Breaking news from Australia:
THE Australian navy is standing by to help rescue two people aboard a civilian submarine rescue craft stranded on the ocean floor off the West Australian coast.Here's a picture of the Remora:
An Australian Submarine Rescue Vehicle (ASRV) ran into difficulty about midnight when the winching system failed as it was being recovered during certification trials.
The Australian Defence Force says the two personnel aboard the vessel, called the Remora, were in no danger.
The Remora, operated by the civilian diving contractor Caldive, was lowered, in accordance with safety procedures, to the sea bed and was currently sitting in 130 metres of water.
The two people aboard remain connected to the mother ship, Motor Vessel Seahorse Standard, by a secondary cable which gives them power and allows them to communicate with the vessel.
It may be able to be used for lifting the Remora in an emergency.
The Australian Defence Force (ADF) says the frigate HMAS ANZAC, navy clearance divers and medical personnel were standing by to help Caldive if needed.
"The current weather conditions preclude a controlled recovery of the ASRV at this time, but an emergency option remains available if required," ADF said in a statement.
Caldive is currently developing a rescue plan with help from the Royal Australian Navy...
...But it was taking part in a navy submarine escape exercise in the Western Australian exercise areas at the time of the incident.
Caldive appears to be a subsidiary of Helix. For now, it looks like the situation is well in hand.
Staying at PD...
Update 2210 04 Dec: It looks like the Remora and M/V Seahorse Standard are frequently used for sea trials and submarine rescue exercises. There are many pictures of the Remora here and here, one of which shows her on her support ship.
The last coastal warning for the Seahorse Standard was from 21 Nov, which said:
FM RCC AUSTRALIA 212120Z NOV 06
AUSCOAST WARNING 309/06 SW.COAST
SUBMARINE SEARCH AND RESCUE EXERCISE BY ROYAL AUSTRALIAN NAVY IN AREA BOUNDED BY 3140S TO 3200S AND 11450E TO 11530E. MV SEAHORSE STANDARD
IN ATTENDANCE AND ENGAGED IN UNDERWATER OPERATIONS. 2.0 NM CLEARANCE REQUESTED.
The Sunday Times has this article discussing the capabilities of the Remora.
Here's the ISMERLO (International Submarine Escape and Rescue Liaison Office) homepage, which might have some updates if any international forces are needed.
Update 2235 04 Dec: They've been rescued.