A new partnership designed to increase public and scientific understanding of the world’s oceans has been formed between the Passenger Shipping Association (PSA) and the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS). The collaboration will explore ways in which the two organisations can work together to collect much needed data from seas around the globe.

The PSA has 54 cruise and ferry line members whose ships sail around the world. The partnership will look at opportunities to gather valuable water samples that will assist scientists in understanding the role of the ocean in climate change. It is envisaged this work and the subsequent results will also be used to give the travelling public an appreciation of what’s happening in the seas and the work being undertaken by NOCS.

NOCS is the country’s focus for oceanography and represents an unparalleled investment in marine and earth sciences and technology in the UK. Based at a purpose-built waterside campus in Southampton, it is home to some 520 research scientists, lecturing, support and seagoing staff, as well over 700 undergraduate and postgraduate students. A collaboration between the University of Southampton and the Natural Environment Research Council it uniquely combines teaching, strategic research, technology development and the provision of equipment to the UK science community, including Royal Research Ships James Cook and Discovery, and the deep diving submersibles, Autosub and Isis.

In recent years scientists have been using sophisticated sensors mounted on so-called “ships of opportunity” to take continuous measurements of water temperature, salinity and the amount of dissolved carbon dioxide in sea water - a crucial factor in understanding the role of the oceans in climate change. The collaboration between NOCS and the PSA presents opportunities to extend this network.

William Gibbons, Director, PSA said: “The world’s ocean is the last unexplored frontier and the association between the Passenger Shipping Association and the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton offers a tremendous opportunity for our members to help the scientific world while providing passengers with a fascinating, informative insight into what’s happening in the seas around us.”