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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Antarctic Treaty Meeting Urged to Step Up Climate Change Role

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As the 2015 Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) opens today in the Bulgarian capital, the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC) urged the ATCM to take action to promote the crucial importance of climate-related Antarctic research and its role in the Earth’s interconnected climate systems to the climate change community, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in the run up this year’s COP21 climate summit in Paris. ASOC is also calling on the ATCM…

ATCM Reaffirm Commitment to Ban on Mining in Antarctic

Image courtesy ATCM

The 29 countries party to the Antarctic Treaty unanimously agreed today to a resolution at the 39th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) stating their “firm commitment to retain and continue to implement…as a matter of highest priority” the ban on mining activities in the Antarctic, which is part of the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (also called the Madrid Protocol). The resolution was initiated by the United States to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the 1991 signing of the Protocol.

Paris Climate Summit - A Missed Opportunity

As the annual Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) closed today in the Bulgarian capital, the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC) called the meeting’s adoption of a resolution on climate change a “missed opportunity” to have a meaningful impact in the run up to COP21 climate summit in Paris. The ATCM, the governing organization for the world’s seventh continent, agreed to a resolution encouraging national Antarctic scientific programmes to work with the international scientific community on the best ways to promote Antarctic climate change research in support COP21 objectives and to support national Antarctic programmes to carry out ambitious science to improve understanding of climate change impacts on the Antarctic environment and ecosystems.

Keel Laid for Australia's New Antarctic Supply/Research Vessel

(Photo: Damen)

Construction of Australia's new Antarctic Supply Research Vessel (ASRV) has taken an important step forward with an official keel laying ceremony carried out at Damen Shipyards Galati, Romania. Damen is building the ASRV for Serco Defence on behalf of the Australian Department of the Environment and Energy. Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding in the Netherlands is responsible for engineering and project management, and Damen Shipyards Galati will perform vessel construction and outfitting. The ice-breaking ASRV is a multi-mission vessel that has been designed to undertake a variety of roles.

Coast Guard Rescue Underway in Antarctica

(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class George Degener)

A U.S. Coast Guard crew is en route to assist a 207-foot fishing vessel with 26 people aboard beset in ice approximately 900 miles northeast of McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star is attempting to reach the crew of an Australian-flagged fishing vessel, Antarctic Chieftain, who contacted Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand Tuesday evening for assistance after becoming trapped in the Antarctic ice. The crew of 40-year-old cutter has reported heavy, snow, wind and ice conditions at times as well as large icebergs along their course.

U.S. Coast Guard Rescues 26 in Antarctic

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star departs the port of Seattle. photo: USCG

The U.S. Coast Guard has rescued an Australian fishing vessel carrying 26 people that had been stranded in icy Antarctic seas since last week, the Coast Guard said on Tuesday. The crew was saved on Sunday by the Coast Guard cutter Polar Star, which broke through some 150 miles (240 km) of thick ice on its way to the 207-foot (63-meter) Antarctic Chieftain vessel, the Coast Guard said in a statement. The Chieftain had been stuck about 900 miles (1,450 km) northeast of McMurdo Sound since last Tuesday, after damaging three of its four propellers in the ice, the Coast Guard said.

US Coast Guard to Free Aussie Fishing Vessel from Antarctic Ice

 The view from the Polar Star (US Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class George Degener)

A U.S. Coast Guard cutter has been diverted from its path to rescue a 207-foot fishing vessel stuck in Antarctic ice, the US Coast Guard announced in a press release today. Antarctic Chieftain, an Australian-flagged fishing vessel with 27 passengers, contacted Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand after becoming beset in ice 900 miles Northeast of McMurdo Sound, Antarctica on Tuesday. The vessel suffered damage to three of its four propeller blades when it became stuck in the ice and lost its ability to maneuver. RCC New Zealand diverted U.S.

Icebreaker Returns from Antarctic Rescue

Polar Star sits on the ice in the Ross Sea near Antarctica while underway in support of Operation Deep Freeze 2015, Jan. 9, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by George Degener)

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, the United States’ only operational heavy icebreaker, is scheduled to return to Seattle after a 101-day Antarctic deployment Tuesday. Polar Star’s crew departed Seattle for Operation Deep Freeze 2015, the military resupply and logistical support mission for the U.S. Antarctic Program’s McMurdo Station. Coast Guardsmen aboard Polar Star escorted the cargo vessel Ocean Giant and fuel tanker Maersk Peary to McMurdo Station through ice ranging in thickness from 5 to 10 feet. These logistics allow scientific research to continue in the Antarctic.

