Archive for 01/03/2012

Rutland and Stamford Mercury – 

A businessman is taking on an apprentice to help young people and his company.

Chris McAleese who owns Dive Rutland in Whissendine Road, Ashwell, is hoping to train them up to Dive Master standard.

Once qualified the young person would be able to train as an instructor or travel to almost anywhere in the world and use their skills to further their career.

Chris said: “I think taking on an apprentice is something more companies should look to do. “It benefits your business and tackles the unemployment problem.

“We can’t sit back waiting for the economy to correct itself.”

To apply you must be a strong swimmer aged 18 to 24.For more information and to arrange a “try dive interview” email

Clay Maitland – 

Our government’s present inability to land a cargo of gasoline via a U.S.-flagged vessel in icebound Nome, Alaska, symbolizes the shortage of foresight of our maritime policy makers.

We are unable to provide a U.S.-flagged ice-strengthened tanker to lift cargo between points in the United States (within Alaska), and will apparently have to secure the services of a Russian vessel instead.

At the same time, the termination of the Global Maritime and Transportation School (GMATS), which has been at the forefront of professional training since its founding in 1994, seems to be another illustration of an “asleep at the switch” attitude toward our urgent maritime requirements.

The two episodes have more in common than might at first appear. Up to now, GMATS, located at King’s Point, has provided more than 140 maritime education and training programs, including four categories: nautical science and military training, marine engineering, transportation logistics and management.

In 2010, more than 4,000 students were enrolled in GMATS programs. All of this now comes to an end, although the various state-sponsored maritime academies will no doubt attempt to take up the slack.

Many of the courses offered have particular significance in educating mariners in the finer points of safety management, a matter of increasing concern in our complex transportation environment.

Bridge resource management, decision making, situational awareness, master/pilot relationships and voyage planning were among the courses on offer.

Many of these courses were tailored to the equipment employed aboard ships owned by the companies sponsoring the students themselves.

Full story…

John Roach – 

A low-level electric current running through domed-shaped metallic structures in the waters off Bali is giving a jolt to coral reef survival there, according to news reports.

The Biorock technology is seen by some conservationists as a means to repair coral reefs damaged by years of destructive cyanide and dynamite fishing practices, as well as steadily warming oceans.

Warming oceans are a threat to the reefs since they result in more frequent episodes of coral bleaching, a phenomenon when higher temperatures cause photosynthetic algae that provide corals with food and color to leave, turning the corals white.

Without food for a sustained period of time, the corals will die. A coral bleaching event in 1998 killed one sixth of the world’s tropical reefs.

Biorock technology builds from the late German marine architect Wolf Hibertz’s discovery in the 1970s that electrified metallic structures cause dissolved minerals in the water to crystallize on them.

This grows “into a white limestone similar to that which naturally makes up coral reefs and tropical white sand beaches,” the Global Coral Reef Alliance explains.

Marine life including corals and oysters colonize this limestone. “Corals grow two to six times faster.

We are able to grow back reefs in a few years,” Thomas J. Goreau, a marine biologist who is leading the development of the technology, told AFP.

Goreau is president of the Global Coral Reef Alliance, a U.S.-based non-profit dedicated to the protection, preservation, and sustainable management of coral reefs.

Full story…

Lois Epstein – 

For those of us who have watched with dismay as the Obama administration moves forward with approval after approval of Shell’s oil drilling permits for the Arctic Ocean, there’s a logical disconnect:

Why would the administration allow drilling in the Arctic Ocean when there’s a reasonable likelihood of a disaster in the making ?

Consider these three critical concerns:

• Very few of the post-BP Oil Spill Commission’s and the National Academy of Engineering’s recommendations have been implemented, including no reforms to date by Congress.

• Our understanding of the region’s ecology and the impacts a major spill would have, including on subsistence, is greatly insufficient, according to the administration’s own study by the U.S. Geological Survey. Additionally, there’s no plan to remedy that problem.

• Spill “cleanup” technologies are primitive, with recovery of oil contacting the ocean measured in single-digit percentages.

The reforms that the former Minerals Management Service has enacted since the BP spill, while not insignificant, are nowhere near enough to ensure there will not be a major spill associated with offshore drilling in the Arctic.

We are not ready to drill there. Perhaps most important regarding Shell, the company had major offshore drilling-related spills in the North Sea in August and off Nigeria in December, both from low-tech problems that should never have happened.

These spills — the worst in a decade in each region — do not inspire confidence in the company’s ability to operate without problems and appear to show a poor company-wide “safety culture.”

Full story…

Hydro international – 

Over the past year a number of Asian companies and government agencies have acquired underwater search equipment to aid in the location of lost objects and assist in performing survey operations.

In China, Guangzhou Advanced Maritime Academy has added a remote operated underwater vehicle (ROV) to their programme, as other institutions and companies in China, Korea, Hong Kong and other countries have invested in their equipment.

The throughput of cargo and containers at China’s ports has been the largest in the world for the past five years with an annual growth rate of 35%. The mission of the academy is to train people to work in this burgeoning field using the latest technology.

ROVs are now routinely employed in ports for inspection of ship’s hulls and propulsion systems. They are also used to appraise the integrity of piers, seawalls, and other underwater structures.

The underwater vehicle the academy selected is the SeaLion made by JW Fishers,USA. Another Chinese agency having purchased underwater search equipment is Tianjin Science Instruments and Equipment Corp.

The company has acquired a dual frequency side-scan sonar from Fishers. The system consists of a towfish with 100K and 600K transducers mounted on each side, 100 metres of tow cable, and a laptop computer running custom software.

The side scan produces detailed images of the bottom of a river, lake, or ocean. It allows the system operator to see the structure of the bottom (i.e. rocks, sand, mud) and any objects lying there, regardless of water clarity.

The sonar can perform a variety of functions from mapping navigable waterways, to searching for sunken vessels, and locating drowning victims.

Full story…

Flora Bagenal – 

More than 20 people were feared dead after a Kenyan ferry carrying more than 80 passengers capsized on Sunday night following a collision with a cargo boat off the island of Lamu, a popular tourist destination.

Survivors confirmed earlier suggestions that the small ferry was overloaded when the two vessels collided in the dark at about 9 p.m. (1800 GMT).

The Kenya Red Cross said of the 82 passengers, seven were confirmed dead as of Sunday night, 25 had been rescued and 23 managed to swim to shore. Fifteen people pulled from the water were admitted to hospital.

Abdalla Miraj, regional head of the Kenya Red Cross, told Reuters at least 16 people were still believed missing.

“We have stopped diving now because we have been told that after 24 hours the bodies will float to the surface, so at around 8 p.m. we will all go out again and try to collect the rest,” he said.

Speedboats scoured the channel separating Lamu Island from the mainland. One police boat carried the body of a victim under a white patterned sheet.

The ferry had just left Lamu at the time of the collision. The other vessel was carrying oil drums.

A Lamu resident said the small ferries can typically take up to about 50 passengers, but survivors said the boat was overloaded with people and baggage. Kenyans flock to the Indian Ocean coast over Christmas and New Year for holidays.

“Soon after leaving it hit another vessel and water started flowing in. I was on it with my three children and wife and luckily we were all saved,” said survivor Ali Bakari.

“The boat itself was overloaded. Before it left there was a police officer who tried to stop it leaving, but the operator talked him out of it,” Bakari told Reuters at the hospital, adding that neither vessel appeared to have lights.

Full story…