"They played with us for hours" said CMRE scientists on board the NATO Research Vessel Alliance, very pleased by the long and eventful visit. "In collaboration with the Portuguese Navy, we managed to film the animals underwater".
This is not the first time CMRE vessels have received a visit from pilot whales. For this reason, in the last twenty years the Centre has developed Marine Mammal Risk Mitigation procedures to protect these animals and other whales and dolphins from disturbances of any kind during CMRE activities.
The visit took place during the Recognized Environmental Picture (REP) Atlantic 2014 sea trial, a joint exercise conducted off the coast of Portugal together with Portuguese Navy and the University of Porto from 7 to 28 of July 2014. The trial included tests of several various Autonomous Surface Vessels (ASVs), Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) equipped with different sensors and payloads. The CMRE work was focused on two main areas of experimentation: the first dedicated to Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) using autonomous sensor platforms, and the second to acoustic underwater communications (ACOMMS). There were no acoustic activities ongoing when the animals arrived.