Photos: Inside the OceanXplorer

Monaco Life was invited on-board the OceanXplorer on Wednesday, currently docked in Monaco, to get an exclusive tour of a hyper-modern boat that is revolutionising ocean exploration.

Prior to Monaco Life’s visit, Prince Albert II boarded the ship to see the extensive laboratories, diving equipment and media hubs that make the vessel so unique. As Vincent Pieribone, vice-chairman of OceanX told us, they are in fact working closely with the Principality, through their partnership with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, whilst they hope to further solidify those ties.

“We both have an almost identical mission: to explore the ocean and share it with the rest of the world. Sharing it with the world helps build stewardship. The Prince has led this for years, and we’re arriving late in the game so we’re here for his help, for his advice and his partnership,” said Pieribone. “He’s got a lot of experience, more than we honestly have, and he’s a real world leader on this stage. Given the size of Monaco, the Principality has an outsised role. At all the UN meetings he’s front and centre, he’s a trusted source of information.”

The scientist also revealed the future plans for collaboration with Monaco. “We’re hoping Prince Albert and his teams will join us on expeditions. That scientists, researchers and storytellers from Monaco will join us in our exploits. We’ve had discussions whilst we’ve been here about them potentially joining us when we go to the Pacific Ocean. He’s got interests in the Polar regions, and the Oceanographic Museum has a beautiful exhibit right now. So, we’ll soon be in the Antarctic and hopefully he’ll join us there,” he said.

From left to right: Ray Dalio, Prince Albert and Vincent Pieribone. Photo by Gaetan Luci, Prince’s Palace

The OceanXplorer is a game-changer in the field of ocean exploration, and it has already carried out ground-breaking research in the Red Sea, which allows experts to more comprehensively understand coral ecosystems. “We spent 18 weeks in the Saudi and the Jordanian Red Sea region. It’s a very understudied body of water. We weren’t very familiar with it when we started… It has very diverse coral and the water is extremely hot. That seems counterintuitive to what we’ve all been talking about with regards to global warming killing coral reefs. If you take coral from Australia and you put it into the water right now, the Red Sea will kill it immediately because of the temperature. Those coral in the Red Sea have had 10,000 years to evolve to a state of handling high temperatures,” said Pieribone.

He continued,” It’s clear that coral can withstand high temperatures, but only after a long period of adaptation. So, we’re studying those corals to understand, because unfortunately for our world, in 50 years when most coral reefs are dead because of climate change and increasing temperatures mainly, the corals of the Red Sea will probably be one of the only reserves of living coral that can populate the rest of the oceans, and it will take them tens of thousands of years to leave those areas and propagate to the rest of the ocean.”

The partnership between OceanX and the Principality will further expand the frontiers of our knowledge about the world’s oceans, hopefully engendering a more sustainable relationship between man and water.


Click on Monaco Life’s gallery below to see more pictures of the OceanXplorer…



Photo above by Monaco Life





Prince Albert’s Planetary Health Gala removed from 2022 calendar

Monaco’s largest celebrity charity gala, organised by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, will not go ahead this year, with the war in Ukraine cited as the main reason.

An annual event since 2017 attracting A-list celebrities from around the world, the Monte-Carlo Gala for Planetary Health has been a staple of the social season since its inception.

Organised by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation to support ocean conservation and planetary health, it has been attended by the likes of such mega stars as Leonardo DiCaprio, Nicole Kidman, Katy Perry, Sharon Stone, Robert Redford, Sting, Orlando Bloom, Johnny Depp and Uma Thurman. But due to an unusual series of events in 2022, the foundation has decided not to go ahead with the bash in 2022.

“This year, the decision was made not to hold the Monte-Carlo Gala due to the international crisis. It seemed reasonable to us to put it on hiatus at least this year in this context of war in Ukraine and international instability,” Olivier Wenden, Vice-President of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, announced through Monaco Matin. “We felt that the gala was perhaps a little too showy in this difficult international climate.”

In place of the lavish gala, which annually pulls in the biggest donations for the foundation, Olivier Wenden says, “We are going to do things differently” with “slightly more intimate, private events carried by philanthropists who support the foundation and whom we thank because they help us make it possible to avoid disruptions in the projects we carry out and to continue to honour our commitments.”

He revealed that the first “intimate” event will be a Venetian-themed dinner for a hundred or so patrons at the Hermitage Hotel on 1st October, with a concert by French singer Mika.

The second, to be held on the 28th October in Singapore, is the Ocean Ball. This will be organised through the support of Jacqueline Deromedi and her son Jean-Marc who will privatise the showrooms at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, holding an auction to finance projects in Asia.







Photo of the 2021 Monte-Carlo Gala by Eric Mathon, Prince’s Palace





Telework to remain an option until end of year

The government has decided to extend remote work until 31st December, giving employees and civil servants from Monaco, France or Italy the option to work from home if their job allows for it. 

Telecommuting was put into place as a matter of course in February 2020 as a way to allow at least some people to continue their usual activities during the pandemic whilst staying in compliance with national rules on confinement.

