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You’ve likely walked in a muddy wilderness area and seen animal tracks and tried to identify then.  Or, you’ve had the same experience with tracks in the snow.  So what would leave these tracks on AIS?

The vessel has been working the Sound for a few weeks.   The two blue vessels here are Cross Sound ferries....


Here’s the answer:  Deep Helder, a 2014 vessel conducting sea bed mapping.  Helder is the Dutch word for clear, hence the post title.  In the distance, those are the hills of Connecticut.

Deep Helder is a 213′ by 52′ multipurpose offshore supply vessel, contracted to stay in US waters for a time yet.  More on MMT surveying here.

Note a cable supported from the port stern here.  I got these photos from the Cross Sound New London and never got closer than two nm from the vessel.

I hope to get closer up photos and learn more of who all’s on board . . .

All photos/info and any errors, WVD, who could have called this “exotic,” of course.

I counted a dozen wind farm and other offshore construction project-related vessels in a triangle defined by NYC, Nantucket, and Atlantic City.  These are vessels of a sort not previously seen here, or rarely seen here.   Two of them came in through the Narrows yesterday just in front of the 2020 tropical storm Fay.  The name “Fay” was also used for a deadlier storm in 2008.

The first was  Royal, a DP2 platform supply vessel.  She’s a Jones Act workboat, 2004-launched in Mobile AL by Bender Shipbuilding.

The 252′ x 54′ vessel has accommodations for 22 crew.

I don’t know what she’s been doing in the several months she’s been in the triangle, but prior to coming in yesterday, she’d remained in an area outside the Ambrose seabuoy for the better part of a week.


She’s part of the huge Tidewater fleet, which includes Highland Eagle as well, which is also in the triangle now.

Following Royal was Fugro Brasilis, non-Jones Act.

She’s 219′ x 46′ and has accommodations for 42.

She’s been off Atlantic City for over a month, but this is my first time to see her in the sixth boro.

Fugro is a Dutch multinational, operating in 61 countries.  I’ve mentioned before here that “fugro” is an acronym for “Funderingstechniek en Grondmechanica, Dutch, translated to “Engineering Company for Foundation Technology and Soil Mechanics,”  which would make a much less-pronounceable acronym.

Note the rain here?

I mentioned above that over a dozen vessels of this sort are in the triangle.  I’d love to see them all at some point, but most intriguing three for me are Deep Helder*, GoLiberty, and Aqueos Splash.

* “helder” is Dutch for “bright.”

All photos, WVD.

The other vessels in the triangle are Kommandor Susan, Kommandor Iona, Horizon Geology, Fugro Explorer, Fugro Searcher, Commander, Ocean Observer, Ocean Endeavour (now in Elizabethport).  If anyone has taken photos of any of these vessels recently in the triangle, I’d love to see them.


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