Fugro aids Ifremer’s survey of underwater volcano in Africa

Fugro’s hydrographic survey vessel has supported Ifremer, the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea, in monitoring a giant active underwater volcano off the east coast of Africa.


The Fugro Gauss vessel, heading from the Netherlands to South Africa, made a 10-day detour to support Ifremer’s survey in Mayotte, Mozambique Channel.

Ifremer is performing research on the volcano but the latest mission was thrown into jeopardy by the Covid-19 pandemic and associated travel restrictions.

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.

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.”

Dr Carla Scalabrin, Ifremer head of Mayotte Project Hydroacoustic Team, added: “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.”