N. O. C. National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, UK

Maritime academic facilties in the United Kingdom, NOC, Southampton




NOC OPENING CEREMONY PLAQUE - Jo Johnson gave a talk to the crowd and then this commemorative plaque was ceremoniously unveiled as he officially opened the Marine Robotics Innovation Centre.






Stage two of the NOC coordinated project to gather information on ocean processes and marine life using the largest fleet (so far) of marine robots has just reached its conclusion.


In the latest phase of the project, three unmanned surface vehicles were used to track fish carrying acoustic ‘pingers’ off the Devon coast. About 85 fish, including rays, sole and plaice, were tagged and released by scientists from the Marine Biological Association (MBA), with the aim of understanding how these fish use Marine Protected Areas. The roaming robotic vehicles carried acoustic receivers and worked alongside a series of fixed receivers on the seabed in order to track fish movements inside and outside of the protected sites.

Professor David Sims of the MBA is quoted as saying: “The patrolling robots successfully located tagged fish, and also tracked the movements of individual fish over several days by re-locating them. This demonstrates the potential of ocean robots for monitoring dynamic changes in distributions of commercially important fish, which will underpin effective management and understanding of climate change impacts”.



Slocum wave gliders 



The surface vehicles were also carrying camera systems that successfully imaged a variety of marine wildlife, including porpoises and gannets. It is the first time images of marine life have been captured by NOC’s robotic vehicles operating far from land and demonstrates huge potential for surveying parts of the ocean that are rarely visited by research ships.

Phase one of the project saw the robot fleet head up to 150 kilometres offshore from the Isles of Scilly over a two-week period. Despite having to cope with a series of autumn storms, the fleet continued to collect high-quality data that have provided valuable insights into the effect that stormy weather has on ocean processes and marine life. Head of NOC’s Marine Autonomous Robotics Systems group, Dr Maaten Furlong is quoted as saying: “These missions have demonstrated the ability of these new vehicles to travel hundreds of kilometres in very demanding conditions. Although some of the vehicles were impacted by the bad weather, it provided us with the opportunity to gain experience of piloting in harsh conditions”.

The pioneering trials were co-ordinated by the National Oceanography Centre, in partnership with 20 other organisations representing the marine robotics industry, research organisations, and marine data users such as the UK Met Office and the Royal Navy. Dr Russell Wynn of NOC, who was the scientific co-ordinator of the project, said: “Overall the project has been hugely successful and we have collected a huge amount of valuable scientific and engineering data. By working in partnership and sharing our resources and expertise we have developed a strong UK community in marine robotic operations, and we are already planning further joint missions in the near future”.



Ryan Dusart at the NOC in Southampton


OCEAN BUSINESS - Ryan soaks up the atmosphere on the waterside at the NOC during his visit to the marine exhibition in April 2017. Ryan is learning about boats and robots with the Cleaner Oceans Foundation, as they develop the AmphiMax and SeaVax ocean cleaning system.




ATLANTOS - NOV 25 2014

The largest marine science project that the European Commission has ever funded, the $31.7 million AtlantOS project, is due to start in January 2015, bringing together a wide spectrum of scientific disciplines from more than 60 research organizations across the world to enhance the efficiency of ocean observation procedures.




Three marine ‘robot’ vehicles have been launched from Plymouth today to undertake a fish tracking mission in and around new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). The aim is to learn how fish use these areas on a day-to-day basis.


Scientists from the Marine Biological Association (MBA) and engineers from the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) are working together on this pioneering project.

Using acoustic ‘pingers’, plaice, sole, brill, and rays are being tracked at sea by the ocean robots programmed to patrol a large area of the MPAs there are also a number of seabed listening stations which work in concert with the ocean robots. 

The three autonomous vehicles – AutoNaut, C-Enduro and the SV3 Waveglider – are all carrying a range of sensors to collect additional data on the physical properties of the ocean, such as water temperature and salinity. On-board GoPro cameras will also capture valuable photographs and video footage of seabirds and other marine life.





