For at least the next two years, the three-masted schooner La Boudeuse will be home to the Terre-Océan mission, an undertaking designed to throw new light on certain key aspects of sustainable development in the oceans and rivers of South America and the Pacific. The BNP Paribas Foundation, a long-time partner of La Boudeuse and her captain Patrice Franceschi, is partnering the scientific aspect of this expedition, which is endorsed by a mission letter signed by Jean-Louis Borloo, the French Minister for Ecology and Sustainable Development.
The BNP Paribas retail banking division in France is providing financial support for the Terre-Océan expedition, and running a related programme aimed at young people.
The first scientists to join the crew arrived at Cayenne in French Guiana on 30 January. They include geographers, biologists, botanists, ethnobotanists, entomologists, ichthyologists, geologists and geomorphologists.
As expected, La Boudeuse will sail on 3 February from Kourou bound for St-Laurent-du-Maroni, from where the land expeditions will set off for the Sparaouine river, the Lucifer massif and the Guianan coastline from Maroni to Oyapok.
The research to be undertaken in February covers the following areas:
- Mercury pollution in rivers
- Inventory of the entomological and botanical biodiversity of the Guianan coast
- Geophotography along the ship's route
- Tsunami prevention using geological studies of inshore islands
- CO2 absorption of certain tree species
The investment made by BNP Paribas in this adventure makes perfect sense from a scientific as well as a human point of view. It reflects the long-standing trust and confidence—initiated by the BNP Paribas Foundation in 1994—between the bank and Patrice Franceschi, captain of the three-masted schooner.