Scientists Study French Polynesia's Coral Reefs
The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation has released their findings from the largest coral reef survey and mapping expedition ever conducted in French Polynesia.The Global Reef Expedition: French Polynesia Final Report provides a comprehensive summary of the research findings from the expedition, an assessment of the health and resiliency of French Polynesia’s coral reefs, and recommendations for preserving French Polynesia’s coral reefs into the future.The Foundation embarked on the Global Reef Expedition to understand the coral reef crisis on a global scale.
ITOPF Addresses Brazil Oil Pollution
The International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF) is currently on-site in north-east Brazil attending the recent oil spill that has contaminated approximately 2,500 km of coastline in nine states.The source of the pollution remains unknown, although the Brazilian government has recently reported that they suspect a tanker passing along its coast in late July as being the polluter."Our involvement was requested directly by IBAMA, the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources…
Wrangling Big Data Into Actionable Intel
Social media, cameras, sensors and more generate huge amounts of data that can overwhelm analysts sifting through it all for meaningful, actionable information to provide decision-makers such as political leaders and field commanders responding to security threats.Sandia National Laboratories researchers are working to lessen that burden by developing the science to gather insights from data in nearly real time.“The amount of data produced by sensors and social media is booming — every day there’s about 2.5 quintillion (or 2.5 billion billion) bytes of data generated…
Airbus Enhances OceanFinder capabilities
Aerospace solutions provider Airbus Defense and Space has upgraded its digital maritime service to detect and track vessels around the globe.First launched in 2018, OceanFinder leverages Airbus’ advanced constellation of optical and radar satellites, combined with real-time global Automatic Identification System (AIS) data, and the latest in automated analytics, to support a broad range of critical applications across defense and security, shipping, oil and gas, and insurance…
Special Weather Bulletin for Gulf Region
Invest 92-L, which may become Tropical Storm Barry by Thursday, is becoming better organized this morning as satellite imagery and surface weather observations indicate that a circulation seems to be developing over the northeastern Gulf of Mexico.In addition, it appears that the deeper thunderstorm activity is occurring offshore and it appears that Invest 92-L is located further south than what many of the model guidance members have indicated in their forecasts.
The Growth in Arctic’s Role in Geostrategic Competition
The Arctic’s role in geostrategic competition is growing, in large part because reductions in permanent sea ice have exposed coastal borders and facilitated increased human and economic activity, said the U.S. Coast Guard’s Arctic Strategic Outlook.The warming of the Arctic has led to longer and larger windows of reduced ice conditions. From 2006 to 2018, satellite imagery observed the 12 lowest Arctic ice extents on record.1 This has led to greater access through Arctic shipping routes.While the near-term future of these routes is uncertain…
Int'l Ice Patrol Resumes Operations for 2019 Season
The Coast Guard International Ice Patrol announced it has commenced operations for the 2019 ice season as of Feb. 5, 2019 and will resume production of the North American Ice Service (NAIS) daily iceberg warning products from its operations center in New London, Connecticut.The International Ice Patrol generates the iceberg warnings from February through August, when icebergs pose the greatest threat to transatlantic shipping. The Canadian Ice Service generates the iceberg warning products for the remainder of the year.
Global Fishing Watch, USCG Examine Illegal Fishing
Global Fishing Watch is teaming up with the United States Coast Guard Research & Development Center (CG RDC) to conduct research on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and share analysis to advance global efforts to improve fisheries management.Global Fishing Watch (https://globalfishingwatch.org) and CG RDC are exploring pathways to collaborate on relevant research activities, such as the establishment of analytical methodologies to evaluate open-source vessel movement data…
Shrinking Arctic Sea Ice Raises Security Concerns
Shrinking ice cover is making the Arctic more accessible to various countries, commercial entities and researchers, among others."While Arctic sea ice continues to shrink, human activity in the region is only growing. Ice extent, which is monitored by the U.S. National Ice Center (USNIC), often determines what types of activities are pursued in the region," says NOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS).This increased human activity in the Arctic has also led to more national security concerns from both a traditional and non-traditional point of view.
