Archive for 03/05/2012

Stuff –

The captain of the cargo ship which grounded on a reef off Tauranga last year has pleaded guilty to all charges against him.

The Rena hit the Astrolabe Reef in October last year causing an environmental disaster – spilling oil and containers into the water and killing masses of sea animals. The stricken ship broke in two early this year.

The captain pleaded guilty today in the Tauranga District Court to charges laid under the Maritime Transport Act, Crimes Act and Resource Management Act.

He retains name suppression.

Prime Minister John Key said the captain’s guilty plea vindicated the charges against him.

“It’s important justice bought to bear here, significant environmental damage that’s occurred in New Zealand and the Government is very concerned about that,” he said.

The ship’s navigation officer, whose name is also suppressed, also appeared in court today and he pleaded guilty to a charge laid under the Maritime Transport Act and three Crimes Act charges.

He is yet to enter a plea on a Resource Management Act charge.

Both men face the same charges; under the Maritime Transport Act 1994 for operating a vessel in a manner likely to cause danger, under the Resource Management Act 1991 for discharging a contaminant and on three charges under the Crimes Act for altering ship documents.

Full story… 

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Fox News –

Filmed for the first time, the icy “finger of death” is an unprecedented look at nature’s beauty — seen at its devastating worst.

Called a brinicle (or brine icicle), cameramen Hugh Miller and Doug Anderson used a time-lapse camera to capture this awe-inspiring event beneath the Antarctic ice shelf for the upcoming Discovery Channel special series, Frozen Planet.

“We were just blown away by how beautiful they were,” producer Kathryn Jeffs told Fox News.

Jeffs was in Antarctica with Miller and Anderson to capture the unique event.

“We were exceptionally excited and we knew we had something that had never been filmed before, never been seen before. No one has really seen the formation of a brinicle.”

This magnificent yet terrifying phenomenon is caused by brine, or naturally occurring salt water, which tends to be denser than the surrounding seawater and has a lower freezing point.

When super cold brine trickles down, the warmer seawater surrounds the cyclone with a brittle layer of ice.

But capturing the event on tape was no easy feat, as the crew battled brutal conditions, technical challenges, and even seal attacks.

“Because there have been so few studies on the brinicles, it’s really, really difficult to tell when and exactly how they are going to form,” Jeffs explained to Fox News.

“They do have a tendency to form when the ice is being disrupted, or in extremely cold conditions — which disrupt the inner channels and sets in motion the flow of brine.”

Full story…