Australian Resupply Ship Delayed by Heavy Ice

The Aurora Australis two kilometers off station on a clear sunny day at resupply (Photo: Colin)

The Australian Antarctic Division has rescheduled its early season voyages with the icebreaker Aurora Australis delayed in heavy ice conditions off the Antarctic coast. The ship is in heavy ice about 180 nautical miles off Davis station, returning from resupplying the station and delivering summer personnel. Radar satellite images this morning indicated that while there may be some useful openings, the sea ice extends to approximately 60 nautical miles around the ship. Beyond that, less concentrated ice will be easier to navigate. Australian Antarctic Division Director, Dr.

Australian Icebreaker Assists Antarctic Research

Aurora Australis (Photo: Australian Department of the Environment)

Australian Antarctic icebreaker Aurora Australis has departed Casey research station to return to Australia. The ship weighed anchor to leave Casey at 1,600 hours (AEDST) carrying summer personnel, scientists and cargo for return to Australia. The 52 passengers rescued from the Akademik Shokalskiy, who have been well-cared for on board during resupply, are looking forward to the trip home. The journey to Hobart will take approximately seven to eight days and Aurora Australis is expected to arrive in Hobart on or about January 22, about 14 days later than originally scheduled.

West Antarctic Ice Sheet: How Stable is it?

West Antarctic Ice Sheet Photo courtesy   Alfred Wegener Institute

A future warming of the Southern Ocean caused by rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere may severely disrupt the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. The result would be a rise in the global sea level by several metres. A collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet may have occurred during the last interglacial period 125,000 years ago, a period when the polar surface temperature was around two degrees Celsius higher than today. This is the result of a series of model simulations which the researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute…

Antarctic Cruise Hits Rocks

The MS Nordkapp hit rocks near Deception Island, an ice-capped caldera off the Antarctic peninsula that is a popular stop for cruise ships. It sustained an 80-ft. gash in her bows. As the ship dropped anchor, the Royal Navy ice-patrol ship HMS Endurance responded to a call for assistance, dispatching a helicopter and diving teams to assess damage and supervising the transfer of passengers to the Nordkapp’s sister ship, MS Nordnorge. Speaking from the bridge of HMS Endurance, Captain Nick Lambert said that once passenger safety had been secured, his priority was to contain pollution. While nobody was hurt, the accident highlights the vulnerability of unspecialized ships sailing in remote and often uncharted Antarctic waters.

TEN Delivers Tanker Antarctic and Handysize Product Tanker Aegeas

Tsakos Energy Navigation Ltd. (TEN) announced the delivery of the 162,400 dwt, 1A ice-class tanker Suezmax tanker Antarctic from Hyundai Heavy Industries and the 36,660 dwt 1A ice-class handysize product tanker Aegeas from Hyundai Mipo Dockyard, both in South Korea. newbuilding program while the delivery of the Aegeas further augments the company's ice-class capabilities in the product tanker category. The Aegeas will enter an attractive three year time-charter with a major international oil entity for a fixed minimum rate and a 50/50 profit share should rates exceed that minimum. Taking into account only the minimum rate, the Aegeas is expected to generate about $21 million in gross revenues over the charter period.

Russian-buit Research Ship Antarctic Ready

Russian PM Tours Research Ship: Official photo

Research ship 'Akademik Tryoshnikov' built by Admiralty Shipyards will be employed in the service of Russian Antarctic stations. The Akademik Tryoshnikov is the first research vessel in the last 20 years built by the Admiralty Shipyards to order by Roshydromet. It will be used to resume annual maintenance of the Bellingshausen Station in the Russian Antarctic, and to reopen the Russkaya Station, which was closed in 1989. This station is the only location in the world where researchers can monitor various natural processes occurring across the space of several thousand kilometers.

Australia’s New Icebreaker Unveiled

A graphic of the new icebreaker (Image: Damen/DMS Maritime/Knud E Hansen A/S)

The Australian Government has provided the first look at Australia’s new icebreaker, a ship it says will offer scientists unprecedented and extended access to the Southern Ocean and Antarctica. Upon its commissioning, planned for October 2019, the custom-built ship will be home ported in Hobart, providing a modern platform for marine science research in both sea ice and open water and a moon pool for launching and retrieving remotely operated vehicles. A multi-beam bathymetric echo sounder will enable seafloor mapping…

Australian Navy Surveys Antarctica

Antarctic Survey Vessel Wyatt Earp Surveying Newcomb Bay. Photo: ABHSO Dyer, Royal Australian Navy

The Royal Australian Navy’s Deployable Geospatial Survey Team returned from a six-week Antarctic expedition to collect essential data for navigational charts and scientific research. The team sailed from Hobart in RSV Aurora Australis on December 11, 2013 to conduct a hydrographic survey in the vicinity of Casey Station, a permanent base in Antarctica managed by the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD). “We sailed the Wyatt Earp from Aurora Australis seven times in conditions of extreme cold to collect high quality data…

Arctic Sea Ice Reaches Maximum Extent for 2014

A NASA Blue Marble view of Arctic sea ice on March 21, 2014.

