Hon. Dr Owen Bonnici, Minister for Education and Employment, has paid a visit to the scientific team on board the RV Sonne, which is currently carrying out an oceanographic expedition in Maltese waters as part of the SMART project.
Funded by Helmholtz European Partnering and involving GEOMAR from Germany and the Department of Geosciences of the University of Malta, SMART is a 3 year research project that examines if and how offshore groundwater may be used sustainably to relieve water scarcity in coastal communities around the world.
This is the first time that the RV Sonne, a modern 120 m long research vessel, is being deployed in the Mediterranean Sea. A number of state-of-the-art seafloor surveying instruments, such as 3-D reflection seismics, controlled-source electromagnetics, autonomous underwater vehicle and video-CTD, are being used to explore the seafloor offshore of eastern Gozo and Malta for evidence of offshore groundwater.
Dr Bonnici was accompanied by Prof. Aaron Micallef, from the Marine Geology & Seafloor Surveying group, and Dr Axel Steuwer, from the Research Support Services Directorate, both of whom are partners in the project.
The oceanographic expedition can be followed online on this blog.