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Indian fishermen off the coast of Tamil Nadu have retrieved a Chinese HM2000 profiling float, according to a video that went viral on Instagram nearly two weeks ago. The HM2000 is an autonomous instrument developed by Qingdao Hisun Ocean Equipment Corporation specifically for oceanographic profiling.

Equipped with an SBE41 or SBE41CP CTD sensor, the HM2000 is capable of collecting data on conductivity, temperature, and depth. These floats have previously been used in studies of the western Pacific Ocean’s circulation patterns.

The HM2000 operates autonomously, following the Argo program protocol for profiling cycles. This cycle involves descending, drifting, ascending, collecting CTD samples, transmitting data to the surface, and then descending again to begin the next cycle. The floats boast an average operational lifespan of 2-3 years at sea.

The video’s virality has sparked questions about how the Chinese float ended up in Indian waters. Further investigation is required to determine its origin and how it drifted off course.