This version was a more flexible take on telework than governed by law 1429, which was the subject of an amendment to the Franco-Monegasque convention of 1952 on social security, and gave many employees and employers the chance to try out an alternative way of working, albeit in this case without any choice.

The pandemic-led requirement to work remotely was set to end on 1st June 2022, but was extended to continue until 31st August, with a notable caveat. Telecommuting would be limited to employees, civil servants, state or municipal employees whose place of residence is Italy.

This exception only for Italian-based workers meant that for the rest of the workforce in Monaco, it was back to the telework rules in the strictest sense of the law for those who preferred to see their employees on-site for work.

This summer, though, French and Monaco authorities held exchanges on the realities of the current situation and decided on 14th July that, due to the fact that the virus is still alive, well and contagious, and that new variants could spell big trouble, continuing remote work for certain jobs, no matter where the worker lived, was a prudent way forward, at least until 31st August.

By mid-August, the decision was up for review again, and it was declared that the extension for telework would last until 31st December, as published in the Journal de Monaco on 26th August.



Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash






Sea and CO2 levels at record highs in 2021

The 32nd annual State of the Climate report by scientists from the National Centres for Environmental Information reveals that global sea levels and greenhouse gas concentrations hit record highs in 2021, despite commitments to reduce CO2 emissions.

The annual international review is based on data gathered from over 530 scientists in more than 60 nations. It offers a full-spectrum account of the Earth’s climate indicators, notable weather events, and other such information collected by environmental monitoring stations and instruments located on land, water, ice and in space.

The latest report, based on data from University of Hawaii Sea Level Centre (NOAA), tells a scary story, showing global average sea levels at record highs in 2021. Globally, sea levels have risen nearly everywhere, and coastal areas where sea levels have fallen are places where the land is rising as it rebounds from being compressed by ice sheets and glaciers during the last ice age.

“The data presented in this report are clear – we continue to see more compelling scientific evidence that climate change has global impacts and shows no sign of slowing,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad. “With many communities hit with 1,000-year floods, exceptional drought and historic heat this year, it shows that the climate crisis is not a future threat but something we must address today as we work to build a Climate-Ready Nation, and world, that is resilient to climate-driven extremes.”

Other major findings reveal greenhouse gas levels rose to new records with global annual average atmospheric concentrations of CO2 at 414.7 parts per million. This is 2.3 parts per million higher than in 2020 and the highest level in at least a million years when compared against paleoclimatic records.

Methane also hit new highs, with an annual increase of 18 parts per billion and nitrous oxide had its third highest year since 2001, coming in at 1.3 parts per billion.

The planet also was warmer than normal, placing in the top six warmest years ever recorded since record taking began in the 1800s, a trend that has been ongoing this past decade. The average global surface temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.08 – 0.09 of a degree Celsius per decade since the start of record-keeping, and at a rate of 0.18 – 0.20 of a degree Celsius per decade since 1981, according to a range of scientific analyses.

Additionally, sea levels and and sea warmth were highest ever, while La Niña conditions continued to lower surface sea temperatures, and tropical cyclone activity was way above average.

A bit of good news is that the Arctic was cooler overall, but still hardly normal and is a harbinger of future events, such as the likelihood of complete ice cover melts in the future. The South Pole had its coldest ever winter recorded, but the Antarctic Peninsula had record or near record-breaking years for warmth.

“The 2021 AMS State of the Climate provides the latest synthesis of scientific understanding of the climate system and the impact people are having on it,” said AMS Associate Executive Director Paul Higgins. “If we take it seriously and use it wisely, it can help us thrive on a planet that is increasingly small in comparison to the impact of our activities.”



Photo of Patagonia by Wolf Schram on Unsplash




Indignation following Monaco’s defeat to Troyes

ESTAC Troyes defeated AS Monaco 4-2 at the Stade Louis II on Wednesday, in a match that was overshadowed by refereeing controversy and which solicited Paul Mitchell’s intervention post-match.

All eyes were on Monaco to see if they could “back-up” their draw against PSG with a win against a team that Benoît Badiashile stated “on paper, are inferior”. However, it was referee Ruddy Buquet who stole the show and proved the most decisive actor in a match that quickly turned sour for Monaco.

Prior to Buquet’s questionable interventions, Monaco looked to be cruising. Having largely dominated in the early stages, they took the lead through a Guillermo Maripán header, and although they took their foot off the pedal having opened the scoring, Philippe Clement’s men still looked untroubled, and were seemingly cruising.

Bruno Irles’ men were then handed a very generous life-line. The goalscorer, Maripán, was adjudged to have fouled within the box when he tripped over an opposition foot in the box at a corner and fell into an opposition player. Florien Tardieu then stepped up to level the scores, whilst Maripán also received a yellow card for the incident.

“If that is a penalty, there will be at least five matches I think,” said Clement post-match. The Belgian coach would be handed many more reasons to feel aggrieved before the end of the match.

On a yellow, Maripán, shielding the ball, was adjudged to have elbowed the opposition in the face. The Chilean international was subsequently shown a second yellow, and a red. The Principality club have already seen red on three occasions in Ligue 1 this season in just five matches.

