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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

National Science Foundation News

Image Courtesy US Coast Guard

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…

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

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.

Deoxgenation due to climate change is already detectable in some parts of the ocean. New research from NCAR finds that it will likely become widespread between 2030 and 2040. Other parts of the ocean, shown in gray, will not have detectable loss of oxygen due to climate change even by 2100. Image Credit: NCAR

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…

Voyage data recorder next to El Faro mast on ocean floor (Photo: NTSB)

El Faro’s Voyage Data Recorder Located

The voyage data recorder (VDR) belonging to sunken cargo ship El Faro was found early Tuesday morning in 15,000 feet of water, about 41 miles northeast of Acklins and Crooked Islands, Bahamas, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced. A specialist team comprised of investigators and scientists from the NTSB, the U.S. Coast Guard, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Tote Services, the owner and operator of El Faro, located the VDR using remotely operated undersea search equipment. Video footage showing El Faro's VDR is available here. At about 1 a.m.

Search Resumes for El Faro Data Recorder

The National Transportation Safety Board is set to resume its search April 18, 2016, for the vessel data recorder of the sunken El Faro cargo ship. The U.S. flagged El Faro sank during Hurricane Joaquin on Oct. 1, 2015. All 33 of the El Faro’s crew perished in the accident. The mission for the second search is to retrieve the ship’s vessel data recorder and better document the wreckage to help determine exactly why and how the ship sank. The second search is being conducted in cooperation with the National Science Foundation and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Project carried out by Schmidt Ocean Institute

Scientists Produce Data from Largest Single Volcano

Tamu Massif is a volcano the size of New Mexico and lurks 6,500 feet beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean. During their 36 day expedition, the science team undertook a survey of immense proportions mapping an area nearly one million square kilometers in size. Not only were they able to gather new high-resolution acoustic imagery of this little known volcano, but they also collected 1.7 million magnetic measurements to better understand how such a large volcano was formed.

Using a special band saw, SDSU chemistry professor Jihong Cole-Dai slices off a piece of ice core from Western Antarctica. The specimens are stored at -4 degrees Fahrenheit in the university's Ice Core and Environmental Che

SDSU Scientists Track Global Warming In Ice Patterns

SDSU scientists analyzed a half-mile slice of  Western Antarctica ice core to help determine that climate change begins in the Arctic and moves southward, according to chemistry professor Jihong Cole-Dai of the SDSU Ice Core and Environmental Chemistry Lab. Since 2006, the SDSU research team have been part of a National Science Foundation project to uncover the secrets within an ice core dating 68,000 years. Researchers from more than 20 university and national laboratories helped retrieve and analyze more than 2 miles of ice core from the Western Antarctica Ice Sheet Divide.

 Christopher J. Wiernicki: Photo ABS

ABS President Wiernicki Signs New MARAD Agreement

The American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) informs that it has entered into a new Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) establishing the policies and procedures regarding the survey and classification of the National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF). The agreement expands the working relationship that has existed between ABS and MARAD since the agency's inception in 1950, updating the last MOA signed in 1999. The new agreement, signed by Maritime Administrator Paul N. Jaenichen and ABS Chairman, President and CEO Christopher J.

James Bellingham will begin work as the Director of the WHOI Center for Marine Robotics in early fall 2014. Bellingham comes to WHOI from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), where he was director of engineering and most recently chief technologist. (Photo courtesy of MBARI)

Bellingham Named Director of WHOI Robotics Center

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has appointed James Bellingham as the first director of its Center for Marine Robotics. Bellingham will come to WHOI in early fall 2014 from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), where he was director of engineering and most recently chief technologist. Bellingham earned his PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was founder and manager of the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Laboratory. He was also co-founder of Bluefin Robotics in 1997…

New Low-emissions Fuel Patented

Maine Maritime Academy faculty member, Dr. George Harakas, has coauthored a patent with colleague and business partner, Scott Eaton, for glycerol-containing fuel aimed at reducing emissions in large diesel engines. The two are members of the SeaChange Group LLC a private company formed in 2009 to develop low-emissions fuels. They recently received notice from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that patent # 8,679,202 was formally issued. SeaChange Group (SCG), headquartered in Brunswick, is an entrepreneurial high-tech start-up with strong ties to Maine Maritime Academy.

David Fratantoni, Chief Technology Officer

Horizon Marine Expands its Team

Horizon Marine, Inc., provider of operational ocean current analysis and forecasting, announced the addition of David Fratantoni as Chief Technology Officer, Ryan Carlson as Technical Support Specialist and the promotion of Marine Technician Joseph Bertrand to HSE Compliance Officer. Dr. David Fratantoni joins Horizon Marine after 17 years with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). As a tenured member of the WHOI scientific staff, founder and principal investigator of the Autonomous Systems Laboratory…

Dennis Nixon

Nixon Named Director of R.I. Sea Grant

Earlier this month, Dennis Nixon was named director of the Rhode Island Sea Grant, one of 32 programs that make up the National Sea Grant College Program, which is administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Nixon spends much of his life near the ocean. As a longtime Jamestown resident, Nixon is never more than minutes away from Narragansett Bay. As associate dean of the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography, he is just as close to the waves when he’s in his office. Nixon has been teaching at the University of Rhode Island for 37 years.

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp with then-mayor of Barrow Edward Itta.

