Archive for 05/06/2012

Suzanne Goldenberg –

Wreckage including lumber, footballs, parts of roofs and factories, and even bikes will soon start coming ashore in North America.

Wreckage from Japan’s tsunami – fishing gear and furniture, footballs and ships – has swept across the Pacific far faster than expected, with thousands of tonnes projected to land on North American shores this year. Scientists believe lighter objects such as buoys and oil drums began reaching land last November or December.

The rest is spread over thousands of miles of ocean between the Midway atoll and the northern islands of Hawaii. About 95% will probably never come ashore and is destined for that massive swirl of floating plastic known as the north Pacific garbage patch.

The remaining fraction is due to reach the west coast of the US and Canada in October.

No one expects to wake up one morning to a tsunami of rubbish. “It is not like you are going to be standing on the beach looking at the horizon and see a wall of debris come in,” said Nicholas Mallos, a marine debris expert at the Ocean Conservancy.

But there have already been some bizarre finds.

This week a beachcomber in British Columbia found a moving crate containing a rusting Harley-Davidson motorcycle registered to Japan’s Miyagi prefecture, which absorbed the brunt of the tsunami.

The crate also contained a set of golf clubs. Last month a a football washed up on an uninhabited island off Alaska and was traced to its owner, a Japanese schoolboy from the town of Rikuzentakata which was almost flattened by the tsunami.

A 160ft fishing boat, the Ryou-Un Maru, drifting to within 300 miles of the British Columbia coast before it was deemed a hazard to shipping and sunk by the US coastguard, was also found.

Full story…


Natasha Were – 

In the overwhelming majority of dive accidents and dive fatalities, human error was the primary cause, said Dan Orr, president of Divers Alert Network, during a presentation he gave on dive safety while in the Cayman Islands last week.

During the seminar, which was aimed at dive professionals, Mr. Orr presented the results of his organisation’s analysis of available statistics on divers and dive related accidents and fatalities, and examined ways in which these could be prevented. DAN is an international dive safety organisation that researches medical issues affecting divers in order to develop diving safety guidelines, as well as operating an emergency hotline, dive evacuation service and offering dive insurance.

Although the organisation does not have access to data concerning every dive related injury or fatality that occurs worldwide, it has analysed almost 1,000 files on dive fatalities to determine the root causes of these incidents, and therefore re-examine how such incidents could be prevented.

This analysis revealed some significant trends: Fifty per cent of all dive fatalities were in the 40 to 59 age group.

“The dive community is ageing,” said Mr. Orr.

“Twenty two years ago, the average age of a DAN member was 38. Now it’s 45.”

Full story…