A 33-METER long Swiss sailboat, which is conducting a four-year ocean mapping expedition, has arrived in Lapu-Lapu City.
Fondation Pacifique, a Swiss non-profit organization based in Geneva, together with their partners brought the boat Fleur de Passion to Cebu last Tuesday, Dec. 19.
The expedition, which started in 2015 and will end in 2019, aims “to map the human impact on the oceans and raise awareness about sustainable development issues.”
Samuel Gardaz, vice president for corporate affairs of Fondation Pacifique, said that Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition became an inspiration to them to do the ocean mapping expedition.
Last April 13, 2015, Fleur de Passion, a former German navy vessel built in 1941, left Seville, Spain for a four-year voyage around the globe, following roughly the same route as Magellan took some 500 years ago.
“The objective of what has been baptized The Ocean Mapping Expedition is to observe, understand, map, and report back on the state of the world’s oceans, by following in the wake of the first circumnavigation of the world,” a part of the press release read.
Gardaz said the Swiss sailboat received a weather forecast in advance through a “satellite transmission device.”
He said an average of 12 people are aboard the sailboat, including three to four professional sailors, rotating every two months.
So far, the sailboat has already visited 15 countries, including the Philippines.
According to him, they collected data from water sampling, noise pollution, coral bleaching and greenhouse gases.
Gardaz said the data collected were forwarded to their scientific partners, who will analyze these data, use them for publications, and raise awareness through their own channels.
Since the departure of the expedition in Seville, he said they collected 132 water samples in the different areas.
“And of those samples, there are roughly a hundred that are being analyzed by our partner in Geneva (which) all of them contain plastic particles. Others are really, really nasty samples,” he said.
“The main goal is bringing additional added value to the scientific community through reference field data. There’s no existing mapping of the ocean on such a scale on micro plastic. Nobody’s traveling around the world recording sound pollution. Nobody’s traveling around the world monitoring greenhouse gasses as we’re gonna do...So these are very hard-core scientific data. Beyond that, if we can inspire, if we can share the experience, that would be mission accomplished,” said Gardaz.
In a separate interview, Switzerland Ambassador to the Philippines Andrea Reichlin said they will participate in the seaborne procession in honor of the Señor Santo Niño in January.
“I think it’s even the first time that a boat under a foreign flag will join the Sinulog. We have been asking the committee to participate and they have happily agreed,” she said.
Other guests during the press conference yesterday were Sebastien Schwarz and Amelie Cencig, skippers of Fleur de Passion; Dr. Daniel McGinnis of the University of Geneva-Department of Aquatic Physics; and Dr. Michel Andre, director of the Laboratory of Bioacoustic Applications, Technical University of Catalonia in Barcelona. (FMG)