STAFF REPORTER

POLLENSA
AN anti-tsunami pilot scheme is being launched this weekend in the Bay of Pollensa in north of Majorca.
Rigorous testing will be continued until after Christmas when conclusions can be drawn on the level of its success. Depending on the results, it will either go into immediate use or there will be further experimentation in places directly affected by sudden surges in tide movement such as the Port of Ciutadella on Minorca. The system was invented by Sebastian Bendito Vallori, who is also monitoring its development. The tests will consist of installing a watertight synthetic rubber tube on the sea bed some 0.1 miles southwest of Punta Avanzada. The tube will be of variable size and filled with gas at the same pressure as the surrounding sea, said sources of shipping company Iscomar.

The device will be connected to a rigid container floating on the surface nearby and, while the sea is calm, the pressure of the gas in the device will not vary. But, when a wave passes there is a proportional increase in the pressure applied on the tube by the sea water, depending of the height of the wave.

This causes the compression of the volume of gas contained within the tube and a decrease directly proportional to the quantity of extra water pressurising it. As a result, an equal quantity of water passes through to occupy the space left by the compressed gas, thus producing an identical decrease in the height of the wave. Instantly, a cushioning affect against the sea surge is created.

To measure the effectiveness of the test there will be a fixed and rigid guide pole, which will measure the exact height of the wave so that the data can be captured. There will be two floating video cameras, one situated in front of the apparatus to record the arrival and height of the wave, and the other behind the apparatus so that the height of the wave after the cushioning process can be determined.

Iscomar, collaborating in the feasibility studies, said yesterday that the mechanism does not consume energy, and does not damage the marine life where it is installed.

It should be pointed out that tsunamis, or sea surges, have become a problem every year for the maritime routes between Majorca and Minorca, specifically in the port of Ciutadella. They cause great damage to property on the shore and disrupt the services of companies such as Iscomar, who sail between the two islands all year round. Private research foundations are also assisting the project.

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