Orange Marine is joining a worldwide ocean observation program
The cable ship Pierre de Fermat has launched the first floats in September
This summer, Orange Marine has signed a partnership with Euro-Argo, the European branch of a global ocean observation consortium, and is now providing technical resources to launch free-drifting oceanographic data collection floats along its ships’ routes.
These floats, which have an average lifespan of four years, gather data on ocean temperature and salinity from the surface down to 2,000 m depth. Argo, an international program founded in 2000 by UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and involving over 30 countries, is the first global network for in situ ocean observation. The network is gradually expanding, and currently counts a total of nearly 4,000 active floats, with an average of 1,000 deployed each year worldwide.
The cable ship Pierre de Fermat launched the first float North of Cape Finisterre (Spain) during a maintenance operation in September. A second float was launched 500 nautical miles away, in the Azores region. A third float is still on board the ship, ready to be deployed.
Latest positions of active floats
The data from the floats are sent in real-time via satellite to a platform opened to researchers from around the world, enabling them to study the state of the world’s oceans and better understand their influence on climate change, and vice-versa.
The deployment strategy aims at providing homogeneous float coverage across the globe, so Euro-Argo is looking for opportunities to launch floats from vessels including dedicated research ships, racing sail boats, commercial ships, and more.
Romain Cancouët, Operational Engineer at Euro-Argo ERIC (European Research Infrastructure Consortium), explains that
“ Euro-Argo runs and optimises Europe’s contribution to Argo, the international ocean observation program. Its goal is to provide an international service to the research and operational communities. Euro-Argo aims at developing the capacity to maintain ¼ of the global network, which means deploying roughly 250 floats per year. ”
Orange Marine’s cable ships may take rarely used routes, presenting an ideal opportunity to launch floats in areas where Argo coverage remains sparse.
“ This partnership with Euro-Argo fits perfectly with our environmental commitment at Orange Marine. We are thrilled that launching floats in areas with sparse coverage can make it possible to collect data that can help researchers to better understand oceans and climate change ,” says Julie Zarade, Quality, Safety, and Environment Coordinator at Orange Marine.
For over fifteen years, Orange Marine has been committed to constantly reducing its environmental impact, particularly through its ISO 14001 certification. It is also committed to partnerships with organisations like Souffleurs d’Ecume, an environmental group based in the Var region of Southern France. Orange Marine has already fitted three of its ships with REPCET cetacean detection systems, to help preventing collisions with marine mammals.
About Orange Marine
Orange Marine is specialised in the field of submarine telecommunications, from initial design and engineering to installation of intercontinental links and maintenance of existing cables. Orange Marine has a fleet of 6 ships and has installed 160,000 km of submarine fibre optic cables in all the world’s oceans, including 8,200 km of buried cables. Its ships have performed 450 repairs on intercontinental links, down to 5,500 m depth.
Euro-Argo runs and optimises Europe’s contribution to Argo, the international ocean observation programme. Its goal is to provide a global service to the research and operational communities. Euro-Argo aims to develop the capacity to maintain ¼ of the global network, which means deploying approximately 250 floats per year. Navigation in Europe’s seas is also needed for pilot research programmes (ice zones, biogeochemical sensors, etc.). Euro-Argo’s research infrastructure is based in Brest, on the Ifremer site, where the floats awaiting deployment are stored.