DETECTION OF SHIPWRECKS AND SUBMERGED OBJECTS USING SUB BOTTOM PROFILER AND SIDE SCAN SONAR IN SHATT AL-ARAB RIVER, SOUTHERN IRAQ
A geophysical remote sensing obstruction and debris survey is performed in this work to investigate and describe the shipwrecks and submerged debris at Shatt Al-Arab River in the extreme southern part of Iraq. The study area is extended in a section of Shatt Al-Arab River from Ashar to Siba cities – Basra governorate-Southern Iraq, with approximately 60 Km distance. Side Scan Sonar (SSS) and Sub-Bottom Profiler (SBP) techniques were applied. Seventeen distinct locations were identified that containing numerous objects on the river bottom, however, eleven of them ware correlated with reflections by SBP, included vessels, boats (medium and small sizes), tankers and bridge, as well as some unidentified debris. A total of 25 sonar targets wrer mapped. Two detected targets were found to have indicative signatures of an ancient shipwreck. The most identified objects are the charted shipwreck located near the Maaqal quay northern the study area. Most of the targets are localized in the northern part of the study area particular vicinity of the Basra city center on the river banks in which mostly human activities and old functional port were established. The most number of these wrecks which completely or partially submersible were Pontoon boats or small tanks, that have about 40 meters long and 8 meters wide.