December 31, 2022

On December 22 the French Polar Pod Expedition was officially launched.
French Marine Research Institute Ifremer, together with Jean-Louis Étienne, the initiator of the project, and the two construction companies Piriou Shipyards and 3C Metal, announced the official launch of the Polar POD project. The scientific coordination of this international oceanographic station is ensured by the CNRS (Scientific Research National Center), in partnership with the CNES (National Center for Space Studies) and Ifremer.
Polar Pod is an inhabited platform project intended to explore the ocean. The project is led by Jean-Louis Étienne , a French explorer and several research organizations. The study area is located between 50 and 55° South latitude, known by sailors as the screaming fiftieths . To provide the best conditions for safe living on this sea of storms, you need a ship that is caught in deep waters. With a draft of 75 m , this vertical ship escapes surface agitation, especially since the trellis that composes it is only slightly affected by the waves.
The project is led by Ifremer and financed by the French State with the support of sponsors. The construction budget is estimated in 2019 at 15 million euros and the operating budget at 13 million.
The float is a 90-meter trellis made of steel tubes, surmounted by the habitable part, an aluminum basket located 10 meters above the water. This nacelle comprises three floors (housing, dry lab, computer room, wet lab) surmounted by an upper deck where the navigation bridge is located. On either side of the nacelle, two 15-meter walkways support the search sensors. Equipped like crane jibs, they will allow the transshipment of equipment and possibly the crew with the supply ship.
The crew is made up of eight people: merchant marine officers and engineers, technicians and researchers responsible for the scientific instruments.
The Polar Pod will be towed horizontally from Port Elizabeth in South Africa to its starting point. Like the American FLIP, it will be tilted vertically by ballasting the deep part of the truss with sea water.
(Source: Ifremer/Wikipedia/PolarPOD/ – Image: PolarPOD/Ifremer/N. Gagnon)