BLUE UPGRADE is a strategic project for the PLOCAN infrastructure, which will enable PLOCAN to continue to position itself as a benchmark in the sector of unique marine research infrastructures worldwide. To this end, BLUE UPGRADE comprises 4 lines of action ADS, LIDOM, TROBSCAB and DAVIMAS, on the facilities of the multipurpose offshore platform and the Ocean Observatory, which have the following objectives: (1) To ensure the availability of the platform in a wider range of weather conditions, (2) To completely eliminate or minimise to acceptable limits the environmental aspects related to the operations carried out on the offshore platform, (3) To guarantee the safety of all operations carried out on the offshore platform, (4). Ensure the safety of all operations on the infrastructure, (4) Improve the monitoring capabilities of the devices demonstrated on the infrastructure, (5) Improve the observatory’s observation capacity and (6) Increase the services provided on the platform. BLUE UPGRADE will allow PLOCAN to adapt its range of services to current demands and also to the future demands of the innovative ecosystem of the blue economy, positioning the infrastructure as an international benchmark in its main areas of activity: the demonstration of innovative multidisciplinary marine technology and ocean observation.
PLOCAN has several differentiating elements in its offer, among which, beyond the climatic conditions and the availability of easier access to greater depths, the offshore platform stands out. This platform is unique in its kind and provides the greatest differential value to PLOCAN’s offer to its users. Therefore, BLUE UPGRADE is of vital importance to the success of the entity, since the availability of a platform that serves as a base of operations, and which provides a series of added services of great value and outstanding facilities is intrinsically linked to the fact that this platform is also operationally secure. Furthermore, the uniqueness and importance of PLOCAN lies in its geographical location (on the edge of the subtropical gyre), its potential capabilities to contribute to observation in the area, and its continuous maintenance of the long-term time series station that has been running for more than twenty years. In addition, it is important to highlight PLOCAN’s capacities to attract and maintain an international community of excellence that can connect with local institutions and centres, encouraging the incorporation of this node in international networks and programmes of excellence. It is therefore essential to continue to strengthen the observatory’s capacity to support activities aimed at answering the unknowns that the scientific community is trying to discover, related to global change and the interactions and resilience of marine ecosystems.