Hydramec and Scantrol are honoured to have worked together once again to supply bespoke subsea winches to facilitate the Endurance22 expedition.

In 1915, Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance, was crushed by ice and sank in Antarctica’s Weddell sea. Although there have been several expeditions to find the ship, none have previously succeeded. But this year, the Endurance22 expedition, carried out by The Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust, found the vessel in March 2022.

Endurance 25000m Winch

Hydramec provided the expedition with two 25000m winches with 3.5mm fibre optic cable. The fibre optic cable would be tethered to the autonomous unmanned vehicle (AUV) to gather real-time data during the ship’s survey. Without this type of cable, the crew would have had to bring the AUV back to the vessel to see the images.

It was also a requirement that the winches be made from aluminium to cope with the cold temperatures of the Weddell Sea. The winches, including the cable, needed to weigh less than 1.5 tonnes. This was to ensure they could be helicoptered onto the ice if necessary.

Other bespoke design features included having a special drive set up on the level wind. This allowed tension to be kept on the cable continuously and could be adjusted by a control system. The winches also had to have skis on the bottom to be easily towed along the ice if required.

Hydramec’s Managing Director Danny Church said: “We at Hydramec are so pleased to have been able to play a part in this momentous achievement. Being able to take on a project of this nature and turn it from a concept to operational equipment is again a testament to the hard work and dedication of the Hydramec team and its valued supplier, Scantrol. To say I am proud of my team is an understatement and the result cements Hydramec’s position as one of the worlds go to companies for launch and recovery systems.”

As Hydramec’s partner of control systems for many years, Scantrol is extremely proud and excited to take part in this successful project.

“Scantrol has been part of many unique and exciting subsea operations, it is great to also contribute to this historical event that has taken place in extreme and harsh conditions”, says Rolf Krogh Hjelmeland, Business Development Manager for Scantrol’s Active Heave Compensation Solutions.

We are all incredibly honoured to have been a part of this historic moment.

The stern of Endurance – Falklands Heritage Trust / National Geographic
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