Hibbard Inshore Breaking Flooded Tunnel Inspection Records in Cooma, Australia.

Auburn Hills, MI, December 10, 2013:
Leading underwater service provider, Hibbard Inshore recently broke the record for the longest distance tunnel inspection performed by a tethered vehicle, using their newest long range vehicle, the SAAB Sabertooth. Traveling over 12 kilometers in a single direction through the tunnel for a round-trip exceeding 24 kilometers, Hibbard Inshore was able to collect real time visual data as well as scan the tunnel with multiple types of multibeam sonar to take high density dimensional data, detect open cracks or holes, detect areas of debris buildup, detect lining failures, and identify rockfalls. With this information, Hibbard Inshore was able to create 3D models for analysis for maintenance and comparison to future inspection data to identify trends in the condition. The Sabertooth is capable of operating as either a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) with a tether to allow for real-time data and pilot control or as an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) to give flexibility in various tunnel inspection scenarios.

Hibbard Inshore has inspected six trans-mountain tunnels across the Snowy Hydro Scheme to date using this method and will return in 2014 for further inspections. Previously, these tunnels needed to be drained for inspection as suitable alternatives did not exist making the task both difficult and risky in terms of potential cave-ins. Now, using Hibbard’s AUV/ROV, the need to dewater is eliminated, the time to inspect is greatly decreased while the safety of the structure along with human safety improves significantly.

Chief Operating Officer of Snowy Hydro Ken Lister said, “The use of the unmanned sub for tunnel inspections now means that it can be done more frequently, more safely and without the need to shut down power stations or drain the tunnel. This multi-million dollar investment is a great outcome for the business, for the safety of our people and contractors and is part of our wider program of Scheme upgrades and ongoing maintenance”.

About Hibbard Inshore
Hibbard Inshore is a global engineering service companies specializing in the use of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). With a diverse fleet of unmanned underwater ROVs, the latest sensing technologies and experienced staff, Hibbard Inshore and Elétrica Paulistana are able to provide the expertise necessary to solve the complex challenges of underwater structures in the power generation industry.