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After the accident in May 2002, it was decided to ask for two independent engineering studies, the aim of which being to improve the confidence into the design of the buoy and to provide advice for the construction of the buoy. These two studies were performed by the Institut Français de Recherce pour l'Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER) and the Marine Technology Research Institute (MARINTEK), and have eventually confirmed the feasibility and pertinence of this new concept. They have recommended to use either foam or steel for the construction of the main buoyancy sphere. The second option has been retained, and a special designed has been prepared, with a segmentation of the complete volume into seven pressure-resistant and watertight compartments. This design minimizes the risk of rapidly loosing a large part of the buoyancy in case a leakage would occur.

In addition, a strain gauge is installed at the base of the buoy, just at the beginning of the mooring cable. Because the tension in the cable that is recorded by the gauge is, by definition, equal to the buoyancy of the entire mooring, any change in this buoyancy can be immediately detected.

IFREMER report


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