Saturday, May 8, 2010

The end of the line : imagine a world without fish

The End of the Line, is the world's first major feature documentary about the devastating impact overfishing has had and is having on our oceans. The film provides a dramatic expose of those in power who are taking advantage of the seas with catastrophic consequences on the world's fish supplies.

We see firsthand the effects of our global love affair with fish as food. The film examines the imminent extinction of bluefin tuna, brought on by increasing western demand for sushi; the impact on marine life resulting in huge overpopulation of jellyfish; and the profound implications of a future world with no fish, which would bring certain mass starvation and unemployment.

Filmed over two years, The End of the Line follows the investigative reporter Charles Clover as he confronts politicians and celebrity restaurateurs, who exhibit little regard for the damage they are doing to the oceans.

One of his allies is the former tuna farmer turned whistleblower Roberto Mielgo – on the trail of those destroying the world's magnificent bluefin tuna population.

Filmed across the world – from the Straits of Gibraltar to the coasts of Senegal and Alaska to the Tokyo fish market – featuring top scientists, indigenous fishermen and fisheries enforcement officials, The End of the Line is a wake-up call to the world.
With many species on the brink of extinction and mind-blowing evidence that the world may very soon face a future with very few fish, there has never been a more pressing need to bring this issue to the fore. The end of the line shows that we can all enjoy fish, but encourages viewers to think more carefully about where their fish is coming from.

Links :
  • BBC News : the bitter battle over bluefin tuna
  • ScienceDaily : fishing fleet working 17 times harder than in 1880s to make same catch
  • Mauritania on Saturday (May 1st) launched a two-month ban on industrial fishing, FIS reported. The interruption will reportedly allow endangered fish to reproduce. The biological shutdown affects some 300 vessels operating in Mauritanian waters.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Aquanauts : space exploration starts at the bottom of the sea

NASA will send two astronauts, a veteran undersea engineer and an experienced scientist into the ocean depths off Florida's east coast this month to test exploration concepts and learn more about working in an unforgiving, treacherous environment.
The 14th expedition of NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations, or NEEMO 14, begins May 10.

Canadian Space Agency astronaut and veteran spacewalker Chris Hadfield will lead the NASA team on a 14-day undersea mission aboard the Aquarius Underwater Laboratory.

Take a virtual tour to learn more about the NOAA, Aquarius Underwater Laboratory: America's "Inner Space" Station.
Aquarius is the only undersea laboratory dedicated to marine science operating in the world.
Owned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and managed by the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW), Aquarius operates 4.5 kilometers offshore of Key Largo, Florida 20 meters beneath the surface.
Aquarius Underwater Laboratory is marked with a yellow life support buoy that is 30' in diameter. The depth of the water where it sits is 63'. The reef wall outside the lab drops off to 160'-180'. There are yellow Sanctuary Preservation Area research only buoys that mark the site. It’s located 5 miles southeast of Tavernier at Conch Reef.
Location on the Marine GeoGarage (24°57.010' N/80°27.130' W)

During NEEMO 14, the ocean floor will simulate aspects of another planet's surface and a low-gravity environment. In October 2009, a team of aquanauts set the stage for NEEMO 14 by placing mockups near Aquarius of a lander, rover and small crane that simulates a robotic arm.

The NEEMO 14 crew will live aboard the underwater laboratory, venture out on simulated spacewalks, operate the crane and maneuver the vehicles much like explorers would in setting up a habitat on another planet. As the aquanauts interact with these developing technologies, they will provide information and feedback to NASA engineers.

The crew will simulate removing a mockup of the Lunar Electric Rover from the lander, retrieve small payloads from the lander and the ocean floor, and simulate the transfer of an incapacitated astronaut from the ocean floor to the deck of the craft. The rover and lander mockups are similar in size to vehicles NASA is considering for future planetary exploration.

