Archive for 01/20/2012

Richard Brooks – 

A Menifee scuba diver was ticketed Sunday by California Department of Fish and Game wardens who say they found him and another diver with 47 mostly illegally undersized lobsters at Laguna Beach.

Wardens spotted 30-year-old Marbel A. Para and a companion diving in the Laguna Beach State Marine Reserve after midnight on Sunday, Fish and Game officials said in a statement.

“After the divers left the water and returned to their vehicle, the wardens (contacted) them and discovered 47 spiny lobsters in their possession,” according to the statement.

“The divers were well over the legal … limit of seven lobsters per diver, and all but five of the lobsters were undersize.

Para said all of the lobsters were his, and his companion was not cited, the statement said.

The incident was one of the first violations that resulted in tickets in any of Southern California’s new Marine Preservation Act reserves created Jan. 1, officials said.

Full story…


gCaptain – 

A deepwater oil exploration vessel belonging to China Oilfield Services Ltd. (2883.HK) sank Saturday during construction at a dock in east China, the company said in a statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange Wednesday.

The company is the listed rig builder and drilling-equipment arm of China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CEO), China’s largest offshore oil producer.

Water entered the supply vessel’s hold while it was under construction at a dock in Nantong city in Jiangsu province around 2 p.m. Saturday.

China Oilfield said no environmental pollution resulted, adding that it is investigating the accident.

The company also said Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry Co., the shipbuilder, should be held accountable for losses.

China Oilfield had invested CNY740 million ($117 million) in the vessel’s construction.

Cnooc last month said it may begin independently drilling its first deep-sea gas exploration well in the South China Sea by early 2012.

It isn’t immediately clear if Saturday’s accident would affect those plans.

Full story…


RT – 

An Iranian commander has warned that Tehran is on full alert in case of enemy threats, and has the best submarines in the world ready to “ambush and hit enemy vessels, especially US Aircraft carriers, from the seabed throughout the Persian Gulf.”

Lieutenant Commander of the Iranian Army’s Self-Sufficiency Jihad Rear Admiral Farhad Amiri hailed the Iranian submarines as “the best electronic diesel vessels in the world, noiseless and able to easily evade detection as they are equipped with sonar-evading technology,” the country’s semi-state Fars news agency reported.

The Iranian military official said the vessels can fire missiles and torpedoes simultaneously, underlining that the submarines’ superiority was not just due to their arms and equipment, but also “the tactical issues are very important”, given the geographical specifications of the waters surrounding the country.

A submarine of this type sitting on the seabed can easily target and hit an aircraft carrier traversing nearby regions, hinting at the US aircraft carriers deployed in the Persian Gulf.

Ghadir submarines are equipped with cutting edge military and technological equipment and are capable of firing Hoot supercavitating rocket torpedoes, allegedly reverse-engineered from the Russian VA-111 Shkval. Most analysts agree that it is not a matter of if a war between the US and Iran will break out, but when.

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Wednesday that America is “not making any special steps” to build-up for a possible military conflict with Iran because the US is already “fully prepared to deal with that situation.”

Full story…


Oceanus – 

What was that odd flotsam that appeared after the Gulf oil spill ?

Right after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded April 20, 2010, marine scientist Monty Graham from the Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama began exploring Gulf of Mexico waters to document the unfolding consequences of the unprecedented oil spill.

“Following the blowout, we were going out on the water every other day or so,” he said, to collect water samples and make observations.

On May 5, about 32 miles south of the Alabama coast, they observed something strange.

“The water was flat, glassy calm,” Graham said. “We started seeing these weird objects bobbing in the water—odd white things with an oily halo in the water around them.”

But there was no trace of the wide oil slick on the ocean surface that was spreading out in all directions from the sunken Deepwater Horizon site. Some 50 relatively small pieces of the mysterious white flotsam, interspersed with sargassum weed, extended in an east-west line for 6 miles.

Graham and colleagues collected samples, the largest about the size of a softball.

The material was hard but porous and uniformly embedded with black spheres less than a half-inch in diameter.

Two days later, the researchers collected similar samples about 25 miles south of Dauphin Island.

Nobody knew what the material was. Some speculated it came from Deepwater Horizon; others hypothesized that it could be coral or another substance made by marine plants or animals.

Graham sent a few pieces of the material to Chris Reddy, a marine chemist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), where Reddy and colleagues determined that the material was a manmade, not natural, substance.

The WHOI scientists then analyzed the oil on the debris using comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography, a technique that can identify the thousands of individual chemical compounds that comprise different oils from different reservoirs.

The chemical “fingerprint” of the oil on the debris matched that of oil from Deepwater Horizon. Still, the researchers did not know what the material was or where it came from.

Full story…


Sun Live – 

Good weather conditions during the weekend have allowed divers to take a first look at the damage to the submerged stern section of the Rena.

Maritime New Zealand National On Scene Commander Rob Service says divers undertook a preliminary sub-surface inspection around the Rena wreck at Astrolabe Reef on Sunday.

“This will enable the divers to prepare for a full underwater survey of the sunken rear section once the sea swells ease in the next couple of days.

“Once a detailed underwater survey is complete, the salvage contractors can plan their next steps to recover underwater containers.” Large sea swells and high winds have prevented divers from assessing the ship since it was torn in two during storm on January 8.

The stern section then began slipping off the reef on Tuesday, January 10 and now lies submerged, while the bow section is still stuck fast on the reef.

Sea and swell conditions are expected to subside from Tuesday, January 17 and divers are on standby to confirm the state of the stern and identify any underwater obstructions to help guide the salvage operation.

The crane barge Smit Borneo is in position on the left hand side of the wreck and is connected to the sunken aft section of the ship.

Full story…