Archive for 03/10/2012

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Posted: 03/10/2012 in all marine news

Vancouver Sun – 

A Calgary woman died Saturday while scuba diving in Mexico, and her family says police are investigating the tanks and equipment involved.

Ronda Cross, 41, was diving with her cousin in Cabo San Lucas when she was overcome by carbon monoxide in the scuba tanks, according to her family.

Her husband, Colin, who was golfing in Florida with his father at the time, said Ronda’s cousin Roxanne Amundson and the pair’s dive master felt sick and had trouble breathing when they surfaced. Ronda did not surface with them.

Her body was pulled out of the water by the crew of a nearby boat who found her floating in the water.

“The carbon monoxide levels that were in her, she basically just fell asleep,” said Colin Cross.

The group had been diving at a depth of about 23 metres. Both Ronda and Colin have 200 dives under their belt and have travelled around the world for the experience over the years.

Colin Cross said it was Sunshine Dive and Charter that filled the tanks for the group but a staff member who answered the phone denied that his shop had anything to do with the tanks.

The company lists itself as a five star facility certified by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI).

Full story…

UT San Diego – 

In 2005, the aircraft carrier America was towed out to sea on its final voyage. Hundreds of miles off the Atlantic Coast, U.S. Navy personnel then blasted the 40-year-old warship with missiles and bombs until it sank.

The massive Kitty Hawk-class carrier — more than three football fields long — came to rest in the briny depths about 300 nautical miles southeast of Norfolk, Va.

Target practice is how the Navy gets rid of most of its old ships, an Associated Press review of Navy records for the past dozen years has found.

And they wind up at the bottom of the ocean, bringing with them amounts of toxic waste that are only estimated.

Navy documents state that among the toxic substances left onboard the America were more than 500 pounds of PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, a chemical banned by the United States in 1979, in part because it is long-lasting and accumulates throughout the food chain.

Disposing of the carrier that served in the Vietnam War, Desert Shield and Desert Storm cost more than $22 million. In the past 12 years, records show the Navy has used missiles, torpedoes and large guns to sink 109 old, peeling and rusty U.S. warships off the coasts of California, Hawaii, Florida and other states.

During the same period, 64 ships were recycled at one of six approved domestic ship-breaking facilities. The Navy says target practice on military ships serves an important national security function, allowing for live-fire exercises and study of “weapons lethality.”

But since the program’s inception, the AP found the Navy has struggled to balance its military training needs with an environmentally sound way to send ships to the grave.

Full story…

Oceanus –

When the ground in Japan started shaking on March 11, 2011, the Japanese, who are well accustomed to earthquakes, knew this time was different.

They weren’t surprised—the fault that ruptured has a long record of activity. But this time the trembling continued for six minutes. When it finished, many turned their eyes to the sea off the country’s craggy and quake-scarred coast, as they are taught, and waited for the waves to come.

But the last time something remotely similar had happened was more than 1,000 years ago and, even in a country that prides itself on its shared cultural memory of the distant past, that event had been largely forgotten. Since that time, much has changed.

People and development have sprung up along the coast, along with a string of nuclear reactors.

Everything, it seemed, had changed in the intervening millennium—except the ocean. Compared with other large earthquakes in recent memory, the magnitude 9.0 Tohoku earthquake, as it became known, was different in many ways.

The temblors off Chile in 2010 (magnitude 8.8) and Sumatra in 2004 (magnitude 9.1) involved faults that extended partly onto land, but the Tohoku earthquake occurred entirely beneath the ocean—nearly 5 miles beneath the sea surface in some places.

In Japan, the combination of natural forces and greater human presence created a domino-like sequence of events, from earthquake to tsunami to the release of radiation from the mangled remains of the nuclear power plant near Fukushima.

The majority of these events played out in the ocean, noted Jian Lin, a seismologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).

The Tohoku earthquake also triggered a cascade of scientific dominoes, as geologists, geophysicists, chemists, modelers, physical oceanographers, and marine biologists mobilized to understand the causes and consequences of the earth quake.

Full story…