While inside Aquarius, the crew will perform life science experiments focused on human behavior, performance and physiology. The mission also includes a study of autonomous crew work. There will be periods when there is limited communication between the crew and the mission control center, much like what could happen during missions to the moon or Mars.

Links :

Thursday, May 6, 2010

BEA yet to confirm possible refinement of AF447 search

Air France A330 flight AF447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris disappeared in the Atlantic on 1 June 2009 in stormy weather, killing in the crash all those on board (228 people).

The flight recorders from AF447 have been located to within a 5km zone, a French official has said. But Gen Christian Baptiste told AFP that retrieving the boxes from the ocean floor might be impossible.

The cause remains unknown. The plane's airspeed probes had given false readings, but officials believe other factors must also have contributed.
Finding the boxes, which record flight data and cockpit conversations, should allow investigators to finally explain the mystery of why the plane came down.

It appears the location zone has been traced using images obtained during the first phase of searching for the wreckage, when the flight recorders were still emitting a signal. A French submarine, the Emeraude, picked up signals at the time that have since been re-analyzed and that researchers determined were pings from the black boxes, the official said.
New software improvements from Thales allowed by a better sounds analysis to define a more precise wreck location.

French government and military officials have urged caution, saying there is no guarantee the flight recorders will be found.
"It's like trying to find a shoe box in an area the size of Paris, at a depth of 3,000m (9,800ft) and in a terrain as rugged as the Alps," French navy spokesman Hugues du Plessis d'Argentre told AFP.
The two recorders would be in a new area located at 20 NM (S-SW) from the last known position and could be distant one from the other by 3 to 8 km.

A fresh search was launched earlier this year involving US and Norwegian ships with sonar probes and robots (2x Remus 6000 AUV from WHOI +1x Triton ROV + 1x IFM-Geomar glider), in what officials described as "one of the most complex undersea operations ever".

The area covered by the high-tech vessels ("Seabed Worker" & "Anne Candies") will now be reduced from 1,500 sq km (580 sq miles) to just 3-5 sq km (1-2 sq miles), in a remote area far off the coast of Brazil, NW of Arquipelago Sao Pedro e Sao Paulo (carta 10/int.216).
Location on the Marine GeoGarage (DHN carta 10 'Costa Nordeste da America do Sul')

Paul-Henry Nargeolet, BEA's maritime coordinator is the deep-dive explorer (previously Ifremer Nautile bathyscaph pilot) who has led several expeditions to the Titanic Wreck.
"They are currently aimed at covering the peripheral areas of the initial search zone and at clearing up remaining doubts," says the BEA.
These areas include a region adjacent to the initial zone, to the northwest of AF447's last known position, as well as a region within the initial zone which consists of rough terrain. The search will be completed around 25 May.
See Radio Nav Warning #0102/10 issued by Brazilian Navy with area interdicted to navigation
This continuation of phase 3 will be done with fewer ships and equipment.
The U.S Navy’s ROV’s and sonar, will now be unavailable because they are being mobilized for a military operation. Also, one of the AUV (belonging to Geomar), will not be available for this continuation phase.
The search will be continued with the Norwegian ship the Seabed Worker, and two AUVs.

Links :

NZ Linz update in the Marine GeoGarage

Update example : NZ6154 4/2010 new edition (Marine GeoGarage)

May 6th :
the entire catalogue of raster charts from Linz has been updated in the Marine GeoGarage.
(59 charts have been updated)

Note : don't forget to visit the New Zealand Notices to Mariners (NTMs)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The perfect racer/cruiser yacht ?

The JP54 is a fast cruising yacht inspired by the designs of the IMOCA 60 racing class.
Veteran singlehanded sailor Jean-Pierre Dick is behind this new venture, which he dreamed of while racing the Vendee Globe and built under his company "Absolute Dreamer".
Designed for fast, shorthanded offshore cruising, the JP54 hull is constructed from carbon fiber : lightweight and powerful, the JP54 is equipped with a seamless high modulus carbon spar from Hall.

