SAMIR – Semi-Autonomous Mooring Inspection Robot
Unlike most acronyms ‘SAMIR’ actually means something. Beyond the acronym for ‘Semi-Autonomous Mooring Inspection Robot’, Samir is a Sandskrit word for ‘Amiable’ companion. And that is what SAMIR is to operators of wire mooring systems: a good companion in pursuit of the information necessary to understand the condition and performance of wire and fibre mooring systems.
Simply put, SAMIR is a non-intrusive way to inspect vast lengths of wire and fibre moorings without the risk of damaging the lines themselves.
For the past two decades wire and fibre ropes have increasingly become integral to the majority of deep and ultra-deep-water moorings systems. What is curious is that from when they were conceived through when they were installed and now up to two decades of operation there has been scant attention paid to the development of technologies and systems to assess the ‘fitness-for-purpose’ of these safety-critical mooring components.
Operational experience has shown that the incidence of wire failures far exceeds the expectations of designers and their customers. This has created strong interest in non-destructive techniques (NDT) for in situ (underwater) inspection that can assess the condition of the ever increasing inventory of aged wire mooring lines.
SAMIR was developed primarily to address this wire rope inspection need, but can also be used for the visual inspection of fibre lines. The system is a ‘crawler’ – an intelligent robot that is deployed onto the mooring line by an ROV. The robot can be configured to carry a variety of sensors, from cameras to lasers, but is primarily an MFL (Magnetic Flux Leakage) system with the ability to identify and quantify broken wires and the extent of corrosion in both sheathed and unsheathed wire.
The ability to assess damage and degradation of wire rope has been described as the ‘Holy Grail’ for operators faced with the reality of 200,000+ kilometers of ever-more-aged offshore wire. Encouragingly the technical and commercial value of the technology has been acknowledged for not only mooring wires, but also for flexible risers.
SAMIR is just one component of the unique Welaptega mooring inspection ‘toolbox’ but alone captures the aspirations of Welaptega: to provide the technology and expertise to ensure the long-term integrity of wire mooring systems.