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assisting exiles, preserving biodiversity & producing clean energy

Studio nab’s Mediterranean Alliance Rescue (MAR) proposes the networking of multi-purpose rescue platforms for the Mediterranean Sea migration route, envisioned to save lives while preserving biodiversity and producing clean energy. Led by Nicolas Abdelkader, the project is envisioned as a ‘grid’ encompassing the entire Mediterranean Basin, on which platforms are strategically positioned to each cover an area 70 kilometers in diameter. Rescue teams can thus operate across the entire Mediterranean Sea without any area being left behind, considerably multiplying the chances of assisting would-be exiles and bringing them to safety.

 

On board the platforms, medical teams can take charge of the survivors’ state of health from the moment they are rescued until they are disembarked on land. Each is self-sufficient in energy and has a capacity of 150 berths, as well as a catering room, showers, a command and research room, storage rooms for equipment and foodstuffs, and several outdoor pontoons for resting. In addition, their geometry and mooring system are designed to minimize the environmental impact on the seabed.

all images courtesy of Studio nab

studio nab’s mar envisions grid of multipurpose platforms

The back-up platforms are above all versatile, depending on their location on the grid. Those closest to the coast are designed to generate low-carbon electricity and offer prospects for economic development, transforming hydraulic energy into mechanical energy which is then converted into electrical energy by an alternator. Depending on the intensity of ocean currents in the areas where they are located, these multi-functional platforms for backup and power generation are located in territorial waters, to ultimately supply existing coastal towns and infrastructures.

 

Studio nab has positioned the relief platforms further offshore to play in ecological restoration and scientific and oceanographic research. With the aim of preserving and generating biodiversity, they help repopulate fish populations by creating nurseries and shelters for adult and juvenile fish. They are also a scientific tool for observing protected and unprotected marine areas, and for forecasting, inventorying, and monitoring marine biodiversity.

studio nab proposes network of rescue platforms for mediterranean sea migration route
Mediterranean Alliance Rescue (MAR) proposes the networking of multi-purpose rescue platforms

addressing social & ecological crises in the mediterranean sea

Studio nab’s MAR is a research initiative that stems from the recognition that the Mediterranean is the scene of one of the greatest migratory, ecological, and energy crises of modern times, each requiring urgent intervention. It is the world’s deadliest maritime migration route, and an area where human rights and fundamental freedoms are violated with impunity. The risk of migrants and refugees being shipwrecked and dying at sea has never been higher due to conflicts that are accelerating departures from the coasts at an alarming rate, and the crying lack of NGO vessels to carry out rescues. In the space of a decade, the Mediterranean has turned into a veritable sea of blood, with 29,589 deaths and disappearances recorded since 2014, according to IOM figures. Though this staggering figure is actually much higher, as indeed many of the migrants disappear without a trace, particularly in cases where people are lost at sea or in shipwrecks with no survivors. Hundreds of wrecks linked to no known shipwrecks are thus found on the coasts. Too many people who are victims of heinous trafficking and treated as currency flee conflicts, poverty, and environmental disasters.

The Mediterranean Sea is also experiencing one of the greatest losses of biodiversity in the world, with 40% of marine species considered to be in decline (source: RED 2020, Plan Bleu). The causes are manifold: shipping, overfishing, offshore drilling, tourism, artificialization of the coastline and seabed, coastal landfills, marine pollution, microplastics, underwater noise, oil spills, and hazardous materials. Yet, the Mediterranean Sea is home to 17,000, i.e., 18% of the world’s known marine species. 78% of assessed fish stocks are overexploited, while marine predators have declined by 41%. 9% of the marine area is officially protected, with only 10% of these sites implementing management plans.

studio nab proposes network of rescue platforms for mediterranean sea migration route
distant view of a rescue and oceanographic research platform

It is also one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, with 17% of the world’s tanker capacity and 26 million cruise passengers per year. In addition, 360 million tourists are largely concentrated in the Mediterranean basin during the summer months and in coastal areas, generating a gigantic amount of pollution that is harmful to the entire marine ecosystem.

In terms of demographic trends, the population of the southern Mediterranean basin is set to increase by around 140 million, and as a result, by 2050, total primary energy demand is expected to reach 1,404 Million tons of oil equivalent, with an increase of 67% for the southern countries alone. The Mediterranean energy mix is currently made up of just 15% renewable energies, nearly 60% of which are used to generate electricity. The basin’s energy system is not yet on track to achieve the level of decarbonization required to meet the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement. The current energy mix is not very diversified and should urgently increase its share of renewable energies as the countries of the Mediterranean basin continue along the path of electrification and the abandonment of traditional hydrocarbons (oil, natural gas and coal) in favor of energy sources requiring fewer fossil resources, foremost among which are renewable energies such as solar, wind and hydro.

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