Search and Recovery ROVs

Liberty Bell 7, shown on sea floor, was located by OCEAN EXPLORER 6000 and recovered by MAGELLAN 725

Liberty Bell 7, shown on sea floor, was located by OCEAN EXPLORER 6000 and recovered by MAGELLAN 725

Oceaneering International, Inc. (OII) is an advanced technology company that provides engineered products and services to Customers who operate in marine, space, and other harsh environments. Oceaneering Technologies (OTECH) has over 27 years experience in the subsea search and recovery business, including 25 years as the operator and maintainer of the U.S. Navy’s deep ocean search and recovery assets.

OTECH’s search and recovery assets include the MAGELLAN 725 ROV, the OCEAN EXPLORER 6000 side scan sonar system, and the OCEAN DISCOVERY ROV. These assets, and more importantly, our operators with years of at-sea experience, provide customers with the same capabilities as the U.S. Navy for search and recovery operations. If additional capabilities are needed, OTECH can draw from hundreds of experienced operators and Oceaneering’s vast fleet of ROVs (over 125), sonar search systems, atmospheric diving suits, and ships. So, no matter how large the job, OII’s world-wide personnel and assets ensure the success of any search and recovery operation.



Since 1995, OTECH performed over 25 searches for the U.S. Navy in waters less than 6,000 fsw, four searches in deep water (up to 19,000 fsw), 22 recoveries in less than 8,000 fsw, and two recoveries in more than 8,000 fsw. Additionally, commercial search and recovery operations were conducted, including the recent search and recovery of a Ministry of Defense (MOD) Lynx Helicopter from over 12,600 fsw.

This Lynx search and recovery operation demonstrates OTECH’s capability to respond to a customers requirements. The MOD RFQ was received on a Friday, responses due the following Monday, with the requirement to immediately deploy. OTECH submitted their competitive bid on schedule, procured one of OII’s ships, The Performer from Florida, and left Norfolk one week after award of contract. The Lynx’s pinger was not operational, requiring a detailed search operation with OII’s assets. The Lynx was successfully located and recovered.


Bismark Gun Turrets, photographed by MAGELLAN 725

Our search and recovery mission experience is very diverse, from locating and salvaging of aircraft, to locating shipwrecks, to the recovery of Civil War artifacts. Our customers include: The Friends of the Hunley, Britain’s Ministry of Defense (MOD), CBS 60 Minutes II, and The Discovery Channel to name a few.

Recent projects include:

  • Locating and photographing the H.M.S. Hood and D.K.M Bismarck
  • Locating and recovery of the Mercury space capsule Liberty Bell 7
  • Locating and salvaging a Lynx helicopter for MOD
  • Locating World War II German artifacts in Lake Toplitz, Austria
  • Titanic documentation, including Titanic Live! Support with Magellan 725 and recent Discovery Channel investigations using SpiderBOT
  • Riser search and Revover after Hurricane Katrina
  • Post-Tsunami fault location and documentation

Some of the more high profile missions we conducted for the U.S. Navy include:

  • Flight TWA 800
  • Locating and recovery of JFK Jr’s airplane
  • Alaska Air Flight 261
  • EgyptAir Flight 990