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Marine Mammel Observers - Their Role Offshore

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At PGS, we're committed to conducting our seismic surveys in an environmentally responsible manner. A key part of this commitment is the essential role of Marine Mammal Observers (MMOs) onboard our vessels.

In this article, we meet Kadu Quintana, one of our dedicated MMOs, who shares his passion for marine life and the importance of his work.

Kadu' journey to becoming an MMO began with a passion for cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises). His internship at a marine mammal laboratory during college sparked his interest, leading him to pursue a biology degree and later, a Master's in Oceanography. While working on his thesis, he gained valuable experience as an Environmental Technician, further solidifying his desire to work with marine mammals.

"It all came together when I got the opportunity to work onboard Ramform Titan after a friend recommended me for a position as a Marine Mammal Observer (MMO) at Toveri," says Kadu. "This role allows me to combine my scientific knowledge with the practical application of protecting marine mammals and sea turtles in their natural habitat."

What exactly does an MMO do onboard a seismic vessel?

Kadu explains, "Our primary focus is to meticulously scan the surrounding area for marine mammals and sea turtles during seismic operations. If we detect any animals within a designated exclusion zone around the seismic sources, we immediately notify the crew to hold the operations. This crucial step mitigates the impact of the source activity on these noise-sensitive creatures who rely on sound for communication, navigation, and feeding."

Why are MMOs so important?

Seismic surveys rely on sound waves for data collection, but this has the potential to affect marine life. "MMOs act as a bridge between environmental responsibility and efficient seismic operations," says Kadu. "By monitoring aquatic life and enforcing environmental regulations, we aim to mitigate potential risks to these animals and gather valuable data on their behavior and presence."

The data collected is also instrumental to projects like HubOcean. Such projects contribute to the collective understanding of the ocean and its biota. These collaborations are transforming the collected data into knowledge about marine mammals’ concentration and distribution patterns.

What motivates Kadu in this crucial role?

"There's an immense sense of purpose in knowing that my work directly contributes to protecting these magnificent animals," shares Kadu. "Every day brings the opportunity to learn about new species, observe their natural behaviors, and ensure minimal disruption to their environment."

At PGS, we're proud to have dedicated MMOs like Kadu on board. Their expertise and passion are integral to our commitment to sustainable and environmentally responsible seismic exploration.