NSIDC issued an update to Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis describing winter sea ice conditions in the Arctic Ocean stating Arctic sea ice reached its maximum extent for the year on March 21 at 14.91 million square kilometers (5.76 million square miles), making it the fifth lowest maximum in the satellite record (1978-2014). Antarctic sea ice reached its annual minimum on February 23, and was the fourth highest Antarctic minimum in the satellite record. While this continues a strong pattern of greater-than-average sea ice extent in Antarctica for the past two years…

Murmansk Shipping to Assist U.S. NSF

Murmansk Shipping Company was selected among other operators of icebreaking fleet by U.S. National Science Foundation (National Science Foundation - NSF) which provides U.S. Antarctic Program. The ice-breaker Vladimir Ignatyuk successfully works in Antarctica, including under the contract with the Center of Ocean and Antarctic Research of the Indian Government at Maitri and Larsemann Hills stations. The ice-breaker Vladimir Ignatyuk will provide services for piloting vessels for American polar explorers in difficult navigational conditions of Southern continent…

Antarctic Evacuation of Scientists as Storm, Ice, Threatens

Antarctic Rescue Operation:Photo credit Royal Navy

The Portsmouth-based UK survey ship HMS Protector was charged with putting a small team from the British Antarctic Survey ashore so they could collect geological samples on remote James Ross Island off the eastern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. Protector’s Commanding Officer Capt Peter Sparkes decided the safest and least risky option would be to sail through the ever-increasing pack ice and send in the Terra Nova, fast rescue craft Yelcho and the inflatable boat, Whiskey 1 to bring the scientists off.

Tsakos Takes Delivery of Tankers

Tsakos Energy Navigation Ltd. announced the delivery of the 162,400 dwt, 1A ice-class tanker Suezmax tanker Antarctic from Hyundai Heavy Industries and the 36,660 dwt 1A ice-class handysize product tanker Aegeas from Hyundai Mipo Dockyard, both in South Korea. The delivery of the Antarctic completes the Company’s current Suezmax newbuilding program while the delivery of the Aegeas further augments the Company’s ice-class capabilities in the product tanker category. The Aegeas will enter an attractive three year time-charter with a major international oil entity for a fixed minimum rate and a 50/50 profit share should rates exceed that minimum. Taking into account only the minimum rate, the Aegeas is expected to generate about $21 m in gross revenues over the charter period.

British Antarctic Survey Chooses Invsat Networking

Invsat Ltd., the U.K.-based telecommunications systems integrator, has been awarded a prestigious contract to provide network communications for the British Antarctic Survey in one of the world’s most challenging environments. The VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) network is connected via the NSS-7 satellite to Invsat’s earth station based at its Aberdeenshire HQ. Stabilized C-Band VSAT systems are being deployed on the two ice-strengthened Royal Research Ships that support the British Antarctic Survey's operations in the region. The two vessels are the RRS James Clark Ross, which has some of Britain's most advanced facilities for oceanographic research, and the RRS Ernest Shackleton which is primarily a logistics ship, used for the re-supply of the Survey's stations.

Lloyd's Register Joins Swan's Antarctic Expedition

A four-man team from Lloyd's Register will set sail today from Ushuaia, Argentina, as part of an international expedition to the Antarctic, lead by the renowned polar explorer and environmentalist Robert Swan, OBE. The team of technical experts and eco-entrepreneurs will form part of the International Antarctic Expedition 2012, led by Swan, who has dedicated his life to the preservation of the Antarctic by promoting recycling, renewable energy and sustainability to combat the effects of climate change. "We have had a long and beneficial relationship with Robert, the basis for which has been the common goals held by both of our organizations: to benefit society by helping to protect the environment and the lives of those who depend on it…

Loss of Diversity Near Melting Coastal Glaciers

Dallmann-Expedition 2015

Melting glaciers are causing a loss of species diversity among benthos in the coastal waters off the Antarctic Peninsula, impacting an entire seafloor ecosystem. This has been verified in the course of repeated research dives, the results of which were recently published by experts from Argentina, Germany and Great Britain and the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) in a study in the journal Science Advances. The scientists believe increased levels of suspended sediment in the water to be the cause of the dwindling biodiversity in the coastal region.

Maritime Reporter Magazine Cover Sep 2017 - Maritime Port & Ship Security Edition

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