Aqua Ventus Subsea Cable Survey: Port Clyde to Monhegan

This project has been postponed until January 1, 2018.

More info will follow via mail and email, or check back here

This was the email that was sent to Zone D Lobster License Holders around St. George/Monhegan on Friday November 3rd and includes the most recent chart. 

Attention Zone D License Holders around St George and Monhegan:

In response to feedback received from the Zone D fishing community and the Maine Department of Marine Resources, Maine Aqua Ventus (MAV) is delaying its subsea geophysical survey between Port Clyde and Monhegan Test Site. The survey, initially scheduled for November 2017, will instead move to early January 2018. Our goal is to minimize potential impact and provide ample time for the fishing community to prepare for the survey.

We believe that adequate advance notice was not provided to the fishing community for the November survey dates. Please accept our apologies for this inadvertent oversight. We are delaying the survey from Port Clyde to the Monhegan Test Site even though it comes at a considerable financial cost. We remain committed to moving forward in a manner that includes involvement and guidance by local communities and fishermen.

Please consider this as official notice for the survey in January with the survey route provided as an attachment. We will send additional information by postal mail. MAV-SurveyRoute-Jan2018

We know there have been many legitimate questions about how this or future projects could affect fishing traditions, and we are redoubling our efforts to listen to your concerns and suggestions. Please get in touch with us at any time, and plan on attending future informational forums. 

Josh Plourde
University of Maine
(207) 907-0069 (mobile)

the information below was released prior to November 3rd, 2017

Here is an overview of the seabed geophysical survey planned for  January 1, 2018 November 4-21, 2017, weather permitting,  will help determine the cable path and assembly area for the The Maine Aqua Ventus (MAV) floating offshore wind turbine demonstration project requires a seabed survey of the cable route from the wind turbine array located approximately 2.5 miles (4.0km) south of Monhegan Island and running approximately 26km (14 nm) north to the Port Clyde area.

The seabed survey will be conducted by Alpine Ocean Seismic Survey, Inc. (Alpine), utilizing the R/V Shearwater (Fig. 1) and the M/V William M (Fig. 2) survey vessels, a very experienced firm in doing this type work for offshore wind farms and the Oil & Gas industry. Alpine routinely works collaboratively with the fishing community to minimize interference with fishing gear.

The proposed cable and survey route follows an existing charted cable way (Fig.  4) specifically selected to minimize any impact on fishermen and fishing activities. Other areas to be surveyed include: the test site 2.3 miles (3.7km) South of Monhegan Island (Fig. 5) and Upper Penobscot Bay (Fig. 6). 

A gear compensation program has been established in case of accidental fishing gear interference. The survey will determine the seafloor conditions where the cable may be placed, to help design the cable and determine the cable installation methods. It will provide a geophysical picture of the seabed contours in addition to interpreting the geology which exists along the cable route. The survey will also determine the archeological significance of any potential artifacts that may reside on or below the seabed so that they can be avoided and protected.

This survey’s results will help to inform the Maine State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) of the archeological significance of the seabed. The survey will be used to finalize permitting requirements for the installation of the transmission cable and identification of the turbine installation area, both designed to minimize impacts to the environment and the fishing community.

Length: 33.5m (110 ft); beam: 12m (39.4 ft); draft: 2.13m (7 ft).

Length: 6.7m (22 ft); beam: 2.4m (8 ft); draft: 0.6m (2 ft)

Please note that all dates provided in this document are subject to change.Hydrographic survey work is 100% dependent on weather conditions for successful data collection. MAV aims to stay as close to the proposed dates. In the event of potential schedule disruptions or changes, MAV will communicate with DMR and local stakeholders as soon as possible.

The following dates are subject to change, weather permitting. MAV aims to stay as close to the proposed dates. In the event of potential schedule disruptions or changes, MAV will communicate with DMR and local stakeholders as soon as possible.

