NSW manufacturer expecting increased demand in hurricanes Harvey, Irma aftermath

An Australian underwater vehicles manufacturer is anticipating a “substantial increase” in the need for its technology as multi-billion recovery works begin in the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Sydney-based AquaBotix is undertaking work in affected areas of the Caribbean and US, where the hurricanes have caused devastation to offshore and coastal infrastructure.

Hurricane Harvey was the first major hurricane to make landfall in the US since Wilma in 2005, killing 71 people in the state of Texas and leaving up to US$200 billion (A$250 billion) of damage in its wake.

The impact on the US energy industry was “particularly pronounced”, AquaBotix said in a statement, with a large number of shipping facilities and around a third of the nation’s oil refineries based in the Gulf of Mexico.

Before hitting the Florida Keys, Hurrican Irma caused “catastrophic damage” in Barbuda, St Bartheley, St Martin, Anguilla and the Virgin Islands – and damage costs are reported to be in the region of US$300 billion (A$375 billion).

custom-endura_1AquaBotix, which also has a factory in Massachusetts, has equipped the recovery effort with its specialist remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) that will be needed “to meet the increased demand for inspection, assessment and recovery activities”.

“The reconstruction effort will involve a substantial amount of underwater work, and the company expects that it will substantially increase the need for its vehicles,” AquaBotix added.