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June 04th, 2011

Buoy under repair

Material on board
Material on board
Bad news
Courage in adversity
Mooring indication
Back to port

On the morning of Friday 3rd of June, Eduardo Muñoz, the star contractor in charge of the electronics and maintenance of the oceanographic buoy, received a telephone call from a fisherman fishing at sea to inform about anomalies in the buoy structure. He immediatly informed me at CEAB and the Emergency Protocol was activated.

By noon, all the team was navigating on board "Dolores" toward the mooring location at sea to proceed to make an in-situ diagnosis and fixing the problem if minor. Otherwise the buoy should be taken back to safe port for repairing.

The sea was rough and wind was blowing strongly. It was a cloudy and rainy day. But the team's willingness and experience overcame the adverse sea and environmental conditions... We reached the mooring place by 3:00 o'clock. We found that the mast was broken and hunging just from two of the three security bars previously incorporated around the mast to reinforce it. Fortunatelly, all the meteo instrumentation and cables were still safe (actually, no telemetry problems there were).

This is not the first time the buoy mast is broken. Last year by 17th March 2011 (see report) the mast was broken after one day after deployment. In the present ocasion, the mast was broken not in the same point than that before, but it was close to it. The Achilles tendon of the buoy structure definitively needs an effective and long-term solution.

The buoy is now in land, at the Blanes Club de Vela's harbour for repair. The Achilles tendon will be reinforced, this time by incorporating a solid bar of stainless steel and whatever needed for not to repeat this situation.

Thanks to all the team members, Ferran Cresco, Dìdac Català, Ramón Muñoz, Eduardo Muñoz who were ready to attend this emergency and neglect their working routines to performe a successfull recovery of the buoy with full instrumentation.

We calculate that about a month will be required after the buoy will be ready to go back to its place to provide us with information regarding the conditions of the Catalan Sea near the coast as it doesn't do any other buoy at this moment in Catalunya.

Nixon Bahamon