Woods Hole News

28 May 2020

Tech Talk: Algorithm Aims to Assist Ocean Search and Rescue

A new MIT-developed search-and-rescue algorithm identifies hidden “traps” in ocean waters. The method may help quickly identify regions where objects — and missing people — may have converged. Image courtesy of the researchers/http://news.mit.edu/

Search & Rescue algorithm identify hidden “traps” in ocean waters, helping to more quickly identify regions where objects — and missing people — may have converged.The ocean is a messy and turbulent space, where winds and weather kick up waves in all directions. When an object or person goes missing at sea, the complex, constantly changing conditions of the ocean can confound and delay critical search-and-rescue operations.Now researchers at MIT, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH)…

06 May 2020

Cellphones Are Helping the USCG Locate Distressed Mariners

File photo (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Station New London)

First Coast Guard District command center crews, from Maine to Northern New Jersey, have a new tool to help distressed mariners come home to their families after being out to sea.The i911 program allows for watchstanders to use a mariner’s cellphone number to assist in finding their location for Coast Guard rescue crews to locate them faster. Once the number is entered, the mariner receives a text message authorizing them to share their location with the U.S. Coast Guard. Once shared…

20 Apr 2020

What Did Scientists Learn from Deepwater Horizon?

Deepwater Horizon burning in April 2010. Image by US Coast Guard

April 20, 2020, marks the tenth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion, the offshore oil industry's biggest environmental disaster.Eleven people died, 17 others were injured, Transocean's drilling rig sank, and an incident caused more than four million barrels of oil to spill into the U.S. Gulf of Mexico from the BP-operated Macondo well which spewed oil into the ocean for 87 days before it was finally capped.In a review paper published in the journal Nature Reviews Earth & Environment…

12 Feb 2020

Stephens Elected PVA President for 2020

Colleen Stephens (Photo: PVA)

Colleen Stephens, President of Stan Stephens Glacier & Wildlife Cruises will be President of the Passenger Vessel Association (PVA) for 2020, the trade association announced.Elected during the PVA Annual Convention at MariTrends 2020 held February 3-6, 2020 in Tampa, Fla., Stephens reaffirmed PVA's commitment to continuously improving safety in passenger vessel operations as well as the association's engagement in being good stewards of the environment. "PVA's Green WATERS program…

23 Jan 2020

Ørsted, US Unis to Study Whales in OWP

Image: Ørsted

Danish developer Orsted U.S. Offshore Wind has signed a research partnership  with Rutgers University, the University of Rhode Island and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to support academic research activities related to offshore wind.The group is set to launch the Ecosystem and Passive Acoustic Monitoring (ECO-PAM) project.Ørsted signed an initial memorandum of understanding with Rutgers University in May 2019 to support academic research activities related to offshore wind.

16 Oct 2019

NATO RV Alliance is not just quiet, it’s ice-capable

NATO’s 3,100-ton, 305-foot research vessel NRV Alliance has been a leading platform for underwater acoustics research to the benefit of NATO navies. Photo: NATO CMRE

An interview with Ian Sage, director for marine operations, NATO Center for Maritime Research and Experimentation, La Spezia, Italy.NATO’s 3,100-ton, 305-foot research vessel NRV Alliance has been a leading platform for underwater acoustics research to the benefit of NATO navies. The ship operated with a civilian crew under the German flag for many years for the NATO SACLANT Center, later renamed the NATO Undersea Research Center, and now known as the NATO Center for Maritime Research and Experimentation. Now Alliance flies a new flag, and has a broader mission.

15 Oct 2019

Interview: Dr. Catherine Warner, Director, NATO CMRE

Dr. Catherine Warner, Director, NATO CMRE. Photo: CMRE

At CMRE, it’s not just about the science. It’s about building trust and confidence in resilient systems. An interview with Dr. Catherine Warner, Director, NATO Center for Maritime Research and Experimentation, La Spezia, ItalyTell us a little about yourself and CMRE. What does CMRE do, and how do you see your mission evolving?I came here from the Pentagon, where I was the science advisor for the director of operational test and evaluation. My experience has been working with operators on systems that they’re getting ready to field.

