Archive for 01/04/2012

Hydro International – 

Canadian Coast Guard’s (CCG) largest and most capable icebreaker, CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, is scheduled for decommissioning in 2017.

Consequently, Budget 2008 provided funds for the acquisition of a new Canadian-built multi-purpose Polar Icebreaker.

The only other heavy icebreaker, CCGS Terry Fox, is scheduled for decommissioning in 2020.

The new Polar Icebreaker will be named after former Prime Minister John George Diefenbaker (CCGS John G. Diefenbaker), one of Canadian history’s great champions of developing and protecting Canada’s North.

CCGS John G. Diefenbaker will be one of the centrepieces of the Government of Canada’s high profile Northern Strategy, which focuses on strengthening Canada’s Arctic sovereignty, economic and social development, governance, and environmental protection.

The Polar Icebreaker will serve as a platform to conduct scientific and engineering research, development, monitoring and observation on behalf of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and other government departments and agencies.

The principal focus will be on marine, environmental, geological and hydrographic science activities directed over the next several decades.

The new Polar Icebreaker will also support the work of Canadian universities, research institutes, and the international scientific community.

Full story…

Physorg – 

Robotic exploration to remote regions, to include distant planetary bodies, is often limited by energy requirements to perform, in repetition, even the simplest tasks.

With this in mind, researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory are looking into a novel approach that could some day aid scientific space and planetary research without the need for power-intense options often used today.

Integrating the NRL developed technologies in microrobotics, microbial fuel cells, and low power electronics, space robotics scientist Dr. Gregory P. Scott at NRL’s Spacecraft Engineering Department inspires a novel autonomous microrover, weighing in at nearly one-kilogram and powered by an advanced microbial fuel cell (MFC) technology.

“The goal is to demonstrate a more efficient and reliable energy source for use in powering small robotic vehicles in environments where the option for human intervention is non-existent,” said Scott.

“Microbial fuel cells coupled with extremely low-power electronics and a low energy requirement for mobility addresses gaps in power technology applicable to all robotic systems, especially planetary robotics.”

The MFC was selected because of its long-term durability owing to the ability of microorganisms to reproduce and the bacterium’s high energy density compared with traditional lithium-ion power sources.

This research explores in more detail the use of microbes as a power source and moves to eliminate the existing bulk associated with MFC infrastructure, such as large, power intensive pump systems and MFC mass and volume requirements.

Full story…

gCaptain – 

Officials in Somalia’s semi-autonomous region of Puntland have welcomed EU plans to expand their anti-piracy operation to include the coast of Somalia. German Foreign Ministry spokesman, Andreas Paschke, has said that there are EU plans to destroy pirate infrastructure or bases on the coast.

He was quick to assure that the proposed plans did not include deploying any troops onto Somalian soil.

He added that a proposal will be submitted to the EU this month.

“We welcome this plan. I hope it will help destroy pirate operations off our coast,” said Puntland’s Interior Minister, Gen. Abdulaahi Ahmed Jama (known as Ilkajiir).

“This is what we have needed for years. We have always said that the best solution to fight pirates is to launch an assault on the beaches.

Now, if the EU is planning to fight pirates on the beaches, and we are accelerating the fight on land, serious gains will be made,” Gen Ilka jiir added. Last month, Puntland officials detained dozens of pirates during their own anti-piracy operations in the region.

Garacad area in the Mudug region is a significant pirate base. Approximately 200 pirates operate out of Garacad, Dhinooda and Buq. Puntland officials in Garacad area told Somalia Report that they welcome the suggestion, but requested notice before any such operation were launched.

“Pirates are a major scourge on the world economy, and we welcome any steps taken by the international community to fight the pirates and destroy their power bases,” said Abdikarim Kaytoun, Chairman of Jariban District (which governs Garacad).

“We need to be informed before any such operation is underway, because we would need to inform residents, local fishermen and elders.

Actions like these can be misunderstood, and we would want to ensure that locals understood that the operation was launched with the sole aim of fighting pirates,” said Abdkiram Kayton.

Full story

gCaptain – 

BP Plc (BP) said all of its costs and damages from the Deepwater Horizon incident and resulting oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico should be paid by cementing contractor Halliburton (HAL), according to a report by Bloomberg, citing a court filing.

Bloomberg says that BP has paid more than $21 billion in cleanup costs and economic damages to individuals, businesses and governments harmed by the spill, and has earmarked as much as $40 billion.

BP wants Halliburton to pay “the amount of costs and expenses incurred by BP to clean up and remediate the oil spill, the lost profits from and/or diminution in value of the Macondo prospect, and all other costs and damages incurred by BP related to the Deepwater Horizon incident and resulting oil spill,” the report quoted Don Haycraft, BP’s lead trial attorney, as saying based on the filing in a New Orleans court.

Both BP and Halliburton have been pointing fingers at each other since the April 20th, 2010 incident. Halliburton says it is indemnified by BP, as they did with Cameron, the manufacturer of the Deepwater Horizon’s BOP. BP, on the other hand, has rejected that argument, accusing Halliburton in yesterday’s filing of gross negligence at a level that “will suffice to eliminate any indemnity obligation for damages of any kind.”

Maritime Journal – 

Some well known names from the UK marine industry have featured on the Queen’s new year’s honour’s list – including awards for the top bods at the NCI, Solar Solve Ltd and Halyard (M&I).

As reported by Boating Business this morning, James Grazebrook, chairman and joint managing director of Halyard (M&I), has received the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to the UK marine industry.

Honorary President of the National Coastwatch Institution (NCI), Jon Gifford, has also been awarded the OBE for his services to charity for his tireless nine year campaign to increase visual watch capability around the UK.

And there was a Member of the British Empire (MBE) award for Julie Lightfoot, managing director of Solar Solve Ltd for her services to international trade.

Ms Lightfoot follows in the footsteps of her father John, company founder and chairman, who received his MBE ten years ago.

This all comes as positive news for the UK marine sector, to which these honours, despite the seemingly neverending economic downturn, stand as testament to some important contributions made by some well known names in the industry.

Hydro International – 

Marine geophysicists from the University of New Hampshire, USA, have found huge ‘bridges’ across the Mariana trench, which cross the trench about a mile above the bottom, reports Rob Wauigh in the Mail Online.

The bridges are created when mountains on the sea floor are pulled into the earth’s crust by enormous geological forces.

The mountains, sticking up from the Pacific ocean plate, form ‘bridges’ as the the Pacific plate disappears into the earth’s crust under the neighbouring Philippine plate.

The bridges are created when undersea mountains are pulled into the earth’s crust – forming bridges across the trench where two tectonic plates collide, said University of New Hampshire scientists.

One of the bridges was detected in low resolution in the Eighties, but Gardner’s team has made three more sightings, according to OurAmazingPlanet.

Some of the bridges rise up to 6,600 feet above the trench, and are up to 47 miles long. The scientists used a multi-beam echo sounder to map the area.

They mapped the sea floor in the Mariana trench with multi-beam echo sounders, and found four bridges across the trench, created when mountains are being pulled into the earth’s crust.

The researchers are examining the process of how underwater mountains are ‘pulled under’ another tectonic plate.

A hydrographic ship from the U.S. Navy recently mapped the Marianas trench. The ship, associated with CCOM, the Centre for Coastal and Ocean Mapping at the University of New Hampshire, mapped the whole of the Marianas Trench to a 100m resolution.

Full story…