EMODnet Physics have doubled the number of FerryBox platforms making data available via their portal. This is thanks to ongoing efforts by the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), a partner in EMODnet Physics, who have been in discussion with Stena Line for some time about how they could access marine and meteorological data from their ships. As a result of these fruitful discussions there are now 25 new FerryBox lines making data available to EMODnet Physics, these include mainly sea surface temperature, currents and wind data.
Our ocean knowledge is gleaned from information that can be generated by analyses of ocean observations data. Observing our seas and oceans and gathering the data is a costly business. There are, however, many opportunistic ways to leverage diverse and ongoing ocean activities to gather data. FerryBox platforms are a great example of this. FerryBox is a through-flow system installed on board of a ship-of-opportunity (ferry, cargo ship or research vessel) to measure automatically, continuously and unattended a series of important marine parameters. The European FerryBox community, has steadily built cooperation in this field through the establishment of a FerryBox Task Team under EuroGOOS..
Beyond Europe, the integration of diverse in-situ observing networks in the Atlantic, such as the FerryBox system and the ships of opportunity programme is one of the long term goals of the H2020 AtlantOS project. Globally, in recognition of the opportunities that exist to gather important ocean data through more strategic collaboration between the diverse ocean business and marine science communities, and encouraged by key UN agencies, the World Ocean Council established their Smart Ocean-Smart Industries programme to build on existing ships of opportunity efforts and coordinate the strategic use of industry vessels and platforms for data collection and collaboration between the Ocean Business and marine scientific communities.