Interview: Admiral Papp - Changing the Discussion

U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Robert Papp takes (another) round turn. Almost three years since assuming command of the United States Coast Guard, Admiral Robert Papp still insists that his service will not be focusing on additional changes – not under his command. The reshuffling of organizational deckchairs, moves towards one side of the mission to another or any other changes to how the Coast Guard operates, are a thing of the past. But, are they really? An April visit with the Commandant…

New Scripps RV Honors Sally Ride

U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said the nation’s newest research vessel will be named R/V Sally Ride, in honor of the former UC San Diego faculty member who was the first American female astronaut and the youngest American to fly in space. The ship is owned by the U.S. Navy, will be operated by Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, and will have its home port at the Scripps Nimitz Marine Facility in Point Loma on San Diego Bay. “Scripps has a century-long history of seagoing excellence that is vital to the well-being of our planet and its pressing environmental challenges…

'Alvin' Underwater: Photo credit Woods Hole Oceanographic Institutions

Rebuilding the Submersible 'Alvin'

'Alvin', the U.S. science community’s only human-occupied submersible dedicated to deep-sea research is getting a makeover. The improvements include a new personnel sphere, updated command-and-control systems, enhanced lighting and high-definition imaging systems, new syntactic foam to provide buoyancy, and more and larger viewports, or windows. The centerpiece is a larger personnel sphere with improved interior design to enhance the comfort of pilots and researchers who will occupy it.

Photo credit ONR

Nationwide Power Engineering Curriculum Developed

An Office of Naval Research (ONR) supported enterprise brings sweeping changes to electric power & energy education at U.S. universities. “The number of power engineers in the United States is dwindling just when the Navy and the country as a whole need them most,” said Dr. Peter Cho, a program officer in ONR’s Ship Systems and Engineering Research Division who is overseeing the project. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus has used a set of aggressive goals to guide the service toward renewable power as well as electric ships and weapons.

R/V Sikuliaq: Photo credit NSC –  Val Ihde Photography

NSF Launch Arctic Research Vessel

The National Science Foundation (NSF) announce launch of  'R/V Sikuliaq', a 'next-generation' global class research vessel. The NSC new-building project was in cooperation with the Marinette Marine Corporation (MMC) and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks (UAF). MMC is the Wisconsin shipyard that built the ship with funding provided by NSF through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. UAF's School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences will operate the ship as part of the U.S. academic research fleet.

US Marine Science Organization Seeks Committee Members

UNOLS (University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System) seeks nominations to fill two Fleet Improvement Committee (FIC) vacancies. The Fleet Improvement Committee works to assure the continuing excellence of the UNOLS Fleet and to assure that the number, mix and overall capability of ships in the UNOLS fleet match the science requirements of academic oceanography in the U.S. This is an important time for the FIC as several stages of new vessel design, construction and transition to operations are in progress.

New Bunker Fuel Developed by Scientists

Scientists develop a cleaner fuel for cruise ships & other large vessels from ingredients in detergents, medicines. Scientists describe development of a new fuel mixture to ease the major air pollution and cost problems facing cruise ships, oil tankers and container ships which tend to burn the cheapest and most highly polluting form of diesel fuel. Their report was part of the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, being held here this week. George N. Harakas, Ph.D.

Briseno Meets President Obama: Photo credit ONR

U.S. ONR-funded Researchers Recognized by President

Six researchers funded by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) honored with Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers. “ONR has always had an excellent ability to identify and foster young talent by keeping current with the most innovative research being done in various fields,” said Dr. Michael Kassner , ONR director of research. Honorees funded by ONR include: David M. Blei, Princeton University; Alejandro L. Briseno, University of Massachusetts Amherst; Lee R.

'Maersk Illinois' Photo credit Maersk

US Flagged Heavy Lift Ship Makes Inaugural Homeport Debut

Maersk Line's 'Maersk Illinois' makes her first homeport call in Norfolk, Virginia. The call in Norfolk affirmed the value of the Maersk-Rickmers heavy-lift service and brought together customers and constituents who rely on and support U.S. flag shipping. In May 2012, Congress reauthorized the Export-Import Bank’s charter to finance American exports and in doing so upheld U.S. cargo preference laws. The reauthorization helps maintain a stable business environment for capital investments, like the acquisition of Maersk Illinois and her sister ship, Maersk Texas.

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…

GPA Chairman Guido Perla

GPA: Engineering Ideas Into Reality…

The motto at Guido Perla & Associates, Inc. (GPA) for over thirty years and continuing to this day has always been: Engineering Ideas into Reality. For clients worldwide, no matter how large or small the project, from single vessels to an unprecedented number of vessels in one series, the adage rings true. Behind the company’s success and commitment to each and every client is a team of over 70 professionals on four continents, led by the company’s Chairman Guido Perla and supported by his management team.

Arctic Surveys Yielding Data and Savings

U.S.-Canada Arctic Ocean survey partnership saved costs, increased data; 2011 mission concludes joint seafloor survey operations. A recent mission marked the completion of a five-year collaboration between the United States and Canada to survey the Arctic Ocean. The bilateral project collected scientific data to delineate the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from the coastline, also known as the extended continental shelf (ECS). The U.S. has an inherent interest in knowing…

The Nanuq was outfitted with oil-spill-response capabilities well before the 2010 Macondo spill in the Gulf, he noted. The Aiviq is designed to work in tandem with the Nanuq. (Photo Courtesy Shell)

Arctic Oil Exploration: Shell Awaits New Giant Icebreaker

The M/V Aiviq icebreaker, contracted by Shell Oil to support drilling in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea, is scheduled to be completed by Louisiana-based Edison Chouest Offshore in early 2012. The vessel, ordered in July 2009, is on track for April 1, 2012, delivery in Galliano, La., and will then head north, according to Shell Oil spokesman Curtis Smith. The $200m Aiviq is the largest vessel ever built by Chouest, and will be among the most advanced and powerful, non-military icebreakers on the waters.