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RV Celtic Voyager goes SeaFi...

celtic-voyager-seafiThese days, we've been working aboard RV Celtic Voyager. It reminded me those eight millimetres movies my dad used to play for us, "le monde du silence". RV Calypso was a former British Royal Navy minesweeper converted in the 50's into a research vessel for the oceanographic researcher Jacques-Yves Cousteau, equipped with a mobile laboratory for underwater field research. It has been been a model for marine researchers around the world for decades.

 

calypsoDid you know former MP, Thomas "Loel" Guinness bought Calypso in July 1950 and leased her to Cousteau for a symbolic one franc a year. He had two conditions, that Cousteau never ask him for money and that he never reveal his identity, which only came out after Cousteau's death. Cousteau restructured and transformed the ship into an expedition vessel and support base for diving, filming and oceanographic research. What happened after 1997 to the ship is simply a disgrace but I think a lot of people have chosen oceanography as a career after Cousteau's legacy...

sea-stateSince Thursday for SEA-Tech, it's a very different way of looking at the seas and all the natural resources around us. And not so far away from Calypso in the end, as we are working aboard RV Celtic Voyager, yet another RV funded by Ireland to explore the millions of square kilometres of sea surrounding our country. Each day cost almost 8 to 10K for the ship to run, this is not to mention the research team on board. Loosing data which may never be recover again would simply be an invaluable loss.

 

Aboard a ship, TCP/IP networking is a strong asset, it mean the difference between some data located on one single machine or data distributed over several machines. It took over 70 years to find the exact position where Titanic had sunk, as her position was only an approximation from her last known position. For a few minutes after Robert Ballard's team found the wreck of RMS Titanic, located about 370 miles (600 km) south-southeast of the coast of Newfoundland, at a depth of about 12,500 feet (3,800 m) this information was simply priceless. Until it was secured any damage to the electronic carrying this information, or the ship itself, would have been a tremendous loss for the expedition. Realtime data is not only about time matter, but also about this once in a lifetime discovery one could not afford to loose...

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Image above: RV Celtic Voyager, observing it's own position and track on Marine Traffic, connected to the internet with a SeaFi S360 MK1 Ship Station.

 

This is what we do at SEA-Tech, we specialise in shifting information from a place to another in hostile environment. Easier said than done, as the size of data is growing exponentially and the technics for shifting / transporting data ship to shore or ship to ship are not growing at the same speed.

 

seafi-ship-stationThis is the reason why we engineered SeaFi. Sending data to a satellite so it can be delivered 10 km to the coast is simply not viable when you are contemplating a buoy, a wave energy device, a wind turbine, a tug or a dredge operating inbound. Offloading data from a vessel using external firewire disk is not an option anymore as terabytes have superseded the good old gigabytes of telemetry, geological data and imagery harvested at great cost of time and money. What if disks failed? Today we intended to demonstrate this to a small group of students recruited by the Marine Institute.

 

SeaFi has a multitude of applications from real time data imaging such as IP cameras to weather observation or exporting a geological study of the seaground.  

 

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Image above: RV Celtic Voyager, observed in real time from a camera on Spike Island - Spike Island is connected to the mainland with a dedicated marine SeaFi data link. The video feed from the camera is sent wirelessly to the Port of Cork SeaFi Horizon data link, RV Celtic Voyager connected to SeaFi Horizon can connect dozens of usefull source of information located around Cork harbour such as other cameras, weather stations, without need for satellite connection... Even internet is only one click away...

 

Celtic-BridgeAodhan, Stephen, the crew and Master of Celtic Voyager has been very helpful since the moment we stepped on board to install the S360 antenna under a lashing rain. There is a group of researchers at the moment on board and we want them to get a chance to experience first hand SeaFi Horizon - Port of Cork. If you took a look at Celtic Voyager as she passed Cobh, you've probably seen on her starboard our white blue and red logo...


The future is what we all make it...

 

PS: My favourite spot on the ship is definitly the galley, my compliment to chiefo who treated us with a succulent fish pie for lunch, let's not talk about tea time, because it is well known that what happens on the ship stays on the ship, but the creamy cakes have definitly to be reported in this blog, as the best I ever had...

Written by : Arnaud Disant

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