"I imagined the yacht in my dreams during last two Vendée Globe, when i asked myself what would be the ideal boat for a cruise. I wanted to sail on the ocean and at the same be able to stop over. So i started to scribble down a few ideas here and there, and i made a note of what could be transferred from a racing yacht to a cruiser."

The mast is deck stepped and measures 22.3m. Hall engineer Mike Elley, who worked on the design, notes that "with a righting moment roughly twice that of a TP52, the JP54 will be very fast on a reach. And, like all canting keel boats, it should plane much of time". The mast has three forestays to handle a variety of headsails, with three checkstays to balance the rig. The checks are tensioned by the same runner tail, and the top ends are lashed to the mast wall.

The boat has a canting keel and a rotating living space.
The chart table, galley, batteries and hydraulics are all part of this "cell" that can rotate to weather for ballast, or can be used to offset the canted keel and reduce draft.
So the JP54 has incorporated a dramatic interior that allows the transfer of weight to windward direction in a few seconds. Placing the feature in the main saloon, this futuristically styled yacht accommodates eight persons (four adults and four children). The rotation of this satellite module is controlled while sitting down at the navigation station to keep things steady onboard.

Designed by Guillaume Verdier, the boat was built in Cookson shipyard in New Zealand.
Link :

  • : a look aboard the new JP54, above decks a one sided yacht

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Online maps & data resources related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill

A set of resources made available from different organizations that enables users to see the latest maps, web services, and applications devoted to monitoring and tracking the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

  • BP response / Map
  • ESRI proposes several web services containing datasets that are of interest to responders of the Gulf of Mexico BP Oil spill : GeoViewer / ArcGis_online / Gulf Oil Spill Map / Economic Impact
  • NGA Earth Oil Spill Map
  • NOAA Office of Response and Restoration : day to day trajectory forecast
  • The original environmental sensitivity index (ESI) mapping concept for oil spills was developed to assist spill-response coordinators in evaluating the potential impact of oil along a shoreline and the allocation of resources during and after a spill.
  • Marine GeoGarage : specific NOAA raster nautical map RNC11360.kmz (12Mb) with spill projection for Google Earth
  • Google crisis answer
  • Microsoft Bing Maps
  • Louisiana Bucket Brigade : provide data about the impacts of the spill in real time as well as document the story of those that witness it
  • Grassroots Mapping a community participatory mapping initiative from the MIT Media Lab to utilize their balloon-based camera system to acquire imagery and map the Gulf oil spill along the Louisiana coast
  • How big is the oil spill (Paul Rademacher)
  • New York Times : map of the oil spill spread
  • State of Louisiana
  • Washington Post TimeSpace
  • EPA BP Oil Spill : in addition to monitoring air quality, EPA is assessing the coastal waters affected by the spreading oil (kmz file)
  • NASA Satellite imagery keeping eye on the Gulf Oil Spill
  • Envisat & Meris, ESA monitoring changes in oil spill trajectory
  • Spot5 image
  • ZKI maps from German Aerospace Center (DLR) illustrate the extent of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico at several times as well as its evolution based on the TerraSAR-X data.
  • Weather and currents forecasts : WAVCIS / NOAA Hycom model
  • Gulf of Mexico Oil Rigs: 1942-2005
  • Ocean Circulation Group : The Deepwater Horizon oil spill trajectory ensemble forecast from different numerical models
  • NOAA ERMA (GeoPlatform) : Mapping the response to BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico
  • Map the Spill : mobile app and website built by Trimble
  • Nola : 2010 Gulf of Mewico oil spill
  • WAVCIS : Wave-current-surge information system for coastal Louisiana
-> Directory of other ressources on