“The second yellow card. I don’t understand it either. I saw other actions like that on Mo Camara last week, and no yellow was given. But here, where Maripán is protecting himself and very lightly touches a Troyes player, who said after the match that he exaggerated a bit because he knew he had a yellow. At that moment, it’s a red card and that really determines the match. They are two decisions that are very decisive in the course of the match and it isn’t the first time for us at the start of the championship that they’ve gone against us,” said Clement.

Just prior to that red card, Troyes were lucky not to have gone down to 10-men themselves when Yoann Salmier momentarily forgot what sport he was playing and brought down Breel Embolo with a perfectly executed rugby tackle when the Swiss international was running through on goal. No foul was given, leading Mitchell to bemoan the lack of consistency in Ligue 1 refereeing.

“The bar seems quite low for decisions against us, but high when we’re looking for similar types of decisions. It’s the inconsistency of it all. That’s the most frustrating thing,” Mitchell told Monaco Life.

Things got even worse for Monaco before the half-time whistle. Working their numerical advantage, young French winger Wilson Odobert’s smart finish gave Troyes the lead heading into the break.

The second-half did not bring about a change in fortunes. Monaco looked to have been dealt the hammerblow when Mama Baldé rifled home a volley past Alexander Nübel just after the break, but thereafter, Monaco rallied.

They could, and perhaps should have had a penalty when Embolo was cynically felled inside the box, but the referee waved play on and the side weren’t to be rescued by a VAR intervention. Troyes were then grateful for a string of Gauthier Gallon saves to keep Troyes’ two goal advantage.

However, he could do little about Youssouf Fofana’s close-range effort, which reduced the deficit and instilled Clement’s men with hope of a comeback. Those hopes were short lived. Salmier, who could easily have been sent off in the first-half, tapped in from close-range to restore the two-goal advantage and give Troyes breathing room.

Neither side managed to find another goal and the game finished 4-2. A game that had started so serenely, perhaps predictably for Monaco, had been turned on its head, and the side now head into a difficult double-header against Nice and Lyon in grave need of points.

However, going into those clashes, doubt is starting to creep into Monaco’s game, as Clement revealed: “I’m frustrated today because as a coach it is important to explain things to your players. In recent weeks, I can’t explain things to my players. I say to be intense, to be strong in the duels, which is normal in football. That for me is the big problem. I can’t explain to my players what I want from them…In the four matches we have played, when you look at all the cards and penalties, that’s starting to get into the players’ heads. My players are scared to challenge for the ball at the minute.”

Photo by Monaco Life

A letter sent to the LFP

The refereeing performance also elicited an appearance from “an angry and frustrated” Mitchell. The English sporting director very rarely speaks after matches, but he addressed reporters in the mixed zone to voice his grievances and concerns.

“I’m upset with many things this evening to be totally honest. One of the outstanding thoughts is definitely some of the refereeing decisions. It is becoming too consistent. It feels like it’s always us on the wrong side of every decision. Once again, two red cards in the last four games. Both very debatable, big penalty decision and all we’re asking for is consistency. If the consistent decision is that you send someone off because they raise their arm and there’s a slight contact and then Neymar goes with an elbow into our player in Paris at the weekend, then there is no consistency,” said Mitchell.

He continued, “We’ve reached out to the football association (LFP) by written letter this week, we reached out via the press conference to say that we’re open to discuss. Some of us are ex-players, some of us have been in the game for a long time. I’m sure we can bring value and it feels like it isn’t wanted. Then when you get decisions like we had against us this evening, then of course we’re disappointed and we’re angry and we’re upset.”

Questioned specifically on the red cards, Mitchell responded, “The referees need to give themselves time to make game-changing decisions. This is what we ask, and this is what I said in the press conferences. You’re coming to a critical decision, a contact, a penalty, so give yourself time. Why do we need to make such emotional decisions as referees? It’s not demanded by the association in any league in the world, so they need to give themselves time to make better decisions.”

He then criticised the overall level of refereeing in Ligue 1, referencing the 11 yellow cards seen in gameweek three, a record in the division. “I wouldn’t say I’m upset, I’d say I’m pretty angry to be totally honest. The officiating, as we’ve talked about, isn’t good enough for this level of football, it isn’t good enough for the product that French football needs to be and needs to become in order to keep us at the top of European football. I think we have got to demand consistency for the league, for Monaco and for all of the team because we saw 11 red cards last week. That was superficially the highest in the big five leagues. If that isn’t evidence that something needs to be reviewed, that processes need to be assessed, that responsibility needs to be taken, then I don’t know what is, because it does ruin the game,” he said.

Questioned by Monaco Life as to whether the bar for a red card has been set too low, he replied, “It depends which side of the fence you’re on. The bar seems quite low for decisions against us, but high when we’re looking for similar types of decisions. It’s the inconsistency of it all. That’s the most frustrating thing.”

Regardless of the context of their predicament, Monaco find themselves with ground to make up, and in facing potential rivals for the European places twice within a week, a quick turnaround is essential in order to get their league campaign back on-track.




Photo above source: AS Monaco