LEFT - The C-Enduro from ASV Global. We liked the look of the wind turbine, but noted from the launch and Youtube footage that the Ampair unit rarely seems to turn in anger and the support frame shades the solar panels. RIGHT - The AutoNaut from MOST is another of the interesting craft joined in a mission to track fish in the locality. What is interesting about all of these boats is that the navigation equipment is more than capable of steering the craft from point to point in fleet mode and report position and other data to the operators. We note though that none of these vessels are COLREGS compliant, though the smaller boats may be considered exempt - as they are unlikely to cause significant damage to other ocean users - the C-Enduro is large enough to need to comply, yet is not equipped to do so.



Dr Stephen Cotterell, of the Marine Biological Association, is leading the project and commented “This technology will give us a new dimension in our understanding of fish movements, residency and migrations in and around the marine protected areas off Plymouth. Understanding how fish use MPAs will be vital in understanding the value of these management tools to conserve fish stocks. One of the aims of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive is achieving sustainable fisheries, through an ecologically coherent network of MPAs. We just don’t know enough yet about how effective MPAs are for mobile species. With this work we aim to get somewhere closer”.

The second phase of the project is expected to last until mid-November and follows the highly successful first phase, which saw five marine robots travelling for hundreds of kilometres off the Isles of Scilly to collect ocean and meteorological data.




One of the unlucky plaice to be tagged for NOC's experimental fish trail



Dr Maaten Furlong, Head of the NOC’s Marine Autonomous Robotics Systems group said of Phase 2: "This second phase builds on the success of Phase 1 and allows us to test the vehicle fleet in coastal waters. Using autonomous surface vehicles in combination with fixed seabed assets significantly enhances the scientific value of the system.”

The two-phase project is the largest deployment of marine autonomous systems ever seen in the UK and will provide valuable information about the shelf seas, marine life and the scope for autonomous vehicles in future research projects.

AutoNaut was built and is operated on behalf of the NOC by MOST (Autonomous Vessels) Ltd; C-Enduro was built and is operated on behalf of the NOC by ASV Ltd; and the NOC’s own SV3 Waveglider is being supported by its manufacturer (Liquid Robotics).


MSUBS - 28 OCT 2014


MSubs Ltd, a supplier of manned and unmanned underwater submersibles for both military and commercial users, was selected to be a supplier to the Marine Autonomous and Robotic Systems (MARS) group at the National Oceanography Centre UK, for the provision of unmanned underwater vehicles, equipment, services and support.



M-Subs S201 mini submarine  


LEFT - S201 - S201 is an 8.9 tonne vehicle intended for 48hr operation at depths up to 305m. This project is an example of our rapid prototyping capabilities. From outline specification to launch took just 14 months. Dived performance is maximised by attention to streamlining of the outer hull and by the use of advanced motor technology to directly drive the main propeller. Surface running is possible with one crewmember on deck and hatch closed, at speeds up to 6kn in modest sea states, but the vessel's primary mode of deployment is by crane-in. RIGHT - MUSTL



The MARS group is based at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, UK, under the auspices of the National Environmental Research Council (NERC). The MARS group exists to provide and to operate from their equipment pool of commercial underwater and surface vehicles for the British oceanographic science community and other qualifying organisations on short and long term basis and are operated by MARS and other trained NERC personnel. 

MSubs competed to gain a place on the framework agreement which will run for four years to supply shallow, deep and surface glider support as well as spares and ancillary equipment and other autonomous vehicles & equipment requirements. MSubs has been specifically contracted for the supply of small containerised unmanned vessels, a large diameter unmanned mobile underwater test lab, a manned research submersible and a small diameter R&D UUV; all of these have a payload space of varying sizes to enable novel research to be conducted. In addition MSubs is on contract to supply engineering expertise in design, electrical/electronics, control and sensor integration and the full use of our extensive heavy and light DNV-GL certified machine and GRP workshops in Plymouth.


M Subs Ltd
Unit 42, Sisna Park Road
Estover, Plymouth
Devon, PL6 7FH
Co. Registration No. 05874602

Telephone: +44(0)1752 696069
Fax: +44(0)1752 696510
E Mail: contact@msubs.com

Web: http://www.msubs.com/




Kevin Forshaw - started engaging in technology transfer for the maritime sector over 15 years ago when he established a Marine Thematic Group within the EC Innovation Relay Centre. He has since worked for 4 Universities, including Southampton, where he headed up Industry Engagement for the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute. During this period, Kevin has established many industry / University collaborative research projects developing new technologies for maritime companies, that have leveraged £ millions of public funded support. Kevin is now Head of Enterprise at the UK National Oceanography Centre where he is heading up engagement with Marine Autonomous Systems related companies for the centre's Marine Autonomy and Robotic Systems Innovation Centre: MARSIC.




