Suva Visit for Deep Sea Ex­plorer

mailife - - Contents - By JOHN MITCHELL

She’s state of the art, mas­sive and she’s Ger­man. She is the new R.V Sonne - a 116-me­tre marine re­search ves­sel boast­ing the lat­est in deep-sea marine re­search tech­nol­ogy and equip­ment. The high-tech multi-dis­ci­plinary re­search ves­sel, com­mis­sioned in 2014, berthed at Suva’s King’s Wharf in late June dur­ing one of its re­search trips to the South Pa­cific. To mark the oc­ca­sion, a high-level re­cep­tion was held on board where in­vited guests were wel­comed by the Ger­man Am­bas­sador, Ger­hard Thiede­mann. Home ported in Wil­helmshaven, Sonne is equipped to cover a wide range of marine re­search such as marine physics, geo­physics, ge­ol­ogy, chem­istry and me­te­o­rol­ogy. To carry out deep-sea re­search it can de­ploy in­stru­ments to even the great­est depths of the world’s ocean known as the “hadal zone”, which starts at a depth of 6000 me­tres. Dur­ing the Suva re­cep­tion, Ger­man Sci­en­tist Pro­fes­sor Dr. Karsten Haase pro­vided a brief on the pre­vi­ous out­comes, as­pects and high­lights of the re­search cruise. Pro­fes­sior Haase also pro­vided an in­sight into deep-sea vol­canolog­i­cal pro­cesses and as­so­ci­ated ecosys­tems in Ton­gan waters. Ger­man De­vel­op­ment Co­op­er­a­tion (GIZ) Cli­mate Change Ad­vi­sor Hanna Sabass con­cluded the event with a pre­sen­ta­tion about the Ger­man col­lab­o­ra­tion with Pa­cific Is­land Coun­tries on ocean gov­er­nance and con­ser­va­tion of marine bio­di­ver­sity. Guests were given a tour of the ves­sel be­fore cel­e­bra­tions con­tin­ued into the night over fine wine, ap­pe­tiz­ing food and light ban­ter.

SUR­VEY­ING GREAT DEPTHS

Sonne is larger than its pre­de­ces­sor, mean­ing it pro­vides enough work­ing space for the broad va­ri­ety of sub­mersibles, drill rigs and other oceano­graphic in­stru­ments that mod­ern sci­ence re­quires. It has be­come ap­par­ent that it will be pos­si­ble, in the fu­ture, for sev­eral com­plex ma­chines to be on­board to be op­er­ated si­mul­ta­ne­ously or even in a con­certed fash­ion,” sci­en­tist “There are 40 berths avail­able, mean­ing it is pos­si­ble to take the tech­ni­cal per­son­nel re­quired to op­er­ate the in­stru­ments,” says sci­en­tist Thomas Kuhn. Sonne is cur­rently the only Ger­man re­search ves­sel with ca­bles that can reach the low­est part of the ocean trenches. This is some­thing that no other

Sonne’s cap­tain with a sci­en­tist at the bridge.

Re­cep­tion guests on board Sonne dur­ing her visit to Suva.

R.V Sonne at sea.

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