Containerised Autonomous Marine Environmental Laboratory (CAMEL)


Containerised Autonomous Marine Environmental Laboratory (CAMEL)

Deployment and use of the Containerised Autonomous Marine Environmental Laboratory (CAMEL) facility

The capacity of many Small Island Developing States to conduct marine scientific research within their extended economic zones is limited by the fact that they cannot afford to design, build and operate the research vessels required to achieve the necessary geographic coverage or sampling rate. In order to address this limitation and provide beneficiary countries and remote areas with access to state of the art scientific equipment the CME Programme has funded the development and deployment of the Containerised Autonomous Marine Environmental Laboratory (CAMEL) – a fully containerised facility that can be shipped to any port and deployed from a quayside, beach or vessel, which houses autonomous systems that can be used by SIDS to map and monitor their own marine environments.

The CAMEL facility comprises an AUTONOMOUS (UNMANNED) SURFACE VESSEL (USV) and three separate payloads for scientific subsea data collection.  The facility includes two 20’ ISO containers which function as an Operations Room and a Workshop during a deployment. The USV is controlled via a radio link from either a mobile operations room or from a manned surface boat. The USV can collect data, repeatably, while scientists conduct other tasks such as gathering seabed images with an ROV. Having the sensors pre-installed on the USV eliminates in-country set up time.

Other operational equipment included within the facility includes a weather station, wave measuring buoy with GPS, sound velocity profiler, a micro Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), a micro AUV and an inflatable boat with outboard motor.    1. Camel In Dominica

To date, the CAMEL Facility has been successfully deployed for scientific data collection twice in the Commonwealth of Belize in 2018 and again 2019, and once in Dominica in 2019 as part of the Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme. The deployments in Belize have investigated coastal ocean acidification, coral health and supported carbon capture research.  The deployment in Dominica delivered marine habitat maps for two protected marine areas.



Terry Wood
Principal Investigator

James Burris


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