Our Sea Hawk experience, so far ....
We installed the Sea-Hawk Surface Detection radar in Dec 2010. We were not impressed in the beginning, it didn't even show targets shown by the ”normal” navigation radar.
After an introduction at the Sea-Hawk Offices in Bergen it was like a door was opened. We could suddenly see everything, and I mean everything. Now we see to much; shown in pictures later.
When combined with the chase vessels we now have, we pick up a lot of things that could cause huge costs and problems for us. I am sure the radar has already paid itself with the time we have saved by picking up things we normally don't spot.
Experience until now…
This small piece was seen on the Sea-Hawk radar approx. 1NM ahead of the ship.
The piece was small, no danger to us, and it was outside of the spread.
Another small item ...
On these pictures you can see the item picked up by the workboat..
This clearly shows that if we have eyes on the radar we will be able to pick up things / fishing gear we never have seen before.
To see the difference between targets ....
Like on the picture, it is difficult to see the difference between a shoal of tuna fish, from a canoe lying dead in the water.
But if we have seen it a few times we can actually see that the shoal of tuna gives a bigger target then the canoe.
We have been sending one of the chase vessel 5 NM ahead of us to check a target, to discover that is was a shoal of tuna.
We have two vessel dedicated to look for fishing gear. They are positioned in front of Seismic vessel, as shown on this picture. This is to have the vessels search/scout the same area, in case some fishing gear slips through.
Also if one of them finds something the other one continues the search. With this search pattern, we have a bigger chance to remove the fishing gear before Seismic vessel arrives, or have to abort the line.
When we see something on the Sea-Hawk that needs to be checked out, we can send one of these search vessels, and still have full coverage in front of us.
One more example on fishing gear
In this case the radar picked up fishing gear that the chase vessels failed spotting.
The Sea-Hawk picked it up in time for us to launch the workboat, and we had time to turn the vessel away from the problem.
This clearly shows the abilities of the Sea Hawk radar.
The OOW are doing many other things during his watch, and the fishing gear that stops us, can pop up when he is not watching the Sea Hawk.
My immediate suggestion is that ships also get the software module that give the opportunity to get the radar picture in the Captains office, and the PC office. This will give more eyes on the radar, since we are working in the office most of the day, and can look at the monitor, like a rear view mirror.
For the future we should have a designated operator for the radar when we are in areas with a lot of fishing gear, and/or fishing activity. The clients or ourselves, all depends who is paying for downtime, will save a lot of money by using a operator for the Sea-Hawk.
The Sea-Hawk radar is without question a tool that will help us in the future, when it comes to locating fishing gear, logs, “floating” islands, pallets, and other things that most likely will damage our spread in some way. The challenge is to have eyes on it, to locate the “problem” before it is too late.