The Department of Underwater Archaeological Research (DRASSM – Ministry of Culture) and iXblue unveiled the new underwater archaeological research vessel Alfred Merlin on 2 July at a naming ceremony attended by Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin, Minister of Culture, Benoît Payan, Mayor of Marseille, Denis Robin, Secretary General for the Sea, Yves Le Trionnaire, Regional Director of ADEME, and Jean-François Hébert, Director General for Heritage and Architecture.
The Alfred Merlin – named after the Frenchman who carried out the first archaeological excavation at sea off the coast of Tunis at the beginning of the 20th century – is a proud 46-metre long vessel, made entirely of composite materials and fitted with hundreds of metres of fibre optics and sensors inserted directly into the hull, which will be used to monitor its progress at sea on a daily basis. This vessel also has an unprecedented projection capacity (3,500 nautical miles), so it will be able to go almost anywhere on the Globe with a crew of 28.
The LIRMM and Stanfort have a strong partnership with the DRASSM and are equipping the boat with their underwater robots.
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