A Fugro vessel heading from the Netherlands to South Africa has made a 10-day detour to support Ifremer, the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea, in monitoring a giant active underwater volcano off the east coast of Africa. Ifremer is performing important research on this unique volcano but the latest mission was thrown into jeopardy by the Covid-19 pandemic and associated travel restrictions. When Fugro heard, they diverted the specialist hydrographic survey vessel Fugro Gauss to Mayotte in the Mozambique Channel to support Ifremer’s vital hydrographic survey.
Fugro’s global hydrographic footprint, combined with its sustained investment in remote operation support solutions, enabled two teams that had never met to collaborate via “the cloud” and support the Mayotte community. Three hydrographic specialists from Fugro in Bremen, Germany, were responsible for offshore coordination and quality control, while Ifremer’s team of four were based in Brest, France.
Bremen-based Dr Marco Filippone, Operations Manager and Chief Hydrographer at Fugro, said: “We maintained a dedicated and constant survey progress solution throughout the campaign, enabling Ifremer to view the exact position of our vessel as it progressed along the survey line. Ifremer downloaded the complete hydrographic dataset in near real time and our remote support solution seamlessly replicated what Ifremer would have done onboard their own vessel in the Indian Ocean.”
Delighted to have been able to complete the Mayotte survey campaign, Brest-based Dr Carla Scalabrin, Ifremer Head of Mayotte Project Hydroacoustic Team, said: “It was our first experience of remote working and we never met our Fugro colleagues in person, as the project was planned by email and videoconferencing. Despite these challenges, we quickly established a climate of trust and the data transfer was extremely powerful. This successful survey is the result of a positive and respectful collaboration between the Ifremer and Fugro teams.”
This project for Ifremer aligns with Fugro’s commitment to sustainability and its extensive involvement with both the United Nations Decade initiative and the Seabed 2030 project.