The Marine Autonomous and Robotic Systems (MARS) research group at the UK National Oceanographic Centre (NOC), has been at the forefront of AUV design and development for marine science applications for over 20 years. MARS has developed three types of AUVs in it's Autosub range, and its vehicles have been taken to many exotic areas, including Greenland and Antarctica, where it investigated the dark mysterious ice caverns under floating ice shelves, and the deep Caribbean, where it helped discover the world's deepest 'black smoker' hydrothermal vent. 

Following support from the UK's Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, the NOC are now establishing the Marine Autonomous and Robotic Systems Innovation Centre (MARSIC) in Southampton. Here, the NOC will share its extensive experience of deploying MAS in challenging environments for marine science applications, with SME’s developing MAS technology, to stimulate both new product and service development in a growth market offering significant commercial opportunities.




• Seismic Project Manager/Support Enginer - This challenging new role will provide planning, coordination and sea-going support for seismic projects with particular responsibility for state-of-the-art equipment such as: i) multichannel seismic streamers and towing systems; ii) data acquisition, logging and quality control systems; and iii) airgun shot timing, navigation and firing systems.


• AUV Lead Mechanical Engineer/Operations Manager - You will oversee the operational aspects of the AUV deployments and also act as the Lead Mechanical Engineer for the team.


• AUV Mechanical Engineer - Your work will include mechanical development of the AUVs and the ship and shore based infrastructure to operate these vehicles. The project topics include pressure vessels, basic naval architecture and integration of scientific sensors.


The full particulars for all the above posts and details of how to apply may be found at http://noc.ac.uk/jobs





For the first time ever, researchers discovered a whale skeleton on the sea floor near Antarctica using the ISIS. Thanks to advancements made with recording technology, the group from Southampton University was also able to capture nine new deep-sea species surviving off the skeletal remains. The planet's largest animals are also a part of the ecology of the very deep ocean, providing a rich habitat of food and shelter for deep sea animals for many years after their death. When a whale dies and falls to the sea floor, scavengers come in and quickly strip the carcass of its flesh. After that, organisms come in and colonize the skeleton, draining it of any remaining nutrients. Afterwards, bacteria come in and break down the remaining fats store in whale bones before finally, organisms come in and digest what remains of the whale bone. The ISIS ROV is a work-class vehicle capable of descending to a depth of 6500m. The underwater vehicle is supported with a containerised control room, workshop and spares storage, with a Launch and Recovery System (LARS). Suitably sized and dynamically positioned (DP) ships of opportunity allow the system to be freighted and operated around the world.





Wholly owned by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the NOC was formed by bringing together the NERC-managed activity at Liverpool’s Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory and the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, creating the UK’s leading institution for sea level science, coastal and deep ocean research and technology development. The new centre works in close partnership with institutions across the UK marine science community.

A central goal of NERC’s strategy is the creation of more integrated research communities to tackle the greatest environmental challenges of our age, with marine science making a vital contribution. The National Oceanography Centre is working with its partners to address key science challenges including sea level change, the oceans’ role in climate change, predicting and simulating the behaviour of the oceans through computer modelling, development, the future of the Arctic Ocean and long-term monitoring technologies.

A major element of the new approach is seeing the NOC develop a strategic network of Partners and Associates - at universities and research institutes - working collaboratively with the centre in its support of world-class research, technology development and training the scientists of the future. Together, these organisations form the NOC Association, sharing in the delivery of NERC marine science priorities.

The NOC focus is on providing capability to meet the needs of the whole of the country’s marine research community, including Royal Research Ships, deep submersibles, advanced ocean sensors and instruments. It will also be home to the global mean sea level data archive, the UK’s sea level monitoring system for flood warning and climate change, the national archive of subsea sediment cores (key to the understanding of historic climate change) and the British Oceanographic Data Centre. Making sure that these facilities are responsive to the requirements of the wide range of users are at the heart of the centre’s approach to delivering national capability.




