When 107-year-old Norwegian Statsraad Lehmkuhl sail training vessel enters the English-speaking Caribbean leg of its historic 55,000-mile, ‘One Ocean Expedition’ this weekend, it will first dock at Port Royal in Kingston, Jamaica, on Saturday (November 13).
The 98-metre-long ship’s arrival in Jamaica will mark a return home for two postgraduate researchers from The University of the West Indies (The UWI) Mona Campus, Chauntelle Green from the Department of Life Sciences and Deron Maitland from the Department of Physics.
The One Ocean Expedition’s world voyage, which began last August, is organised by the University of Bergen, and recognised as part of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. The floating academy brings together crews of students, teaching and research faculty, representatives of scientific and development institutions, high-level meetings and public education events during its five-day, port visit in Jamaica.
The port stop in Kingston resulted from The UWI’s collaboration with the University of Bergen through the Global University Consortium on SDG-13 which is led by The UWI. The itinerary for the visit includes the signing of an MOU between The UWI and the University of Bergen this weekend, which was brokered by The UWI’s Office of Global Partnerships and Sustainable Futures.
Commenting on the alliance, Pro Vice-Chancellor Global Affairs, Dr Stacy Kennedy said: “This historic research expedition is testimony of the tremendous value that The UWI’s global partnerships bring, not just to our students and faculty, but also the wider communities served by our regional university.”
Kennedy added: “Our MoU with the University of Bergen is the formalisation of an ongoing collaboration through our Global University Consortium on SDG-13 and Bergen’s leadership of SDG-14 within the IAU Global Cluster on Higher Education and Research for Sustainable Development. It symbolises our commitment to deepening cooperation on ocean science and climate action and to creating additional opportunities for scientific research collaboration, innovation, public education and science diplomacy.”
On Tuesday, November 16, the Mona Campus will host a contingent of 33 participants from the ship for a tour of the Campus’ Port Royal Marine Lab, followed by a Knowledge Exchange Forum hosted by the Faculty of Science and Technology. The UWI focal point and lead organiser is Dr Suzanne E Palmer, lecturer in the Department of Life Sciences and Academic Coordinator at the Port Royal Marine Laboratory.
Elaborating on the programme, Palmer said: “The Forum will provide the basis for knowledge transfer and exchange, primarily between research students participating in the One Ocean Expedition and UWI Mona research students in the fields of marine and climate science, and also provide an opportunity for discussion and interaction between lecturers of the One Ocean Expedition and Mona Campus.”
In addition to the Expedition, postgraduate researchers Chauntelle and Deron were enrolled in the One Ocean Field Course webinar series, coordinated by Professor Kerim Nisancioglu from the University of Bergen, which ran from September-October 2021. Faculty experts from The UWI’s Mona and St. Augustine Campuses also participated in the delivery of webinar series. Professor Judith Gobin of the Department of Life Sciences at St Augustine led a session on “Exploring the Caribbean Deep Sea – Small Islands Large Ocean States” on October 13.
Then, on October 20, Dr Michael Burn from the Department of Geography and Geology at Mona, presented an introduction to records of tropical hurricanes in the Caribbean, in a session entitled, The Value of Natural Archives of Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Activity.
The One Ocean Expedition is aimed at increasing awareness and sharing knowledge about the ocean’s crucial role for a sustainable future from a global perspective. The ship serves as a powerful tool for outreach, inspiration and engagement for the ocean, contributing in particular to the UN’s Societal Outcome 7 of the Decade – An inspiring and engaging ocean.
Equipped with modern instrumentation, the ship collects high-quality data of ocean physics, chemistry, and biology continuously throughout the journey. Real-time access to data, video and TV from the ship also serves to inspire and engage not only scientists but also citizens for ocean-based action towards sustainable development worldwide. The research vessel collects comparable data from a wide range of environments, and students take part throughout the journey ensuring data collection and transmission from the instruments.
After Jamaica, the Statsraad Lehmkukl will continue to Havana, Cuba, The Bahamas, journey on toward New York, before turning again and sailing south, along South America, then to its Pacific leg. The UWI Mona students will disembark in Nassau, Bahamas.
When the ship returns to Bergen on April 15, 2023, it will start the One Ocean Week – a week with conferences, workshops and activities related to ocean science and public engagement, policy and action towards “the ocean we need for the future we want”.