamics of these environments.

The ocean offers huge possibilities for generating electricity from waves and tides, and the UK is very well placed to exploit this form of electricity generation. Marine renewable energy is of particular interest in Wales, where the unique coastline offers significant capacity to generate MRE as there are areas with high tidal ranges that are ideal for tidal lagoons in addition to fast tidal currents for tidal stream energy and regions exposed to substantial wave action, required for wave energy devices.

SEACAMS2 research program

The SEACAMS2 project is a collaboration between Bangor University and Swansea University that supports research and innovation in applications of marine renewable energy, climate change resilience and resource efficiency, and is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund. Data, products and services resulting from SEACAMS2 collaborative research in the Marine Centre Wales, home to the Centre for Applied Marine Sciences (CAMS), will be available to marine industries, government and scientific users and the general public via the Integrated Marine Data and Information System (iMarDis) data service which offers a single point of access.

Establishing the link

Their data assist our understanding of how we can generate electricity from the waves and tides and how we can quantify that resource, help predict how this resource may vary in the future as a result of climate change, identify regions that are ideal for each energy type, and minimise the impact on the environment of this process of energy generation including the effects of any turbulence on devices and the surrounding ecosystem.

Ocean Scientific International Ltd (OSIL) worked with Bangor University to provide a network of three telemetered data buoys for the collection and measurement of oceanographic, meteorological and water quality data parameters around the coast of North Wales for the SEACAMS2 project.

The buoys were required to provide a data link from existing packages of seabed-mounted instrumentation located directly below the platforms to an instantly accessible web portal, from where the data can be integrated into existing CAMS IT infrastructure and disseminated to the public via iMarDis. Deployed for an initial period of two years, the buoy network will remain in-situ for at least a further year as a result of a no-cost extension to SEACAMS2 and could potentially remain deployed indefinitely if funding allows for a future extension.

The benthic instrument packages are deployed in energetic and shallow nearshore coastal locations that are potential sites for energy extraction. Each is furnished with a range of Nortek equipment including an AWAC directional wave and current profiler, an Aquadopp HR profiler to sample the benthic boundary layer for sediment transport and turbulence studies and a Signature 1000 AD2CP current profiler providing high-resolution current and turbulence data.

These coastal observatories measure: wave-driven currents; wave spectra; integrated wave parameters (period, frequency, amplitude, wavelength, and speed); tidal currents; turbulence; water surface elevation and sediment dynamics. These readings allow the hydrodynamic profiles of the deployment locations to be studied in great detail to assess their feasibility for MRE developments and their optimal siting. Some of the instruments are self-logging, and are retrieved at regular intervals to recover data, but others are real time instruments sampling in bursts and provide NMEA data strings of wave parameters, in addition to three-dimensional current speed at multiple elevations above the seabed, every 30 minutes.

The data buoys interrogate the real-time seabed instruments using an acoustic modem to avoid introducing unnecessary cabling that could be damaged in the dynamic deployment conditions, and data from the sensors are received into the data logger that is integrated into the electronics system of each buoy. The buoys have also been provisioned for the mounting of an anemometer and a CTD, and additionally report data from these instruments in conjunction with transmitting ancillary data from the on-board power system and sensors.

The data are relayed via a dual telemetry system, comprising a GPRS modem, which can be used if there is sufficient network coverage at the installation locations, and an Iridium modem which is used in place of the GPRS modem if coverage is poor and transmits the data as Short Burst Data (SBD) messages. Cellular coverage could not be guaranteed in the deployment locations, so the synergistic telemetry solution from buoy to shore provides a highly reliable, low latency solution, which can accommodate the integration of various instruments with NEMA, RS232, RS485 and SDI12 outputs (amongst other industry standard protocols).

Maintaining the connection

The robust and stable 1.9 m data buoys were selected for their high reserve buoyancy and their ability to endure harsh conditions and exposed coastal locations, but they require regular management checks like any other deployed equipment to ensure that the systems functionality is not impaired. Easy access to the buoy power system and electronics for maintenance was provided by a secure service door in the top section, and the moon pool, which is formed by the central steel structure of the buoy and provides a protected area for the installation of surface instruments, can also be accessed through the top frame. The waterproof electronics housings and all cables were equipped with wet mateable subsea connectors to simplify in-field servicing.

To ensure that the buoys are self-sufficient with respect to power during long winter months OSIL developed a tailored power system comprising an array of high-power solar panels, a solar regulator and a battery bank fitted to each buoy top section.

Keeping station

The mooring systems were designed for the specified locations to accommodate a wide variation in mooring requirements, including mean water depths ranging from 10 to 50 m and tidal current speeds of 3.5+ knots. There is an emphasis on damping the effects of waves on the buoy and providing shock absorption in extreme weather conditions as these harsh Irish Sea locations see 6 m tides and a maximum wave height of 7 m with two sites exposed to the prevailing south-westerly winds, and one to northerly winds.

Each buoy was equipped with a 2-point catenary mooring consisting of chain hung beneath the buoy to lower its centre of gravity and increase stability, nylon braid to provide stretch in the mooring and dampen the shock of waves on the mooring and buoy, and additional lengths of chain on the seabed to further reduce the effect of waves on the buoy. The mooring legs are secured with large clump anchors, and the watch circle alarm function, which OSIL engineers have programmed into the buoys to send an email alert via the telemetry system to Bangor University staff if a buoy moves further than a pre-set distance from its installation location, will doubly ensure the security of the buoys during their deployment period.

Collaborative enterprise

The buoy network produced by OSIL in conjunction with Bangor University provides a durable, integrated, low cost and reliable telemetered data link that contributes to a comprehensive understanding of the interactions of waves and currents and the opportunities available in the area of marine renewable energy. The knowledge gained from these researches can be extended to other regions and supports a broader understanding of the hazards, risks and changes in the coastal and marine environment. This increased awareness offers an opportunity to stakeholders to optimise the growth and sustainability of MRE with applications and benefits for the wider community. Cooperative research, development and innovation drives the improvement of products and services such as high-resolution tidal models, fine bathymetry and model visualisation tools that derive from such forums as the SEACAMS2 project, and facilitate interactions between researchers, policy makers and businesses in rapidly evolving technologies that are relevant to other industries and fields of research.

OSIL spotlight Laboratory Measurement of Salinity Course

Global salinity specialists Ocean Scientific International Ltd are highlighting their Laboratory Measurement of Salinity Course.

The 2-day Laboratory Measurement of Salinity Workshop covers all aspects of sample handling, salinometer operation and data processing, using the industry standard Guildline ‘Autosal’ and ‘Portasal’ salinometers, with IAPSO Standard Seawater and other seawater samples provided.

The training is appropriate for personnel at any level of experience with emphasis on individual attention, and aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of salinity measurement.


Salinity – History and definitions

Using a Salinometer (Autosal & Portasal)

The IAPSO Standard Seawater Service

Standardisation and High Precision Measurement

Applying Linearity Corrections

Basic Salinometer Maintenance

For further information or sales enquiries please contact: sales@osil.com or call +44 (0) 2392 488 240.