Marine Research Glider Goes Rogue

An autonomous marine research glider has been reported likely drifting at sea near Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia.

According to Ocean Tracking Network, the two-meter long, yellow glider failed to report at its scheduled waypoint, 8 km from Devil’s Island near Halifax Harbour on May 22. Efforts to recover the glider over the weekend were unsuccessful.

In the event of non-communication, the glider is programmed to remain at the surface. Glider operators have warned sea-goers to be vigilant around this area to avoid damage to boats, marine gear, and the glider.

Glider operators have also asked that any sightings and, if possible, latitudes and longitudes of the sightings, be reported to the Ocean Tracking Network. Anyone attempting to handle the glider should do so with care to avoid damage to onboard scientific instruments.

The glider resembles a two-meter-long airplane. It weighs 50 kilograms and has a black scientific instrument strapped to the main body.

Notification of the possibility of a drifting glider has been issued through the Coast Guard, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and Halifax Traffic. Operators are working with oceanographers and port authorities to determine the glider’s drift path.

The glider belongs to researchers at the University of British Columbia and was returning from a two-week test mission when both main and backup satellite communication systems failed.

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