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  • Marjolein Vanoppen

University of Kent team visits the Vlissingen demonstration site



What a lucky strike! We had perfect weather during our visit to the Port of Antwerp and the Port of Vlissingen where one of the SOCORRO demonstration sites is located. Having arrived in Antwerp under terribly wet conditions, this was a very welcomed meteorological outcome. It would have been rather challenging to film and document the sites and the activities that go on in them and the SOCORRO system setup if this had not been the case. It is never fun (or a good idea at all) to get a good camera out in the pouring rain and sideways wind, so we were very pleased we were able to see port bridges opening and closing in sunny weather, large cargo boats navigating up and down in calm waters, and even clear waters and the barnacles and oysters growing in the Port of Vlissingen.



Along with members for the Maritime Academy Antwerp, we started the day at the academy testing the final SOCORRO VR experience (see the images showing the brand new hoodies), and then went to see boats in the port of Antwerp and later drove up to the Netherlands to experience - first hand - what has been happening at the Vlissingen demonstration site. We had a look at the sensors' set-up and even looked at the coupons that are suspended in the water as evidence of the corrosion that is actually taking place. The SOCORRO project is doing this at different demonstration sites so we can compare those corrosion rates with the predictions resulting from computing the sensor data using the SOCORRO AI algorithms, and calibrate them where needed. We learned about some very interesting facts about the types of boats and their functions. It was a first for me to hear that some very big ships can semi-submerge themselves and then come up again holding a somewhat smaller boat (although still a big one) in their insides.




Such a contrast between the wet and windy Antwerp on day 1, and the calm and sunny-cloudy Vlissingen "haven" (port) in day 2. After visiting the demonstration site, we went to the Vlissingen waterfront promenade to have a bite while looking at large cargo boats and other vessels pass by surprisingly close to the coast, all of course navigating within the limits of the entrance to meet the mouth of the river Scheldt which flows down from Antwerpen.


Our visit to Antwerp and the Vlissingen demonstration site ended with having to run to get our train at Antwerp Central, which we luckily got in just on time! We arrived in Brussels with plenty of spare time for buying Belgian chocolates before heading back to Canterbury.

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