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Ocean Observatory temporarily out of service


The ROV pilot controls the underwater robot Ægir from a control container on the ship's deck during installation of an observation platform.

Photo: Geir Pedersen / IMR

The Lofoten–Vesterålen Ocean Observatory (LoVe) is currently out of service. This is due to extensive damage to the outer circuit of the observatory, and it will take time for the full system to return to normal operations.

LoVe is an infrastructure for research and monitoring of the ocean. Several platforms, or nodes, are located at sea, forming a transect from the coast to the deep sea. They are packed with sensors that measure environmental conditions, fish migration, record images and sound – and send all the information they collect back to shore. The installation is divided into an inner and an outer circuit, with long cables between the platforms.

But now the system is without power and communication.

"Something or someone has pulled out the cable in the outer circuit," says project manager Geir Pedersen.

The Institute of Marine Research has reported the incident to the police. 

A total of 60 km of cable has been laid out, which extends across the entire continental shelf outside Bø in Vesterålen. Now a significant part of the cable in the outer circuit are gone. Photo: Geir Pedersen/IMR

Sending research vessels to investigate 

"There are extensive damages with a significant cost connected with repairing the infrastructure. We do not know presently where the cable is, we expect that we may need a new cable and it is uncertain whether the connection points can be reused," says Pedersen.  

Nevertheless, there is hope of making the inner circuit, the coastal part of the infrastructure, which includes nodes 1, 2 and 7, operational soon. 

"This month, IMR's research vessel G.O. Sars will embark on a LoVe Observatory service cruise where we will retrieve and redeploy platforms, and if time and weather permits, further investigate the damaged platforms and the location of the missing cable," says Pedersen.