COMPUTER SIMULATION - Dr Katya Popova, an ocean modeller at the NOC held workshops at the Ocean Business event in April 2015. She showed how the latest advances in ocean circulation computer modelling are providing increased detail for environmental consultants – including how new sea routes could appear in the Arctic in the future and how plastic and oil ocean waste distribution might be predicted. This could be an invaluable tool for projects like the SeaVax ocean cleaning robots if allied to the proposed SeaNet fleet operations. At the time of writing SeaVax is a 'proof of concept' model, with the team now looking to design and build a full size prototype.



On 1 April 2012 a new facility came into being within Sea Systems – Marine Autonomous and Robotic Systems (MARS).

MARS is being created with a clear purpose: "To deliver National Capability in Autonomous Vehicles in an impartial and transparent manner to the UK’s marine science community, incorporating operations, research and development and to provide a focal point and champion for this community, raising its profile and impact with key stakeholders, research funding bodies and the public."

The initial vehicle fleet will comprise the three members of the Autosub family and a total of eleven undersea gliders. MARS staff will undertake research and development projects as well as providing operational support to science programmes.


Autosub LR - NOC, NERC


Autosub LR pressure domes, battery and sonar





Xylem Analytics UK were pleased to announce that REGISTRATION IS WAS OPEN for the 53rd Marine Measurement Forum held on Thursday 28th November 2013 at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS).


The format for the day was a series of 15-20 minute talks on topics ranging from scientific research, instrumentation or survey projects etc. In a break from tradition and to make the most of the fantastic facilities at NOC, a tour of the Marine Autonomous and Robotic Systems (MARS) facilities, and the British Ocean Sediment Core Research Facility (BOSCORF) will be provided. Both of these offer a fascinating insight into some of the work performed at NOC.

The cost for the one day event was £37.50 + VAT (incl. lunch & refreshments).


We have already received a wide range of submissions and in a few weeks, we will be in a position to provide a provisional programme. 


However, there is still time to send in a request to present by emailing david.goldsmith@xyleminc.com


Please provide a provisional title for your presentation and a short summary of the proposed topic(s). Nearer the event we will compile the final list of speakers and notify you if you have been selected. The overall aim is to provide delegates with a varied and balanced series of presentations, so selection cannot simply be on a first-come, first-served basis.







The NOC’s partners include the University of Southampton, whose Ocean and Earth Science academic unit is co-located at the NOC’s dockside headquarters, home to around 520 research scientists, engineers and technicians, ship operations and support staff, as well as around 700 undergraduate and postgraduate students. The University of Liverpool is the NOC’s other hosting partner and postgraduate students are taught in a research-led environment in NOC's Joseph Proudman Building on the university's campus.


The NOC is responsible for managing UK marine science national capability. This includes provision of major facilities, programmes of sustained observing, survey, mapping, data management and other functions. The NOC also manages contracts placed by NERC with other organisations to provide some national capability functions. Such organisations are known as Delivery Partners and include:


Plymouth Marine Laboratory

Scottish Association for Marine Science

Plymouth Marine Laboratory

British Antarctic Survey

British Geological Survey

Marine Biological Association

Sir Alistair Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science (named after Alistair Hardy)


The centre is committed to international engagement and has developed a range of international partnerships through the International and Strategic Partnerships Office, including an alliance of Europe’s three principal oceanographic research institutions with Ifremer of France and IFM Geomar of Germany.




TONIGHT! MARINE LIFE TALK – 7 June 2012  19:30pm - PLASTIC PLANET at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton  - by Jennifer Durden –

Plastic has become ubiquitous in the developed world in the last 60 years, and much of it ends up as waste in our oceans: up to 95% of marine waste is plastic debris. This talk will cover how this waste gets in to our oceans, where it collects, and how it directly and indirectly affects the marine food web, and ultimately humans. A reduction of plastic debris is one of the most easily attainable improvements that we can make to the marine environment, and ways for you to help will be discussed.

Jennifer Durden is a PhD student at the University of Southampton studying the ecology of the deep sea. Prior to coming to Southampton, she obtained a degree in engineering and worked as an environmental consultant cleaning up terrestrial contaminated sites in Canada, Egypt and the UK. She hopes to ultimately combine her interests in pollution and marine ecology, and keep her plastic in the recycling bin.





