Surveying shipwrecks at Forfar Probus Club

Martin Dean (right) with Bill Redford of Forfar Probus Club, who proposed the vote of thanks.

Martin Dean (right) with Bill Redford of Forfar Probus Club, who proposed the vote of thanks.

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AN ilustrated talk about surveying shipwrecks was given to 44 members of Forfar Probus Club last week when they welcomed Martin Dean from Ceres in Fife.

Martin gained his BSc in archaeology from London University, was a trained diver and spent his early career with the National Maritime Museum underwater section, settling in Scotland in 1986 with a post at St Andrews University. He set up Advanced Underwater Surveys and is invited to inspect wrecks all over the world, using state of the art technology.

He explained how a high-resolution sonar scanner can, with sophisticated software, produce from a series of high frequency sound pulses an accurate photo-like picture, with scale measurements of the wreck and surrounding seabed down to centimetres. Members were astounded at the clarity of the images shown. Martin illustrated a number of WW2 ships on the bottom around the coasts of Britain, perhaps the most poignant, the upturned hulk of battleship Royal Oak, sunk in Scapa Flow by a German U-boat in 1939, a designated war grave for 833 men. There were scans of the lost nuclear Russian submarine Andreyevsky in the Arctic waters of the Barent Sea in 2003 and the seabed oil well of Deepwater Horizon after the disastrous fire in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010. Martin’s fascinating talk generated a great interest and prompted a number of follow-up questions from members.