Fire Breaks out on USCG's Polar Star
It seems the U.S. cannot do enough to fast-track the construction of its new icebreaking fleet, as the USCG announce last night that the 150-member crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star fought a fire at approximately 9 p.m. PST Feb. 10 that broke out in the ship's incinerator room about 650 miles north of McMurdo Sound, Antarctica.After initial response efforts using four fire extinguishers failed, fire crews spent almost two hours extinguishing the fire. Fire damage was contained inside the incinerator housing…
Coast Guard's Only Heavy Icebreaker Arrives at Antarctica
The 150 crew members of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star arrived Thursday in Antarctica along with a resupply vessel during Operation Deep Freeze – a joint military service mission to resupply U.S. interests in Antarctica.Homeported in Seattle, the 42-year-old Coast Guard cutter is the United States’ only operational heavy icebreaker, and the crew is making their sixth deployment in as many years to directly support the resupply of McMurdo Station – the United States’ main…
Interview: Admiral Karl Schultz, Commandant, United States Coast Guard
Maritime Reporter & Engineering News was offered the opportunity to interview Admiral Karl Schultz, the 26th Commandant in the history of the United States Coast Guard, in his office in Washington, DC. Just five months into his tenure, his plate is predictably full with a number of challenges, including: Attracting and retaining future U.S. Coast Guard personnel; addressing a number of assymetric threats, including cyber attacks; and ensuring captial and operating budgets are adequate to safely and efficiently carry out a global mission envelope, to name but a few.
Coast Guard Icebreaker Completes 129-day Arctic Deployment
The crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy returned home Friday to their homeport in Seattle following a four-month deployment in the Arctic. In addition to providing presence and access in the Arctic during the 129-day summer deployment, the Healy crew completed three research missions in partnership with the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Office of Naval Research, conducting physical and biological research in the Arctic Ocean.
Construction Starts on OSU's Research Ship
Construction of a new Oregon State University (OSU) bound research ship that will advance the science of coastal environments, and support research on topics such as ocean acidification, hypoxia, and sea level rise, officially began today at Gulf Island Shipyards in Louisiana.Officials from OSU the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Gulf Island Shipyards LLC gathered at the shipyard in Houma, La. for the keel-laying ceremony, marking the start of fabrication of the state-of-the art ship.
ABS North American Committee Look Ahead to 2030
Industry leaders from across North America met to discuss global challenges facing the maritime sector at the annual ABS North American Regional Committee.The group heard strategies to meet the IMO’s 2020 Sulfur Cap, as well as a look ahead to 2030 when vessel data will play a significant role in compliance management.“Thanks to our deep links with industry across North America, ABS continues to leverage technology to develop new ways of supporting our partners and members. As the leading classification organization in North America…
US Navy-owned Research Vessel Back in Action
Research vessel (R/V) Thomas G. Thompson (AGOR-23) has gained a new lease on life following a recently completed 18-month upgrade to improve operating systems, bolster its research capabilities and extend its working life for the U.S. Navy and scientific organizations.The Navy-owned vessel has been operated and maintained University of Washington since 1991, under a charter lease agreement with the Office of Naval Research (ONR)-which manages the ship on behalf of the service.The $52 million refit…
PDI to Supply Centerboard for OSU's New Research Vessel
Power Dynamics Innovations LLC (PDI) said it has been subcontracted by Gulf Island Shipyards LLC, to design, engineer, construct, install and test the centerboard system for Oregon State University (OSU)'s new Regional Class Research Vessel (RCRV).Gulf Island Shipyards is building the vessel under a contract from OSU, with an option for two additional vessels. OSU has engaged with naval architecture and engineering firm Glosten to lead the design contract of the next class of…
The US Government Must Fund Icebreakers Now
Congress last funded the purchase of polar icebreakers for the U.S. Coast Guard in the early 1970s. The USCCG Polar Star (WAGB-10) was commissioned in 1976, followed by the USCGC Polar Sea (WAGB-11) in 1977. Polar Sea has been out of service since 2010 due to a major engine failure. Polar Star was ‘in commission, special’ status from 2008 through 2012 while undergoing a service life extension. It is currently the only active heavy polar icebreaker in the U.S. fleet. The less capable USCGC Healy (WAGB-20) is a medium icebreaker and is equipped to support research missions in polar waters.
Vigor Adds $20 Mln Drydock
Vigor built on its ongoing investments in critical infrastructure in the Puget Sound in 2017 with the $20 million investment in another drydock. At 640 ft. long with a clear width of 116 ft., the new dock will be the third, and largest, at Vigor’s Harbor Island shipyard. The drydock is expected to be operational in early first quarter 2018 and is part of Vigor’s ongoing commitment to make Harbor Island a primary destination for ship repair and conversion on the West Coast for both commercial and government customers.
US Icebreaker Suffers Flooding, Engine Failure in Antarctic
America’s aging, sole remaining heavy icebreaker suffered several engineering challenges, including flooding and engine failure, on its way to completing a recent mission in the Antarctic, highlighting the U.S.’ need for new polar icebreakers. The 1970s-era U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star is called upon each year to aid the delivery of fuel and supplies for National Science Foundation research stations in Antarctica, carving a navigable path through the Ross Sea where seasonal and multi-year ice is sometimes as much as 10 feet thick.
