NOAA Fairweather Departs on Survey Mission

Thursday, July 07, 2011

NOAA Ship Fairweather, a 231-foot survey vessel, departed Kodiak, Alaska, today on a mission to conduct hydrographic surveys in remote areas of the Arctic where depths have not been measured since before the U.S. bought Alaska in 1867.

NOAA will use the data to update nautical charts to help mariners safely navigate this  important but sparsely charted region, which is now seeing increased vessel traffic because of the significant loss of  Arctic sea ice.

Over the next two months, Fairweather will conduct hydrographic surveys covering 402 square nautical miles of navigationally significant waters in Kotzebue Sound, a regional distribution hub in northwestern Alaska in the Arctic Circle.

“The reduction in Arctic ice coverage is leading over time to a growth of vessel traffic in the Arctic, and this growth is driving an increase in maritime concerns,” explained NOAA Corps Capt. David Neander, commanding officer of the Fairweather. “Starting in 2010, we began surveying in critical Arctic areas where marine transportation dynamics are changing rapidly. These areas are increasingly transited by the offshore oil and gas industry, cruise liners, military craft, tugs and barges, and fishing vessels.”

Fairweather and her survey launches are equipped with acoustic technology to measure ocean depths, collect 3-D imagery of the seafloor, and detect underwater hazards that could pose a danger to surface vessels. The ship itself will survey the deeper waters, while the launches work in shallow areas.

The city of Kotzebue, located on the shores of Kotzebue Sound at the tip of Baldwin Peninsula, serves as a supply hub for eleven Arctic villages and cannot currently accommodate deep draft vessels. Those vessels must now anchor 15 miles offshore, and cargo is brought to shore by shallow draft barges. This summer’s survey will also address a request for bathymetry to support navigation and installation for an offshore lightering facility used for heating and fuel oil. An up-to-date NOAA chart, using data acquired from surveys with modern high-resolution sonar technology, can improve the efficiency – and safety – at this important location.

Modern U.S. navigational charts are the best in the world, and are updated regularly by NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey. However, they are only as good as the data available, and many of the soundings on today’s Arctic charts were acquired in the 1800’s with a weighted lead line, an antiquated technique. In addition to surveying critical areas with modern multibeam sonar technologies, NOAA has initiated a major effort to update nautical charts that are inadequate for today’s needs, such as the deep draft vessels looking to exploit an open trade route through the Arctic. NOAA’s Arctic Nautical Charting Plan, issued last month, prioritizes charts that need updating.

Fairweather, one of NOAA’s three ships dedicated to hydrographic surveying, is part of the NOAA fleet of research ships operated, managed and maintained by NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations, which includes commissioned officers of the NOAA Corps, one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and civilian wage mariners. The public can track the ship’s progress by visiting the NOAA Ship Tracker.

Maritime Reporter July 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Maritime Safety

Long Beach Cargo Operations Resume

Repair work begins after storm surges subsides The Port of Long Beach resumed full cargo-handling operations Thursday, Aug. 28, after a lessening of storm surges

Ferry Runs Aground in Lynn Harbor

Ferry Cetacea ran aground about a quarter of a mile from the pier in Lynn Harbor, Massachusetts yesterday, with 13 passengers and four crew aboard, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) reported.

Helideck Safety System to Launch at SMM

Amarcon and Observator Instruments will develop a helideck monitoring and forecasting system to improve the safety of helicopter landings and take-offs from a vessel.

Vessels

Darwin, Australia Scene of KAKADU Exercise Planning

Over 1,200 military personnel from the Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean regions have completed collaborative, tactical warfare planning during the first week of the

British WWl Warship Refurbishment Project

Northern Ireland Office Minister, Dr Andrew Murrison MP, visited the historic HMS Caroline in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter as restoration grants are received, informs the UK Government.

Nine Share in US$6-B DoD Contract Modifications

The US Department of Defense informs that nine companies have each been awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity fixed-price option-year two modifications

Government Update

British WWl Warship Refurbishment Project

Northern Ireland Office Minister, Dr Andrew Murrison MP, visited the historic HMS Caroline in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter as restoration grants are received, informs the UK Government.

Nine Share in US$6-B DoD Contract Modifications

The US Department of Defense informs that nine companies have each been awarded indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity fixed-price option-year two modifications

Jones Act is Critical to Conn. Economy

Study shows Connecticut shipbuilding industry worth $2.5 billion to state’s economy, supports nearly 23,000 jobs The American Maritime Partnership (AMP) joined

 
 
Maritime Security Maritime Standards Navigation Offshore Oil Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1296 sec (8 req/sec)