Airbus’ Ocean Finder service located the maxi-trimaran ‘Banque Populaire IX’ (Ultime class) in less than a day after it capsized halfway between Portugal and the Azores on 6 November during the latest Route du Rhum transatlantic race.
As soon as the request was received from Team Banque Populaire, Airbus activated the Ocean Finder service and immediately programmed its satellites to collect very high resolution images as quickly as possible, in case the trimaran’s beacon system had failed. Airbus’ maritime experts and Team Banque Populaire defined the search area, taking into account a combination of data that could influence the drift of the wreckage (winds, currents, waves).
The 32-metre-long vessel, skippered by Armel Le Cléac’h, was then identified by the Pléiades satellites, which provide images at a resolution of 0.5 metres.
Ocean Finder is an online service for the detection and identification of objects at sea (ships, icebergs, oil slicks), combining satellite imagery, AIS (Automatic Identification System) and open source data.