New Virus Found in the Ocean
Researchers from MIT and Albert Einstein College of Medicine have discovered a new type of virus that dominates water samples taken from the ocean but has long escaped analysis because its characteristics are not detected by standard tests. The newly identified viruses have long been missed by previous studies due several unusual properties including a lack of “tail” found on most catalogued and sequenced bacterial viruses. This research, supported by the National Science Foundation and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Ocean Ventures Fund…
Rapp Marine to Equip New OSU Research Vessel
Rapp Marine said it has been selected by Gulf Island Shipyard, LLC, as the Overboard Handling System Single Source Vendor (OHS SSV) for Oregon State University’s (OSU) 193 ft x 41 ft multi-mission Regional Class Research Vessel (RCRV), with the option of two additional vessels. Funding for the RCRV project is provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the contract design of the RCRV was developed by Glosten. The first vessel is currently under construction at Gulf Island Shipyard in Houma, La.
US Navy Buoys into the Arctic Ocean
The U.S National Ice Center (USNIC) in coordination with the Office of Naval Research, Office of the Oceanographer of the Navy, the Danish Joint Arctic Command, Environmental and Climate Change Canada and University of Washington deployed buoys into the Arctic Ocean during a joint mission. The joint mission was conducted to collect weather and oceanographic data to enhance forecasting and environmental models thereby reducing operational risk for assets in the Arctic. "Polar lows…
Polar Star Arrives at McMurdo Station, Antarctica
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star arrived at the National Science Foundation’s McMurdo Station Tuesday after cutting a resupply channel through more than 60 miles of Antarctic ice in the Ross Sea. By carving a navigable path through seasonal and multi-year ice, the Polar Star assists in the annual delivery of operating supplies and fuel for two of NSF's three U.S. research stations in Antarctica. The Polar Star is America’s only operational heavy icebreaker that is capable of conducting the Antarctic resupply mission.
America Needs Icebreakers
Russia has more polar icebreakers than the rest of the world combined. America has one polar icebreaker and that one is well past its prime. There has been talk of sharing icebreakers. Sharing may work with allies, who are generally on the same page. Sharing will not work with Russia, which views the world as a zero-sum game. In June 2016, Russia announced the launching of Arktika, the world’s largest polar icebreaker. With a full load displacement of 33,540 tons, a length of 173.3 meters and a breadth of 34 meters, it will be capable of breaking ice up to 2.9 meters.
Glosten is an employee-owned full-service consulting firm of naval architects, marine engineers, electrical engineers, and ocean engineers. Founded in 1958, the firm specializes in commercial and public sector vessels including research vessels, passenger/car ferries, tugs, barges, dredges, and special purpose platforms. Consulting and design services include hull, structural, mechanical, and electrical systems design. Glosten has a staff of 77 associates, including 36 professionally licensed engineers, supported by other engineers, marine designers, and production staff.
Oregon State University Seeks New Research Vessels
Oregon State University (OSU) will issue a request for proposals (RFP) for a project to construct up to three advanced regional class research vessels to help replenish the aging United States academic fleet. OSU will implement a two-stage “best value procurement process” for selecting a single U.S. shipyard to construct the vessels, which allows the university to evaluate proposals on qualitative factors in addition to cost factors. In January 2013, the National Science Foundation (NSF) selected OSU as the lead institution to finalize the design and coordinate the construction of a vessel – and possibly up to two more – a project considered crucial to modernizing the country’s marine science research capabilities.
El Faro’s Voyage Data Recorder Recovered
The voyage data recorder (VDR) from El Faro, a U.S. flagged cargo ship that sank during Hurricane Joaquin in October 2015, has been recovered from the ocean floor late Monday evening, the U.S. National Transportation Board (NTSB) said. The recovery of the capsule caps a 10-month-long effort to retrieve the recorder, which was designed to record navigational data and communications between crewmembers on the ship’s bridge. Investigators hope the recorder will reveal information about the final hours of El Faro’s voyage and the circumstances leading up to the sinking.
SCA Applauds Funding for New US Ships
The Senate Appropriations Committee this week acknowledged calls for increasing the Navy’s ship count, funding the construction of 10 new ships, as well as providing the U.S. Coast Guard funding for the acquisition of six total new ships. The Defense and Homeland Security appropriations markups come on the heels of last week’s Sea-Air-Space Exhibition, where leaders of the maritime industry called for the restoration of a 350-ship Navy and a cohesive national maritime strategy that supports the vibrant U.S. shipyard industrial base. “There has never been a more critical time to support the men and women of our armed forces as they face daily threats from international aggressors,” said Matthew Paxton, President of the Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA).
Oceans Gasping for Breath, Oxygen Running Low!
Rising levels of CO2 are making it hard for fish to breathe in addition to exacerbating global warming and ocean acidification. Climate change has caused a drop in the amount of oxygen dissolved in the oceans in some parts of the world, and those effects should become evident across large parts of the ocean between 2030 and 2040, according to a new study led by researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado. The oceans receive their oxygen supply from the surface via the atmosphere or from phytoplankton…
Oregon State Seeks Shipyard Input for New Research Ship
The design phase for a project to construct a new regional class research vessel to replenish the United States academic fleet is complete, and Oregon State University will issue a request for information (RFI) on Monday, May 2, to shipyards interested in constructing the vessel. In January 2013, the National Science Foundation (NSF) selected Oregon State as the lead institution to finalize the design and coordinate the construction of the vessel – and possibly up to two more – a project considered crucial to maintaining the country’s marine science research capabilities.
Senate Markup Provides Funding for Oceanographic Vessels
Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee marked up and approved a Commerce, Justice, Science bill that would provide $75 million to build a new Regional Survey Vessel for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and $159 million for the design and construction of three Regional Class Research Vessels (RCRV) for the National Science Foundation (NSF). The Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA) lauded the measure, which is the first step to build new vessels essential for NOAA and NSF to maintain critical survey, data collection and research capacity.