Gasoline prices have caused the budget of the French oceanographic fleet to soar, which is now 9 million euros short. Researchers may have to cancel their sea expeditions.
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No gas, no shipping. This is an unexpected consequence of the rise in fuel prices: the French oceanographic fleet, that is to say the boats and submersibles used for researchers, does not have enough money to guarantee the missions of next year.
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This situation provokes the anger of the director of the prestigious laboratory of climate and environmental sciences, Philippe Bousquet: “On the one hand, we have a display from the State which says that the ocean is fundamental, etc., and today, out of a budget of 70 million euros, we are short of 10% of the budget on the whole next year to carry out the oceanographic missions, the monitoring of the ocean that we do every year, and the exceptional missions that have finally been waiting for four years because there was also the Covid which blocked everything.“
He himself had scheduled a major mission off Brazil to improve climate models. The future of the expedition is uncertain: the price of diesel has inflated the budget of all the research vessels and there is now a shortage of 9 million euros. “We are still facing a fuel increase that is more than double what we could pay beforerecognizes Olivier Lefort, the director of the French oceanographic fleet at Ifremer, the Institute of the Sea. We have quantified the financial impact represents a little less than 10% of our expenses.“
The Ministry of Higher Education was alerted last spring. If there is no financial extension, researchers will soon have to suspend certain missions.