Mission 1


Location: Offshore Mauritania, West Africa
Vessel: M.V. Boa Deep C.
Position: West Africa
Depth: 900 - 1500m
Dates: 16 - 23 September 2004
Industry Partners  
Gas & Oil Company Woodside
ROV Operator : Oceaneering
Rig Operator : Boa Group
Development Consultancy: RPS-BBG
SERPENT Representative: Dr Daniel Jones

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Mission Story

M.V. Boa Deep CThe first African SERPENT mission was conducted in partnership with Woodside Petroleum Ltd onboard the M.V. Boa Deep C. This was a very exciting opportunity for SERPENT to explore the deep waters offshore Mauritania, and evaluate with an ROV for the first time the seabed animals that live there.

Map showing study siteThis map shows the position of the study site offshore Mauritania, it is in a very interesting area on the continental slope which has steep sediment banks formed from past sliding of the seabed.

SERPENT researcher Daniel Jones in conjunction with RPS-BBG carried out an extensive ROV survey in the area and found a huge range of interesting deep-sea creatures. The survey was done using the high specification Oceaneering Millenium ROVs that are built into the Boa Deep C and an additional high resolution Kongsberg digital stills camera.

Eco Highlights

The seabed in the deep waters (1500 - 900m) that were explored in this mission were home to a diverse and highly abundant array of animals. There was distinct zonation of the animals over the 600m depth range that was surveyed, with sea cucumbers such as Benthothuria funebris shown below and the swimming Enypniastes eximia common in the deeper waters while Macrourid fish were more common in the shallower waters. Some animals such as the sea urchin Phormosoma placenta were present throughout the depth range. It is very unusual to be able to undertake such a wide scale survey of these deep sea animals and because of this the SERPENT team can provide a valuable contribution to our understanding of these marine ecosystems.

Phormosoma placenta

The sea urchin Phormosoma placenta.

Benthothuria funabris

The sea cucumber Benthothuria funebris.

The swimming sea cucumber Enypniastes eximia.

A Macrourid fish.

ROV being winched aboard Boa ROV control room

We wish to thank Woodside Petroleum Ltd, RPG-BBG, Mike Forde, Gareth Jones, the Oceaneering ROV team and all onboard the Boa Deep C for all their help.

Mauritania location map Dr Daniel Jones

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