Small company builds system to collect Sargassum seaweedPOSTED: 08/24/15 11:42 AM
St. Maarten – A small company with no more than five employees in Guadeloupe has produced a system to fish Sargassum weed out of the water close to the shore. Earlier this week the company gave a demonstration with the Sargator to French media in Pétit-Bourg.
The local company STMI (Soudure Tuyauterie Maintenance Indust – Industrial Welding and Maintenance of Pipes) launched the system last Tuesday, housed on a boat it has dubbed Sargator in the presence of the mayor of Baie Mahault, Guy Losbard and sous-préfet Jean-Francois Colombet.
The system is able to collect 10 tons of seaweed with a conveyor belt that dips up to 1.80 meters under the surface. The company is ready to deliver a dozen of the systems by the end of November.
STMI-director Jean Mousset came up with the idea for the system with the objective to collect the seaweed before it reaches the coastline. Laurent Brousseau designed it.
The idea for the system came up around fifteen months ago and STMI developed it with the support of Navalu, a company based in Bouin in the Loire region in France specialized in the design and construction of aluminum boats.
The companies financed the project without foreign capital. The cost of the system is between €250,000 and €300,000 (at the current rate $282,500 to $339,000).
The onboard storage tank has a capacity of 6 ton 8 tons, while the fuel consumption of the equipment is negligible.
According to designer Brousseau, Guadeloupe would need around twelve Sargators to keep its coastline free of the seaweed. Building ten systems would create 120 jobs. Brousseau hopes that this week’s demonstration will pique the interest of state and local authorities.
Brousseau told France-Antilles that the crew aboard the Sargator is not exposed to any health risks. “When the Sargassum is fresh it is not harmful.”
Jean-Francois Colombet, the sous-préfet for Guadeloupe said that the battle against the seaweed is a combination of all possible measures and that the Sargator is a part of it. He reconfirmed the support of the state in the fight against the seaweed.