By Oceana’s Gulf Expedition Leader, Xavier Pastor
As you know, we’re in the midst of an eight-week expedition in the Gulf of Mexico. We wanted to tell you about our ship, the Oceana Latitude.
The Latitude is an impressive vessel that has been used by its owner for fishing on the high seas. It is a nice cruise boat that we have turned into a research vessel to support our scientific expedition to find out more about the effects of the oil spill. We thank the owner greatly, who has given us the boat at cost to make our work possible in the Gulf. It made the Latitude the cheapest boat available for our two-month expedition.
Here are some other facts about our boat:
-It was originally designed as an offshore rig supply vessel. We retrofitted the boat back into a campaign boat, taking advantage of this design, which was very useful for our purposes.
– This has also led to some interesting adaptations of the boat; for example, we have turned the pool into a storage area and the sauna has been converted into a locker for the diving equipment. (And with the temperatures on deck, the crew didn’t need a sauna, trust us.)
-The salon of the boat has been converted into a working office with eight computers, a printer, phones and screens that display the images from the ROV and the navigational data. It doubles also as our dining room.
-The boat is working well, allowing our crew to work close to 14 hours a day, carrying out dives at high seas and with rough weather, using the ROV, investigation of abandoned oil wells, tagging sharks, taking plankton samples and much more in the coming weeks.