Hi-tech buoys will help to predict lethal earthquakes

CHAOS The aftermath of 2011's tsunami off Japan
CHAOS The aftermath of 2011's tsunami off Japan
From the left are Chief Fire Officer Neil Odin, Margaret Aldridge, Yvonne Ferguson, daughter of Margaret, and Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Councillor Ken Ellcome Picture: Duncan Shepherd (180086_010)

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EARTHQUAKES and tsunamis can cause devastation.

But thanks to a Portchester company, predicting them accurately could be one step closer.

ASV has designed and manufactured a water buoy at its base in Trafalgar Wharf.

It can predict earthquakes under the sea and help provide early warnings and one has been sent to Japan.

The device, called a C-Stat 2, is the first of its kind and runs without the need for an operator.

It will be used by Tohoku University to carry equipment which will help predict earthquakes off the Japanese coast.

The C-Stat hull is made of aluminium and is powered by a hybrid diesel-electric drive system.

It can work for up to four days and can withstand currents of up to 3.5 knots.

It has no chains and uses thrusters to keep it in place.

ASV managing director Dan Hook said: ‘The autonomous technology means that it can stay in place without anybody on board.

‘This saves money and also means that these buoys can go out in dangerous waters as nobody is put at risk.

‘Also, companies can launch lots of them to complete a wider-ranging research.’

The vessel is controlled by a satellite link and could be used for surveying and monitoring sea life.

Vince Dobbin, head of business development at ASV, said: ‘It’s an outstanding achievement to be supplying something which will help the Japanese to predict earthquakes and tsunamis.

‘We hope that this is just the start of a family of buoys and we will be working to engineer bigger and more advanced buoys. It has been a huge success’

Originally formed in 1998, ASV moved to Portchester in 2010 and now employs 20 people.

Mr Dobbin added: ‘It’s fantastic for such a young company as ours to be building such an exciting product and more importantly exporting from the UK – a real bonus for British manufacturing.’

ASV supplies the oil and gas market, and the military, with unmanned systems.