Pisces V

Pisces V is a type of manned submersible ocean exploration device, powered by battery, and capable of operating to depths of 2,000 metres (6,600 ft), a depth that is optimum for use in the sea waters around the Hawaiian Islands. It is used by scientists to explore the deep sea around the underwater banks in the main Hawaiian Islands, as well as the underwater features and seamounts in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, specifically around Loihi Seamount.[1]

General characteristics
Name: Pisces V
Country: USA
Length: 20 ft
Width: 10 ft 6in
Height: 11 ft
Weight: 13 tons
Crew: 1 Pilot 2 Observers
Life support: 140 hours for 3 people
Maximum operating depth: 6,280 ft(~2000m)
Power: 2 lead-acid battery systems
Propulsion: 2 side mounted reversible thrusters tiltable through 90 degrees
Speed: 3 Kts
Dive duration: 7–9 hours
Materials: Personnel sphere, Trim sphere, and Aft sphere: HY 100 steel
Frame: Welded, oil-filled, pressure compensated tubular steel
Viewports: 3 forward-looking acrylic windows, 6" interior-14" dia exterior

In 1973, Pisces V took part in the rescue of Roger Mallinson and Roger Chapman, who were trapped on the seabed in Pisces V's sister submersible Pisces III.[2] In August 2002, Pisces V and her sister Pisces IV discovered a World War II Japanese midget submarine outside of Pearl Harbor which had been sunk by the destroyer USS Ward in the first American shots fired in World War II. In 2011, marine scientists from HURL celebrated the 1,000 dives of Pisces V and Pisces IV.[3]


The advantage of having two is that it allows preparation for an emergency. While one of the submersibles is conducting its dive, the other remains at readiness should there be an emergency, needing to be boarded on ship and hurried to the site of the problem. Such an emergency could include the submersible becoming tangled in fishing nets or entrapped in rocks or debris on the ocean floor. In such cases, the second heads to the rescue. There are also research experiments where it is advantageous to use the two vessels together.[1]

In August 2002, Pisces V and her sister vessel Pisces IV discovered a Japanese midget submarine; sunk on December 7, 1941 by the destroyer USS Ward in the first American shots fired in World War II, the submarine was hit by a 4"/50 caliber gun shot and depth charged shortly before the attack on Pearl Harbor began. The submarine was found in 400 metres (1,300 ft) of water about 5 miles (8.0 km) off the mouth of Pearl Harbor.[4][5] This was the culmination of a 61-year search for the vessel and has been called "the most significant modern marine archeological find ever in the Pacific, second only to the finding of Titanic in the Atlantic".[4] In 2003, Pisces V visited the Japanese midget submarine it had found in Pearl Harbor the year before. The U.S. State Department worked in conjunction with the Japanese Foreign Ministry to determine Japanese wishes regarding the fate of the midget submarine.[6] The submersibles are used by HURL as teaching devices. In 2008, two members of the Tampa Bay Chapter of SCUBAnauts were invited to team with HURL and to visit the historic wreck of the Japanese submarine. One SCUBAnaut said as he stepped on Pisces V that "it looked and felt as if I were in a space shuttle preparing for lift-off".[7] A mock-up of the control panel of Pisces V can be visited by the public at the Mokupāpapa Discovery Center in Hilo, Hawaii.[8]

On March 5, 2009, scientists discovered seven new species of bamboo coral, six of which may be of a new genus, an extraordinary finding in a genus so broad. They were able to find these specimens through the use of Pisces V which allowed them to reach depths beyond those attained by scuba divers.[9][10] They also discovered a giant sponge approximately three feet tall and three feet wide that scientists named the "cauldron sponge".[11]


  1. Shackelford, Rachel. "NOAA Ocean Explorer: Pisces IV and V". oceanexplorer.noaa.gov. Retrieved 2009-05-08.
  2. Chapman, Roger (1975). No Time On Our Side. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. pp. 98–111, 127–129. ISBN 0-393-03186-1. LCCN 75-19154.
  3. "Students nationwide virtually participate in Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory's 1,000th Pisces submersible dive". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 2011-04-05. Retrieved 2011-04-10.
  4. Wiltshire, John C. "Japanese Midget Submarine". www.soest.hawaii.edu. Retrieved 2009-09-13.
  5. "Ward". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History and Heritage Command. Retrieved 2008-05-13.
  6. Altoon, Helen (August 24, 2003). "Exploring the Deep: UH researchers who found a mini-sub will dive around the northwest islands". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved 2009-05-08.
  7. Patrick, Christine; Gorell, Fred. "NOAA Supports Young Explorers in Seafloor to Mountaintop to Outer Space Challenge". www.oar.noaa.gov. Retrieved 2009-05-08.
  8. "Mokupāpapa: Discovery Center". Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve. Retrieved 2009-09-13.
  9. Patrick, Christine; Belva, Keeley. "New Deep-Sea Coral Discovered on NOAA-Supported Mission - insciences". insciences.org. Retrieved 2009-05-08.
  10. "Seven New Species Of Deep-sea Coral Discovered". www.sciencedaily.com. March 6, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-08.
  11. "National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - New Deep-Sea Coral Discovered on NOAA-Supported Mission". www.noaanews.noaa.gov. March 5, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-11.

Further reading

This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.