Tanker Continues to Burn in East China Sea
Strong winds, high waves and toxic gases are hindering dozens of rescue boats struggling to locate missing sailors from a stricken oil tanker in the East China Sea and to extinguish a fire that has burned for the past three days on the ship. The poor conditions, with rain and waves as high as 3 metres (10 feet), frustrated efforts to tame the fire and search for the 31 remaining tanker crew members, China's Ministry of Transport said in a statement on Tuesday. The flames were forcing the South Korean Coast Guard's search and rescue team to stay as far as 3 miles (4.8 km) away from the tanker…
China Asserts Its Power at Strategic Shoal
Far out in the South China Sea, where dark blue meets bright turquoise, a miles-long row of fishing boats anchor near Scarborough Shoal, backed by a small armada of coastguard projecting China's power in Asia's most disputed waters. China still calls the shots at the prime fishing spot and has boosted its fleet there, nine months after an international panel ruled its blockade of the lagoon was illegal. Beijing rejected that ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which invalidated China's claim of sovereignty over most of the South China Sea. But the presence of Philippine boats dotted between Chinese vessels shows a degree of compliance with the ruling.
China Dismisses Philippine Concerns Over EEZ Incursions
China on Friday dismissed concerns expressed by the Philippine defence minister over what he believed to be survey missions by its ships deep into the southeast Asian nation's 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Amid a warming relationship, President Rodrigo Duterte has frequently praised China, but Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has remained openly suspicious, saying it has continued its fortification of manmade islands inside the Philippine EEZ. Lorenzana said Chinese ships were monitored in recent months at locations near the Philippines, with a warship spotted 70 miles off its western coast in the South China Sea and survey ships seen to the north and south of its eastern seaboard.
China to Return Seized US Underwater Drone
China's Defense Ministry said on Saturday it plans to return an underwater U.S. drone seized this week by a Chinese naval vessel in the South China Sea, but complained the United States was "hyping up" the incident. The drone was taken on Thursday, the first seizure of its kind in recent memory. It prompted the Pentagon to go public with a diplomatic complaint, and drew criticism from U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, who has vowed to take a more aggressive approach in dealing with Beijing.
China Seizes US Underwater Drone in South China Sea
A Chinese warship has seized an underwater drone deployed by a U.S. oceanographic vessel in the South China Sea, triggering a formal diplomatic protest and a demand for its return, U.S. officials told Reuters on Friday. The drone was taken on Dec. 15, the first seizure of its kind in recent memory, about 50 nautical miles northwest of Subic Bay off the Philippines just as the USNS Bowditch was about to retrieve the unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV), officials said. "The UUV was lawfully conducting a military survey in the waters of the South China Sea," one official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "It's a sovereign immune vessel, clearly marked in English not to be removed from the water - that it was U.S. property," the official said.
Uncharted Waters: Mega-cruise Ships Ply Arctic Waters
First luxury cruise sailed Northwest Passage in Aug-Sept; Voyage will be repeated next summer. A surge in Arctic tourism is bringing ever bigger cruise ships to the formerly isolated, ice-bound region, prompting calls for a clamp-down to prevent Titanic-style accidents and the pollution of fragile eco-systems. Arctic nations should consider limiting the size of vessels and ban the use of heavy fuel oil in the region, industry players said, after a first luxury cruise ship sailed safely through Canada's Northwest Passage this summer. The route, which connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans via the Arctic, was once clogged with icebergs but is now ice-free in summer due to global warming.
Is it a Ship or Iceberg?