The International and Strategic Partnerships Office (ISPO) is part of NERC's National Marine Capability. ISPO works with the UK and international marine science community and a variety of marine and maritime partners in the private and government sector to improve dialogue and sustained interaction in an inclusive, impartial way.


ISPO provides the secretariat for Oceans 2025, the NERC marine centres' strategic research programme for 2007-2012, and also provides the NERC contribution to the secretariat for the UK Government's Marine Science Co-ordination Committee (MSCC).


The International and Strategic Partnerships Office is the NOC focus for international engagement and the development of international partnerships. We represent the UK marine science community at the European Science Foundation (ESF) Marine Board, and lead the UK's input to the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC). We host the CLIVAR international project office, part of the World Climate Research Programme.


Autosub recovery, NOC, Southampton


Autosub recovery






National Oceanography Centre
University of Southampton Waterfront Campus
European Way
Southampton SO14 3ZH
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 6666

National Oceanography Centre
Joseph Proudman Building
6 Brownlow Street
Liverpool L3 5DA
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)151 795 4800






Australian Maritime - British Ocean Data Centre - Geneve - Hawaii Renewable - NERC - Newcastle Naval

NOC Oceanographic - Plymouth - Portsmouth - Queensland - Seoul Naval - SOTON

Strathclyde Marine - Sussex - TU Delft - USP South Pacific - Webb Institute


The James Cook research vessel


LOADSA MONEY - The National Oceanography Centre Southampton (NOCS) is a centre for research, teaching, and technology development in Ocean and Earth science. NOCS was created in 1995 jointly between the University of Southampton and the UK Natural Environment Research Council and is located within the port of Southampton at a purpose-built dockside campus with modern facilities. In 2010 the University and NERC components demerged, and the NERC-managed component became the National Oceanography Centre (NOC – with the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory in Liverpool).


The two components of NOCS continue close collaboration through the jointly run Graduate School, shared research facilities and laboratories, complementary research groups, and many joint research grants and publications. The University component “Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton” (OES) is part of the Faculty of Natural and Environmental Sciences, (FNES). It was ranked 30th in the world for Earth and Marine Sciences by the QS World University Rankings in 2014.


NOC, Southampton, UK


The NOC is wholly owned by the NERC monopoly and brings together the NERC-managed activity at Liverpool’s former Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory and the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, creating the UK’s leading institution for sea level science, coastal and deep ocean research and technology development. The new centre works in close partnership with institutions across the UK marine science community.








Oceanology International OI China 2014 Conference Programme Remote Technology Underwater Kevin Forshaw

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Wolverine ZCC, zero carbon cruiser


PATENT PENDING - The big boy in ocean cleanups and research, Bluefish ZCC technology provides a means to act on information received during oceanographic surveys. Small autonomous marine survey craft are fine as far as collecting data is concerned, but useless in certain circumstances where useful work is required, without end effectors onboard that may be deployed in hands on fashion. An adapted ZCC would be capable of harvesting plastic from the 5 major ocean gyre garbage pools, that so far nobody seems to want to tackle.


By cutting the cost of oceanographic survey and speeding up data collection, we will learn more about the oceans, for which the Bluefish ZCC platform is the ideal robotic ocean workhorse. 


BIOLOGICAL SAMPLING - A Bluefish ZCC can be manned or unmanned. It is a scientific work station. Depending on specification, this incredibly versatile design can be put to most uses, even collecting and transporting live samples, with a modified ROV dock - used as a capture and holding tank for marine life, instead of housing a dedicated submersible.


This ship uses no diesel fuel in the quest to monitor the oceans at relatively high cruising speeds of between 7-10 knots, 24/7 and 365 days a year. What makes all of this possible is the revolutionary energy harvesting system that provides a power to weight ratio of more than 3kW per ton, with up to 7kW per ton being attainable using more exotic materials. That gives oceanographers the power to do more.


OIL SPILLS - Dedicated versions of the Bluefish ZCC platform could be deployed as oil clean-up robots, to cope with disasters like the Deepwater Horizon.


PLASTIC OCEANS - Adapted ZCCs operating in SeaNet fashion, could form a fleet to clean up the oceans of harmful waste that is estimated to be some 269,000 tons in size across an area roughly the size of Texas.













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