Philippe Courmontagne, General Chair
After fourteen years, the international biennial OCEANS conference came back to France. Indeed, for this 64th installment, this co-sponsored conference, by Marine Technology Society and IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society, took place on the Mediterranean coast, in the sunniest place we have in France: Marseille.
The common thread of this edition “Let’s sea our future together” has reflected our concern to understand the future of our oceans in terms of the preservation of marine, animal or plant life, as well as the exploitation of new energies.
For this OCEANS edition, 1,116 attendees joined us to participate in panel discussions, to share their knowledge during the technical sessions, to discover new products in the exhibit hall, to learn new concepts during the tutorials, to discover/appreciate the point of view of our plenary speakers…
The plenary session took place on Wednesday morning. Three main speakers came on the stage to share with the public their enthusiasm.
The first one, Vice-Admiral (ret.) Anne Cullerre, who is the first woman to reach the 3-star level in the French Navy, addressed the question, “Why do women command at sea … and why they’re good at it!”. It was fantastic to assist in this presentation, seeing this woman, having passed 10 years at sea with 2 commands of French Navy vessels, sitting on a chair, with, as material, a simple piece of paper, explaining the history of women at sea. Should I mention that one member of my Local Organizing Committee is the IEEE Women In Engineering French Chapter Chair?
The second one, Jan Opderbecke, head of the Unit for Underwater Systems, from IFREMER, the French Institute for Ocean Research, presented “Technological opportunities and challenges for next generation underwater vehicles in ocean sciences”. He has explained that recent and emerging advances in instrumentation, signal processing and information technology provide exciting opportunities that will respond to the high expectations expressed by more and more challenging research programs in ocean sciences and has illustrated his speech presenting, as example, recent vehicle developments focusing on novel hybrid system architectures – e.g., HROV Ariane are the 6000m AUV CORAL.
Our third main speaker, Damien Leloup of Flinders University Department of Underwater Archaeology and Walter Munk Foundation for the Ocean Executive Director, made a presentation about the expedition “Altaussee 2019”. The Purpose of the Expedition was to study the depth and characteristics of the lakebed and collect water and sediment samples to determine the health of what appears to be a pristine alpine lake, nestled beneath the Loser Plateau in the Liezen district of Austria. During his presentation, Damien Leloup explained that, even in this pristine lake, micro-plastics and fibers have been discovered. Such a discovery will serve as an indication of what measures must be taken in this lake and in similar alpine lakes to preserve their health.
During this plenary session, a warm homage was paid to Walter Munk. Indeed, Walter Munk had planned to join us at OCEANS 2019 Marseille to present the inaugural Walter Munk Scholar Award to Alfredo Giron, in recognition of his outstanding achievements. Unfortunately, Walter Munk passed away in February 2019. For this reason, his wife, Mary Munk, and Rick Spinrad, President of MTS, presented the award.
Oceans Marseille statistics
For this edition, we received 837 abstracts, one of the higher numbers of received abstracts for an OCEANS conference. 529 presentations were made (63.2% of the received abstracts), making OCEANS Marseille the first conference of the OCEANS series in terms of scientific presentations coupled with the highest level of selection.
36 countries were present, coming mainly from Central Europe and Asia Pacific.
In the exhibit hall, where 69 industrial/academic/institutional booths presented their products, 5 panel discussions were held on the following topics:
- The place of Europe in ocean research
- Manage innovation for Ocean future
- Man and the Ocean in 100 years in the context of climate changes
- Artificial intelligence for Ocean-going autonomous vehicles
- Big data processing: What is the added value, for which applications?
France is the country of wine. Most of our attendees had the opportunity to verify this assertion during the Icebreaker reception, which has held in the Palais des Arts, a historical Palace from the 1922 World Fair.
During this reception, while some of the attendees enjoyed playing “pétanque”, Eric Langlois, chairman of the International Federation of Hydrographic Societies (IFHS), presented two student awards in recognition of their accomplishments to Hamza Mazih and Christopher Haddon.
During the exhibitors’ reception, the attendees had dedicated time to meet the Exhibitors while enjoying live-cooking chefs’ cuisine.
The Gala banquet took place at the Casa Delauze, a luxury villa raised on wooden piles, at the entrance of Marseille old port, created in 1981 by Henri Delauze, explorer of the subsea floor. Escorted by a catchy and jazzy melody, the attendees discovered several attractions, while tasting French wines and eating tasty dishes. Moreover, and for some of them, the dance floor was the place to be until the end of the night.
Some last words
Thank you to all who traveled to Marseille to participate in OCEANS 2019 Marseille, making this conference a great event.
I would like to thank my team for having supported me from the beginning to the end.
We would like to thank one more time for their support our Gold Patrons: Naval Group, iXblue and Comex.