Inventor’s subsea robots could help out salvaging ship

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INVENTOR John Corney is hoping to put his two subsea robots to work on the Hoegh Osaka – the stricken ship which ran aground in the Solent.

The 58-year-old, who has extensive experience with remotely operated vehicles, has been building the two machines in his living room in Southsea.

John Corney and his remotely operated submarine.''Picture: Allan Hutchings (143648-233)

John Corney and his remotely operated submarine.''Picture: Allan Hutchings (143648-233)

Mr Corney’s passion for sub sea robots has taken him all over the world and he couldn’t be more surprised to see potential work literally landing on his doorstep.

He said: ‘It’s extraordinary. Thank God nobody was seriously injured. How many people would ever expect that there would be important work for a deep sea robot right here in the Solent?

‘I can nearly see the ship for my living room window.’

The ship is being monitored by salvage crews, something Mr Corney is keen to get involved with, especially after his experience monitoring the Costa Concordia cruise ship when it sank off Italy in 2012 with the loss of 32 lives.

He said: ‘I have the right type of experience – the subsea robots could be used to look at the cause of the list or check on the cargo.

‘My understanding is that they have done a temporary repair so they can pump the water out to try and get it more buoyant so it is safe to move.

‘My robots could assist the divers. On the Costa Concordia they helped keep the divers safe by watching them.’

Mr Corney has built both robots from scratch after buying parts on the internet and he has spent thousands learning how to pilot them.

He is optimistic for the future and has set up a business called Rov Spec Ltd and he hopes to specialise in hull cleaning.

Mr Corney said ships could save £750,000 a year by using his robots to clean their hulls as he has developed a way of heat-shocking moss and using UVC light to kill bacteria so marine growth falls off when the vessel goes back to sea.

The Hoegh Osaka, a 51,000-tonne ship carrying more than £30m worth of vehicles, was stranded on a sandbank on Wednesday.

Its cargo includes 1,200 Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles, 65 Mini cars and 105 pieces of JCB construction equipment.