10 Oct 2019

Study: Sunlight Degrades Polystyrene Faster than Expected

Polystyrene pollution at the tide’s edge. Photo by Jayne Doucette, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

A study published by researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) shows that polystyrene, one of the world’s most ubiquitous plastics, may degrade in decades or centuries when exposed to sunlight, rather than thousands of years as previously thought. The study published October 10, 2019, in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters.“Right now, policy makers generally assume that polystyrene lasts forever in the environment,” says Collin Ward, a marine chemist at WHOI and lead author of the study. “That’s part of justification for writing policy that bans it.

04 Sep 2019

After 40 Years of Service, Ferry Completes Major Refit

The Comorant sails again after its four-month refit at Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding(CREDIT: Gladding Hearn)

With thousands of miles under her keel ferrying passengers from Woods Hole, Mass., to the private island of Naushon, part of the Elizabethan Island chain south of Woods Hole, the Comorant just underwent a four-month refit at Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, which built the vessel in 1979. Pret Gladding, a co-founder of the Somerset, Mass.-based shipyard, designed the 56 ft., 49 passenger ferry for the Naushon Island Trust. The Cormorant is the year-round lifeline to this small island community…

09 Aug 2019

Fishing Company hit with $500K Fine

This is the Vila Nova do Corvo II moored up in Leonard's Wharf on Friday, Aug. 9, 2019 in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The company Vila Nova do Corvo II, Inc., company managers Carlos Rafael and Stephanie Rafael DeMello, and vessel captain Carlos Pereira agreed to pay a total of $511,000 in civil penalties and to perform vessel improvements after the United Station filed complaints alleging to violations of the Clean Water Act, discovered during Coast Guard boarding operations. (U.S. Coast Guard

New Bedford, Massachusetts-based Vila Nova do Corvo II, Inc., company managers Carlos Rafael and Stephanie Rafael DeMello, and vessel captain Carlos Pereira agreed to pay a total of $511,000 in civil penalties and to perform vessel improvements.This was to ensure compliance measures to resolve federal Clean Water Act claims stemming from oily bilge discharges from the commercial fishing vessel Vila Nova do Corvo II, a related discharge of fuel oil filters, and violations of pollution control regulations.The United States filed the complaint in this action in April 2019 in the U.S.

14 Dec 2018

LRAUV: Arctic Oil-Spill-Mapping Robot Put to the Test

An artist’s depiction of LRAUV under sea ice. Using photo-chemical sensors, the robot scans the density of a billowing cloud of oil coming from an ocean floor well. The red and yellow objects are parts of a communication system consisting of antennas suspended under ice from a buoy installed on top of the ice.  Graphic by ADAC.

As commercial shipping and energy activities picks up in the Arctic region, the prospect of accidental oil spills in this pristine environment remain a concern. In response, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is taking the lead – through the U.S. Coast Guard – to develop a subsea robotic system to map and report on spills.“Because of ice coverage and the tyranny of distance, it is difficult to get resources and assets up in the Arctic in a quick manner,” said Kirsten Trego, Executive Director of the Coast Guard’s Interagency Coordinating Committee on Oil Pollution Research.

09 Oct 2018

Fire Stricken Tanker Towed to New York

The disabled Hong Kong-flagged tanker Feng Huang AO sits at anchor off the coast of New York City, Oct. 8, 2018. The freighter had become disabled after a fire broke out in their engine room causing major damage to machinery. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo courtesy of Coast Guard Cutter Sitkinak)

A 479-foot asphalt tanker was towed into New York Harbor after an engine room fire left the vessel disabled off the U.S. East Coast.Early on October 5, U.S. Coast Guard watchstanders in Woods Hole, Mass. received a report that the Hong Kong-flagged tanker Feng Huang AO loaded with asphalt and bound for New York Harbor suffered a fire in its engine room while transiting 57 miles southeast of Nantucket Island.The flames were extinguished using the ship’s installed carbon dioxide fire suppression system.

05 Sep 2018

Coast Guard Boats Collide, 4 Injured

Close up view of the damage of a 29-foot response boat small after it collided with another 29-foot response boat during training off Falmouth, Mass., Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Four U.S. Coast Guard crew members were injured in a collision between two tactical boat crews during training off Falmouth, Mass. Wednesday.The Coast Guard said the injuries were non-life-threatening.Both 29-foot response boat small vessels were damaged when they collided at around 1:30 p.m. in Buzzards Bay. The boats returned to Station Woods Hole under their own power.The cause of the incident is under investigation.

