Swire Seabed (SBA) is a fully-owned subsidiary of Swire Pacific Offshore (SPO) headquartered in Bergen, Norway. Acquired by SPO in 2012, SBA prides itself as subsea specialists in undertaking challenging subsea operations. SBA provides a suite of bespoke integrated services in IMR, subsea construction, subsea engineering and subsea survey to the global oil & gas industry.
To visit Swire Seabed's corporate website, please click here.
Some of SBA's core services include:
Over the years, Swire Seabed has amassed an impressive track record, from the recent recovery of the missing ARA San Juan submarine in Argentina, to the extensive search for the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370.
Below are some notable signature projects.
Recovery of long-lost engines from NASA Apollo 11 Space programme at 4,200 metres depth
In 2013, Swire Seabed was awarded the contract to recover the F-1 engines launched during the historic Apollo 11 missions as part of an expedition led by CEO and Chairman of Amazon, Jeff Bezos. The F-1 engines are iconic pieces of history. Jeff Bezos wanted to retrieve them from the seabed and make them accessible to all as he hoped to inspire a new generation to take on Apollo-scale challenges in science and engineering.
Apollo 11 was the first manned mission to land on the moon in 1969. The spaceflight successfully landed the first two humans, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the Moon. The 32-million horsepower engines had crashed into the sea, offshore Cape Canaveral, USA, after carrying their loads into space and re-entering the earth’s atmosphere at over 5,000 mph. The rockets then sunk three miles deep in the Atlantic, where they rested for over 30 years until they were successfully re-located and salvaged by Swire Seabed, with the use of its state-of-the-art deep-sea sonar, equipment and deep-water expertise.
Two modern Schilling HD work class Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) with a depth capacity of 5,000 metres were flown by Swire Seabed pilots, who skilfully manoeuvered the manipulators to rig slings around the artefacts from their control rooms on board. The ROV systems incorporated sophisticated technology, with fibre optic cables relaying data from the sea-floor to the vessel whilst electric cables transferred high voltages to the vehicle.
Swire Seabed's Schilling HD work class ROVs conducting deep sea salvage of Apollo 11 engines.
The ROVs were also equipped with high-definition cameras, which allowed the pilots to record the remains of the engines on the seabed. The rocket engines were retrieved from the seabed in customised baskets designed and fabricated by Swire Seabed using a lightweight, fibre rope, fed through a winch and tower system on the back deck of Swire Seabed’s vessel, the Seabed Worker. More information and subsea footage of the ROVs in operation can be viewed at http://www.bezosexpeditions.com/
Record-breaking salvage of more than 110 tonnes of silver from an Atlantic shipwreck at 4,700 metres depth
In 2012, Swire Seabed clocked a milestone achievement of the heaviest and deepest recovery of precious metals from a shipwreck known to date. A record-breaking of more than 110 tonnes of silver (2,800 bars of silver) worth 38 million pounds were successfully recovered from the SS Gairsoppa shipwreck, at a depth of 4,700 metres. Swire Seabed was commissioned by the Odyssey Marine Exploration, who was working under contract with the British government’s Department of Transport. The SS Gairsoppa was a 412-foot steel-hulled British steam merchant ship built in Jarrow and launched in 1919. During the Second World War (WWII), the vessel was on its way back to Britain from India when it ran low on fuel in stormy weather. It tried to divert to Galway Harbour, but was hit by a torpedo from a German submarine and sank.
110 tonnes of silver recovered from an Altantic shipwreck by Swire Seabed's Schilling HD ROVs.
The ultra-deep water salvage operation involved cutting-edge ROV technology and advanced operational experience. Two WROV systems were deployed and operated by Swire Seabed’s pilots. Two Schilling HD 5,000 metres ROV systems, large hydraulic shears, grabs, hydraulic saws, dredging tools were also operated from the vessel to assist in the recovery of the largest haul of precious metals ever discovered at sea.
Malaysia Airlines MH 370 AUV Search
In 2018, Swire Seabed’s vessel, the Seabed Constructor was deployed by Ocean Infinity, a technology company that specialises in the collection of high-resolution seabed data, to resume the search for the wreckage of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH 370, which vanished over the Indian Ocean in March 2014. Seabed Constructor played an instrumental role in the renewed search efforts as the host vessel for simultaneous survey missions performed by an advanced fleet of eight Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) utilising multi-frequency side scan sonar and multi-beam echo-sounders. While the AUVs were owned and operated by Ocean Infinity, Swire Seabed’s survey department was responsible for the mission planning online and the overall data production offline.
Seabed Constructor searching for the missing MH 370 with a USV and AUV.
During the course of the operation, the team searched and collected high quality data from over 112,000 km² of ocean floor in approximately three months of operational days, almost the same area as the previous search achieved in two and a half years.
Work in progress at Seabed Worker's ROV Online Control Room.