R/V Shearwater Tasks Start End
Equipment Calibration in Boothbay Harbor 30-Oct 3-Nov
Media Day in Boothbay Harbor 3-Nov 3-Nov
Survey Port Clyde to Monhegan (WP1, Fig. 4) 24/7 4-Nov 9-Nov
Survey Test Site at Monhegan Island (WP5, Fig. 5) 24/7 10-Nov 12-Nov
Demobilization in Boothbay Harbor 13-Nov 15-Nov
M/V William M Tasks Start End
Mobilization in Boothbay Harbor, Trailored to Searsport 13-Nov 14-Nov
Survey in Searsport (WP8-1, Fig. 6), Daylight Only 15-Nov 17-Nov
Survey in Searsport (WP8-2, Fig. 6), Daylight Only 18-Nov 20-Nov
Demobilization 21-Nov 22-Nov

Key Contact for the Survey:

Matt Nixon, cell: (207) 350-9854


Alpine Ocean Seismic Survey, Inc.

Mark L. Kosakowski

(201) 693-0408

R/V Shearwater and M/V William M

Capt. Wayne Porter: (201) 312-5074

Onsite Party Cell: (201) 414-4525

Vessel Satellite Phone: (201) 297-6015

Acoustic Sound Equipment

The following acoustic sound equipment will be used as part of this survey.

  1. Sidescan Sonar which provides a high resolution acoustic image of the seabed and will help identify objects such as pinnacles, rock formations and shipwrecks that may exist along the cable route (Fig. 3). This piece of equipment will be towed.
  2. A Magnetometer will provide indications of ferrous (metal) objects on the seabed. This piece of equipment will be towed.
  3. A Sub-Bottom Profiler will provide a seismic image of the geology 3.6m (12 ft) below the seabed and will help identify the geological substructure and other obstructions.
 Survey Equipment & logistics Overview
  • A Multi-Beam Echosounder will provide a detailed map of the seabed bathymetry and geophysical content of the seabed.
  1. A Bubbler System is a seismic sonar system that will provide an acoustic picture of the geological formations found 45m (150 ft) below the seabed. This system will provide the Maine SHPO with a picture of the coastline prior to the last ice age.

Figure 3 – SB-424 Towfish (Sidescan Sonar)

Approximately  30” x 20” x 13”

Survey Logistics

The R/V Shearwater survey vessel with 22 survey crew members will work 24 hours a day, 7 days a

week to minimize impact to the community. The R/V Shearwater possesses a state of the art navigation system including duel dynamic positioning thrusters aft for main propulsion and an enclosed bow thruster forward for station keeping and maneuvering.

The vessel will deploy all of the equipment listed and will proceed at a speed no greater than 4 knots along the cable route. The vessel and survey crew will make 5 – 6 passes along the route from the turbine test site to Port Clyde and the duration anticipated to be 6 days, weather permitting.  The total survey time at the Monhegan test site is 3 days, and Upper Penobscot Bay is 6 days, weather permitting.

The survey work is a remote sensing of the environmental, geophysical, and geological conditions of the seabed and subsurface along the cable route to Port Clyde and in the UMaine Deepwater Offshore Wind Test Site at Monhegan Island.

All towed equipment, in this case, both the side scan sonar and the magnetometer, possess onboard navigational systems, allowing the shipboard operator to know precisely where each device is at all times.  At no time will the towed equipment touch the seabed or be deployed to the seabed.

Towed survey equipment on the Shearwater will be at a depth at least 3.6 to 7.2m (12 to 24 ft) off the bottom and at a distance ranging from 18 to 270m (120 to 900 ft) behind the vessel. Depth of equipment on the William M will be modified to accommodate shallower water in Upper Penobscot Bay.

This equipment is commonly used by survey companies in the pre-design engineering data collection phase. The data collected will be used by regulatory agencies, the project design team, University of Maine, and power suppliers.

Please note that all dates provided in this document are subject to change.  Hydrographic survey work is 100% dependent on weather conditions for successful data collection. MAV aims to stay as close to the proposed dates. MAV will communicate with DMR and local stakeholders as soon as possible to relay any potential schedule disruptions or changes.

Maine Aqua Ventus Cable Survey Overview – Page 3