Developing the capability to discriminate between ships and icebergs in northern latitudes is a common interest shared by Canada’s Department of National Defense (DND) and the oil and gas industry. For DND, the focus is on ship detection for maritime security, whereas oil and gas companies are interested in detecting icebergs to ensure primarily the safety and also the productivity of offshore exploration and production operations. The Polar Epsilon and Polar Epsilon-2 applied…
N.Korea Builds New Submarine Base
North Korea is in the midst of building a new naval base on the east coast to accommodate submarines capable of firing submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), says IHS Jane's Defence Weekly. North Korea is building a new naval base at Sinpo, South Hamgyong Province for new 3,000-ton submarines that carry submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Based on analysis of satellite imagery, the defense weekly said the North is building the facility just south of the Sinpo shipyard on the east coast.
Human Remains and Belongings Found from Plane Crash at Sea
Egypt said on Friday its navy had found human remains, wreckage and the personal belongings of passengers floating in the Mediterranean, confirmation that an EgyptAir jet had plunged into the sea with 66 people on board. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi offered condolences for those on board, amounting to Egypt's official acknowledgement of their deaths, although there was still no explanation of why the Airbus had crashed. "The Egyptian navy was able to retrieve more debris from the plane, some of the passengers' belongings, human remains, and plane seats," the Civil Aviation Ministry said in a statement. The navy was searching an area about 290 km (180 miles) north of the port city of Alexandria, just south of where the signal from the plane was lost early on Thursday.
RedPort XGate Now Includes PredictWind Weather Service
Newly available version of RedPort XGate satellite email and data services suite now includes PredictWind weather forecasting service, letting users select, download and view marine weather forecasts over satellite and cellular networks. RedPort Global announced the immediate availability of a new version of XGate, now including the PredictWind Offshore weather-forecasting app. XGate is an independent satellite data acceleration service letting people easily and affordably access accelerated email, web, weather data, social media and blogging wherever they go. PredictWind Offshore allows users to download and immediately view GRIB files, weather routes, GMDSS Text forecasts and Satellite Imagery.
Yukon River Charts Produced with Satellite Images
Coast Survey has issued provisional charts for barge operators and others traversing Alaska's challenging Yukon River, relying solely on satellite images to create the electronic navigational charts that only display shoreline and shoals (shallow areas). The ENCs, which display no depth soundings, will give the mariners annually updated information to help their navigation along the changeable river. "The Yukon was literally uncharted," Kampia told the group. "After some analysis and brainstorming, we decided to create a prototype ENC using only satellite data.
Drone Technology Aids Antarctic Ship Operations
A quadcopter drone has helped navigate the Aurora Australis through the sea ice on its annual resupply voyage to Casey station. Flown off the aft deck of the ship, the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) provided the crew with real-time imagery of the sea ice conditions ahead of the ship, optimising navigation decisions. Australian Antarctic Division Future Concepts Manager, Matt Filipowski, said the drone was a valuable addition to the current suite of sea ice navigation tools, which include satellite imagery and radar.
U.S. Navy Chief: South China Sea Arms Race could Develop
The U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander has warned of a possible arms race in the disputed South China Sea which could engulf the region, as nations become increasingly tempted to use military force to settle territorial spats instead of international law. Commander Admiral Scott Swift urged nations, like China, to seek arbitration to settle maritime disputes. "My concern is that after many decades of peace and prosperity, we may be seeing the leading edge of a return of "might makes it right" to the region," Swift said on Monday in a speech in Hawaii, according to a copy seen by Reuters. "Claimants and non-claimants alike are transferring larger shares of national wealth to develop more capable naval forces beyond what is needed merely for self defence," Swift said.
Shell Gets APD for limited Arctic Drilling
After extensive review and under a robust array of safety requirements, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director Brian Salerno today announced that Shell has received conditional approval of two Applications for Permits to Drill (APD) to conduct limited exploratory drilling activities in the Chukchi Sea offshore Alaska. Specifically, the APDs limit Shell to drilling only the top sections of wells and prohibit Shell from drilling into oil-bearing zones. Shell currently is not permitted to drill into oil-bearing zones because…