Archive for January, 2012

David Eimer –

Authorities in Liuzhou, a city of 3.7 million in Guangxi Province in southern China, are battling to contain the spread of the toxic chemical, after elevated levels of cadmium were detected on Friday in the Liujiang River, the main source of drinking water in Liuzhou.

Panicked residents were rushing to stock up on supplies of bottled water, after being told not to drink water from the river.

Sluices were being opened upstream in an effort to dilute the carcinogenic cadmium, which was discharged into the Longjiang River and has spread downstream leaving large numbers of fish dead.

Earlier in the week, fire fighters dumped hundreds of tons of dissolved aluminium chloride into the Longjiang River in an effort to neutralise the pollutant, but fears remain that it will continue to flow further downstream and affect other cities.

Local officials, though, are insisting that tap water in Liuzhou is safe.

“The water is still up to national standards and is safe for drinking,” said Gan Jinglin, the head of Liuzhou’s Environmental Bureau.

Full story…

Rob Almeida –

I made my first trip to Singapore back in 2000 as a Division Officer on board USS Paul F. Foster.

As we were making our way up around the northern side of the island to Sembawang, I was absolutely astounded by the virtual garbage dump our bow wave pushed aside as we motored along through the channel.

It was unbelievable how little regard the Malaysians and Singaporeans had for their ocean environment… quite a stark contrast indeed from the relatively pristine streets of Singapore.

The Volvo Ocean Race fleet is currently experiencing the same level of frustration and disbelief as they make their way through this global maritime crossroads.

Ken Read, skipper of Puma Ocean Racing remarks,

“It’s an incredible place to sail but the sad part is how much stuff is in the water, how much junk there is in the water,’’ he said.

“How people in the world can’t treat the ocean with more respect is just fully beyond me.”

Full story…


RT – 

Two ships of the US Navy, the nuclear submarine USS Annapolis and the destroyer USS Momsen have passed through the Suez Canal into the Red Sea. Although their destination is confidential, they are now getting dangerously close to the Persian Gulf.

The ships’ passage was a major operation for the Suez administration as due to safety reasons they had to close off the canal to all other traffic and even shut down the bridge, disrupting the link between the banks for some four hours. The traffic on the roadways alongside the canal was also restricted, Interfax news agency reports.

There are no reports regarding the destination of the vessels, but the news come amid the ongoing crisis in the relationship between the US and Iran. There is mounting speculation that the Annapolis and the Momsen are heading to the Persian Gulf to reinforce the US naval forces already present in the region.

Currently the US has two aircraft carrier groups in the region headed by USS Abraham Lincoln and USS Carl Vinson. It is expected that another aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise, will join the strike force in March.

Since the EU placed a new round of sanctions on Iran by putting an embargo on Iranian oil, Iran is once again threatening to use military force to close the Strait of Hormuz.

Meanwhile, a Kuwaiti maritime official said on Monday that the Gulf Cooperation Council group of Arab countries have contingency plans for coastguards and naval forces should there be an attempt by Iran to shut down the Strait of Hormuz.

Full story…

Hydro International – 

Oceanographers have identified a series of ocean hotspots around the world generated by strengthening wind systems that have driven oceanic currents, including the East Australian Current, polewards beyond their known boundaries.

The hotspots have formed alongside ocean currents that wash the east coast of the major continents and their warming proceeds at a rate far exceeding the average rate of ocean surface warming, according to an international science team whose work is published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Tasman Hot Spot Ocean currents


Paper co-author, CSIRO’s Dr Wenju Cai, said that while the finding has local ecological implications in the region surrounding the hotspots, the major influence is upon the ocean’s ability to take up heat and carbon from the atmosphere.

In Australia’s case, scientists report intensifying east-west winds at high latitudes (45º-55ºS) pushing southward and speeding up the gyre or swirl of currents circulating in the South Pacific, extending from South America to the Australian coast.  

