Tosca Final Meeting: interview of 3 project partners

09/04/2014 Destacats News

Admiral Yann Tainguy, Maritime Prefect of the Mediterranean Sea, Alain Pages, Deputy Manager of the Mediterranean Maritime Competitiveness Cluster (France) and Marc Saillard, President of the University of Toulon, Expert in radar remote sensing express their views about the TOSCA project and its outputs

Admiral Yann Tainguy, Maritime Prefect of the Mediterranean Sea


Admiral,the Maritime Prefecture honored us of hosting the TOSCA final meeting on the wonderful area of the Cap Brun Fort. Is that because the protection of marine environment is a key part of its prerogatives?

Yes, exactly. The missions of the Maritime Prefecture are numerous and various. Basically there are the navigation and the maritime approaches monitoring, the rescue, the maintenance of public order or the struggle against illegal activities, but the protection of the marine environment is also a huge concern for us. In general, two aspects are concerned by this protection: on the first hand, national and European politics regarding protected marine areas and more generally the preservation of marine environment has to be implemented; and on the other hand, the State services in relation with the closest neighbouring states and actors of the maritime world have to be prepared in order to face marine environment waitings, whatever they are deliberate – oil dumping - or unintentional.

What are the TOSCA challenges of tomorrow for you?

Nowadays, it is necessary to include what I call “the TOSCA assessment” in the arsenal of prediction measures of floating oils drifts or, concerning rescue at sea, the shipwrecked drifts.

In order to do it, few conditions are required:

- First, scientific works have to be continued to improve existing results. It should be on a European level, but we still have to find the best formula, either another TOSCA in the same conditions of the present one, or a closer cooperation with other projects.

- Then, it’s important to integrate TOSCA specialists among the circle of experts recognized by Civil Services and to associate them to antipollution exercises organized by partners’ states.

- A third challenge for TOSCA is obviously to find the funds required for the creation of a HF radar network. It’s necessary to look for other stakeholders, public and private, whom would see in TOSCA a way of protecting their coasts and/or their activities.

- And finally, we have to carry on the initiative of raising the general public awareness, as it was done in Toulon with the street painting event proposed by the project, next to the Maritime museum.

What do you consider as the highlights of the project?

Besides the scientific aspect, TOSCA is a really good example of a successful international cooperation. It’s important to congratulate the work of the 12 TOSCA partners, coming from Spain, Greece, Italy and France and also the support of experts and actors from the private-public antipollution fight, who joined the project: the CEDRE, the National Marine, the CEPPOL, the Maritime Customs, the CROSS MED, Météo-France, industrial representatives … 

Alain Pages, Deputy Manager of the Mediterranean Maritime Competitiveness Cluster (France)

Mr. Pages, TOSCA is a project particularly supported by your organization, isn’t it?

Yes it is, we immediately felt involved in the TOSCA project because the preservation of the maritime and littoral environment is a priority for us. This is the reason why PMM-TVT works since the beginning of the project for giving its expertise and skills for the setting up, the funding and the management of European projects; and we feel particularly honored that the project ends up on our territory.

The Toulon Basin is really involved in the issue of maritime security, how can you explain that?

It’s a fact: the historical presence of the French Navy arsenals made the region a pole of excellence in the monitoring and intervention fields for the maritime safety and security. Since few decades, there is a real political will to create a network of technological skills, in particular thanks to TVT Innovation and the Mediterranean Maritime Competitiveness Cluster. Besides, the specificities of the Toulon harbor, which is a natural harbor at the city's doorstep, require a particular monitoring in terms of security and prevention.

What does the TOSCA project bring at your level?

Outputs of TOSCA project constitute another contribution for each research in progress, the guarantee of a better risks prevention and an optimized management of rescues. It participates not only to the human life safety and the environment preservation, but also to the economical development of the region through its potential effects.

Marc Saillard, President of the University of Toulon, Expert in radar remote sensing.

Mr. Saillard, the University of Toulon brought a significant contribution of the TOSCA project, how would you assess this experience?

First of all, this is a successful collaboration between diverse international partners and companies gathered in the Mediterranean Maritime Competitiveness Cluster. And our University pays particular attention to this cross-over!

In addition, TOSCA project is a perfect representative of our scientific policy. Our University has structured a huge part of its research through thematic linked to marine activities. For me, perspectives opened by this project, whatever they are scientific or acting for the development of innovative products, seem really promising. I’m really pleased that the HF radars proof their interest for the monitoring of pollutants, by adjusting models of oceanic circulation. It’s going to motivate our teams to continue their efforts in instrumental development and data assimilation fields.

And I hope that communities concerned by research and operational activities will use the results in order to improve the management of incidents related to oil slicks at sea.

In what kind of projects are the University researchers working on?

Our University is involved in a project for the development of a new bi-static radar concept which makes possible a better spatial coverage and the reduction of physical sites. With this fixed system, at the moment, the coastal line between the radar emission and reception is still a blind spot.

However we are trying to compensate with monitoring radars or weather radars operating in the range of microwaves, a domain in which our University has proven its skills as well.

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