31 Aug 2018

Ben Lecomte: a 5,000 Mile Swim Across the Pacific

Image: The Longest Swim

After becoming the first human to swim across the Atlantic in 1998, Ben Lecomte has taken on a new challenge: going from Tokyo to San Francisco, swimming 8 hours per day.Right this minute, Frenchman Ben Lecomte is hard at work on his second ocean crossing. After becoming the first human to swim across the Atlantic in 1998, he’s taken on a new challenge: going from Tokyo to San Francisco, churning his limbs eight hours a day in the cold Pacific for six months, accompanied by his team on the support boat.

03 May 2018

US Navy-owned Research Vessel Back in Action

RV Thomas G. Thompson (Photo: University of Washington)

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…

18 Mar 2018

Coast Guard Responds to Disabled Ferry off Woods Hole, MA

The Coast Guard is responding Saturday night after a ferry with 78 people aboard lost power while en route Woods Hole from Martha's Vineyard.    The captain of the Motor Vessel Martha's Vineyard reported the incident to Coast Guard watchstanders at 9 p.m.   The Coast Guard Cutter Hammerhead and a response boat crew from Coast Guard Station Woods Hole are on scene while commercial tow is arranged.    The MV Martha's Vineyard is currently anchored outside Vineyard Haven between the East and West Chop.    There are no reported injuries. The cause of the power loss is being investigated.

26 Jan 2018

New Virus Found in the Ocean

Electron microscope images of marine bacteria infected with the non-tailed viruses studied in this research. The bacterial cell walls are seen as long double lines, and the viruses are the small round objects with dark centers. (Courtesy of researchers)

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…

24 May 2017

Ships Parade Kicks off NY Fleet Week

Photo: Jeff O’Malley

From the tree lighting at Rockefeller Center to New Year's Eve in Times Square, New York’s time-honored traditions are some of the most well-known around the world. Arriving today as part of another New York tradition, a “parade of ships” from several branches of the U.S. military (and one ship from Canada) sailed into the New York Harbor and up the Hudson River from Battery Park to just south of the George Washington Bridge, for the 29th annual Fleet Week New York (FWNY). Now in its 29th year…

03 Apr 2017

NUWC Division, Newport Signs EPA with New Bedford Whaling Museum

Photo: Naval Undersea Warfare Center

Capt. Michael R. Coughlin, commanding officer of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division, Newport, and James Russell, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the New Bedford Whaling Museum (NBWM), signed an education partnership agreement (EPA) for undersea acoustic research during a brief ceremony on Friday, March 31. Under the EPA, NUWC Newport will provide research, expertise, and material on the Navy's historic and current role in marine mammal research in conjunction with the museum’s recently acquired collection of historic marine mammal recordings…

07 Feb 2017

North American Ferries: Faster, Greener & Safer

(Photo: BC Ferries)

Domestic ferries adjust their business models to met regulatory pressures and exceed environmental standards with an eye towards improved service. And, not a minute too soon. In North America, stalwarts in the ferry business continue to shorten journey times compared to surface alternatives, while at the same time, bring accessibility to barrier and coastal islands that would otherwise be impossible to reach. Established stakeholders continually fine-tune their operations in a…

28 Sep 2016

US Boatbuilding: Sink or Swim

Joe Hudspeth

Navigating interesting times has the nation’s shipbuilding industry searching in unusual places. The answers could be blowing in the wind. Conducting commerce and forecasting the future for shipyards is akin to setting out in uncharted waters. For some, the voyage might prove to be easy sailing with favorable winds. Other times, it can be a rough ride, forcing long and unprogressive diversions. In the worst cases, one might run aground temporarily, hit rock bottom, capsize belly up, or be forced to turn around and give up.

25 Aug 2016

MN100: Conrad Shipyard

Johnny Conrad (Photo: Conrad Shipyard)

Conrad Shipyard was established in 1948 and is headquartered in Morgan City, Louisiana. The company designs, builds and overhauls tugboats, ferries, liftboats, barges, offshore supply vessels and other steel and aluminum products for both commercial and government markets. The company provides both repair and new construction services at its five Gulf Coast shipyards located in southern Louisiana and Texas. Widely recognized for innovation, Conrad has a separate business unit devoted to the construction…

09 Aug 2016

El Faro’s Voyage Data Recorder Recovered

El Faro voyage data recorder in fresh water on the USNS Apache (Photo: NTSB)

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.

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