TWENTE, NETHERLANDS — Dutch engineering company Ortega Submersibles has developed an underwater vehicle that can ferry divers to depths of 95 meters — more than twice a deep as most recreational divers can swim.
The vessel is named the named the Mk. 1C. According to information posted on the Ortega Submersibles website and a press kit from the company, the submersible can carry three people and 350 liters of cargo, meaning divers can carry more air or equipment as required.
The 570 kg vessel is powered by two 10 kilowatt hour electric thrusters. These propel it at speeds of up to 16.7 kilometers per hour on the ocean surface, and 20 kilometers per hour underwater. The submersible has lightweight batteries that allow it to operate for 11 hours.
The Mk. 1C also features on-board navigational equipment for below and above water as well as on-board air supply for each passenger.
Ortega says its designs are based on the World War II Royal Air Force motorized submersible canoe project Sleeping Beauty. These were used by British forces for clandestine reconnaissance missions.
Recreational scuba divers can usually swim to depths of between 30 and 40 meters depending on their training agency.