The Royal Navy's survey ship HMS Enterprise has captured high resolution underwater scans of two large mountains on the seabed off the coast of Northern Africa, measuring 1100m and 930m tall. (For comparison, the Rock of Gibraltar, pictured in the previous news item, stands 425m tall)
Though intriguing, the two 'seamounts' pose very real dangers to shipping. While their existence was known about, the high-res scans taken with the ship's multi-beam echo sounder has allowed the hydrographers onboard to create a much more detailed picture of the hazardous topological formations.
Able Seaman Stephen Martin, one of the ship's hydrographic trainees, said: "It was amazing to see such massive natural features under what looks like a flat calm and peaceful ocean. For me, it is really special to know that you're helping merchant vessels safely navigate around the world."
The hydrographic survey ship, which is usually based in Plymouth, gathers and processes hydrographic and oceanographic data for planning and operational purposes.
In addition this data will be dispatched to the UK Hydrographic Office for analysis and inclusion into navigational charts and other navigational safety publications.
Since leaving the United Kingdom in June 2014, HMS Enterprise has been busy mapping some of the busiest shipping lanes and maritime chokepoints in world, including the Suez Canal, the Bab el Mandeb Straits and the Strait of Hormuz.
After a minor refit in Bahrain, home to the United Kingdom's Maritime Component Commander in the Middle East, the survey ship returned to sea to continue with important oceanographic work, helping scientists from around the world conduct climate modelling tests and making navigation safer for seafarers.
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