The resulting changes in ocean circulation patterns have pushed the East Australian Current around 350 kilometres further south, with temperatures east of Tasmania as much as two degrees warmer than they were 60 years ago.

Full story…

Hydro International – 

The newly-established Norwegian renewable energy company STRAUM merges three technology environments to become a leading supplier of wave, tidal and ocean wind power technology. STRAUM believes consolidation is the key to success.

Tidal energy
Norway has a strong history of developing world class offshore and hydropower technologies. This is a unique platform to develop marine renewable energy systems from, and a competitive advantage we believe now is materialised in STRAUM, says CEO Harald Østerberg. Through consolidation the company gathers expertise and financial strength to break through in the global market. He sees synergies connected to technology development and commercialisation.

Full story…


gCaptain – 

Yesterday marked 32 years since the sinking of Coast Guard Cutter Blackthorn.

Twenty-three of the Blackthorn’s 50 crewmembers lost their lives during the Coast Guard’s worst peacetime disaster, and a memorial inscribed with the names of the crewmembers that perished now stands two miles north of the accident site.

Vice Adm. Robert C. Parker, Atlantic Area Commander, was at the ceremony honoring the ship’s crew. Below are his thoughts immediately following the ceremony. – LT Stephanie Young, USCG. Our worst peace time loss.

Thirty-two years to the day and connections to this event still remain. Personal connections abound, including my own. I remember the disbelief I felt when I saw the message. Had to be a mistake. It wasn’t. The news got worse. And worse still.

Over the years I have wondered how each of the effected lives would have turned out had this fate not befallen them.

Would my classmate Frank Sarna maybe be in my privileged position instead of me ?

Questions that will remain forever unanswered. A cuttermen tribute is read by Lt. Craig Allen, prospective commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter William Flores. He begins to read the names of the fallen.

The bell tolls. As I prepare to deliver my remarks the bell tolls for each member of the crew as one of 23 crew members from the soon-to-be Coast Guard Cutter William Flores places a rose on the memorial to honor the fallen.

When the name of my classmate is called and the bell rings, a lump forms high in my throat. It would remain through my entire remarks.

It was a fittingly moving ceremony brilliantly executed with the help of Sector St. Petersburg and countless unseen supporters.

Full story…


RT –

They still can’t sleep at night since the Costa Concordia put them through the ordeal of their lives.

A Russian couple that made it ashore safe and sound believe every passenger could still be alive had the rescue operation been better organized.

They are just two of the passengers from over 4,000 people onboard the massive cruise ship Costa Concordia. Denis Golovkin and Olga Gridneva still have trouble sleeping at night.

“I don’t understand how they couldn’t have rescued everyone considering the liner sank no further than half a kilometer from land, in warm weather,” says Olga.

Sixteen bodies have so far been recovered and 16 people are still missing after the 290-meter long cruise liner struck a rock near the Tuscan island of Giglio.

Olga and Denis got onboard only two and a half hours prior to the disaster at the port of Civitavecchia.

For them it was just the beginning of their cruise, as the liner was picking up passengers along the way.

The couple had just had dinner – incidentally, to the tune of the Titanic theme song – and were back in their cabin when the ship hit the reef.

“Our glasses, laptops and cellphones flew off the table,” Olga recalls.

“The boat went too close to the shoreline where it wasn’t supposed to be. And we certainly felt it, like a really strong crash or shaking…”

They grabbed their life vests and Denis suggested taking warm clothes, considering the temperature outside was 12 degrees Celsius.

“I thought that we might actually have to jump overboard,” Olga says, “nobody was supervising us, we spent an hour and a half on the deck, and the speakers were saying, “Don’t worry, everything is fine…”

It was very scary. It was a large ship, the height of a multi-storey building.

When a sensible individual starts thinking that they might have to jump overboard they assess their abilities and realize that they don’t feel like jumping from this height at all.”

Full story…