Monday, May 3, 2010

Multibeam image of the wreck of a Russian submarine sunk in the Barents sea

On 30 August 2003, the nuclear submarine K-159 sank in a restricted military area in the Arctic circle during stormy weather while being towed to the shipyard in Snezhnogorsk, Murmansk Oblast for scrapping (K-159 was decommissioned in 1987).
K-159 was found and investigated by Russian deep-sea vehicles the same day in the point 69°22.64'N, 33°49.51'E (Barents Sea, 2.4 miles from Kildin Island) at a depth of 248 m.
K-159 performed 9 missions and passed 212,618 miles since June 1963.
The nuclear submarine renamed B-159 on 1989 was under tow to a facility to have its two fully fueled reactors removed. In heavy weather a disastrous sequence of events led to the vessel sinking by the stern.
Three of the 10 skeleton crew escaped but only one survived.
Forensic archaeological analysis, together with the limited contemporary reports available, showed that the submarine sank stern first and stuck 12m into the seabed.
The hull then snapped at the aft end of the internal pressure hull and crashed to the seabed, leaving 8.5m of the outer casing, including the propellors, still buried vertically in the seabed.

It is unlikely that there has been any fishing in the area since the 2nd World War and wildlife is abundant.
At the start of the survey lead by ADUS in 2007, the noise of the multibeam system (Reson 8125) and the ROV thrusters, together with the lights for the videos and cameras, attracted thousands of large atlantic cod.
The multibeam survey had to be stopped at intervals and the ROV dropped onto the seabed. Everything was then turned off to allow time for the fish to disperse before resuming the survey.

Links :
  • Wired original article (05/2010)
  • other image with fish noise (courtesy of Salvage and Marine Operations, MoD)
  • NATO Submarine Rescue Service Intervention ROV used as a platform for the survey of the B 159 (multibeam sonar located in the frame bolted beneath the ROV)
  • B-159 in Gremikha Bay of Barents Sea, 28 August 2003, ready for towing to the shipyard for scrapping
  • another submarine wreck (German U-735 sunk by R.A.F. in 1944 near Horten, Norway) Olex 3D image rendered from real Simrad EM3000 multibeam soundings fitting 'NUI Explorer' Hugin II AUV

Sunday, May 2, 2010

DIY sailor launches homemade boat after 30 years

Via: Metro

Zeal to pursue the coveted goal doesn’t faint, no matter how long it takes to achieve it.

Owen Warboys – a man from Hordle, Hampshire proved it when launched his DIY boat that took over three decades building it in his mum’s garden. Christened as "Wight Dolphin", the work on this 40ft long sloop weighing over 18 tonne yacht started in 1982 at his mother Edith’s house. After completion Owen Warboys’ home-made boat has made it to the sea.

"Wight Dolphin" was built by Owen from the scratch with sheets of steel and pieces of wood and the construction was marked with hours and hours of welding and grinding. As the project neared completion, Owen worked virtually every weekend for three years to finish the job. It took Owen a decade to build the hull alone. However, the hard work and patience finally paid and the boat has a galley, bedrooms, showers and toilets and a diesel engine that was brand new when it was fitted – 12 years ago.

The 66-year-old started work on the 12m (40-ft) sloop in his mother’s back garden in 1982. He told her it would take only five years but, after suffering ‘a few problems’, and that was before he had to work out how to get it out of the back garden, his project spiralled into a mammoth project spanning nearly three decades.

When he finished, a year after his mother, Edith, died last year aged 102 (he had to delay selling her house), he was left with the head-scratching task of getting the 18-tonne yacht out of the garden. So Owen Warboys nervously looked on as a crane lifted 40ft in the air with a huge crane over his late mother’s detached house on to a lorry to transport it to a marina on the Solent, where, to Owen’s delight, it floated and didn’t show any signs of leakage
when it was tested.
Now he and his long-suffering wife, Anne, 65, plan to go on a cruise in the Mediterranean.
He added: “Once the mast and sails are fitted we’re heading to warmer climes.”

Thirty years are too long a time to hunt only one goal and one would have lost the patience in the middle.
The retired marine engineer from Hordle, near Lymington, Hants, said:
"I am so relieved it’s finished," he said. "There were times when I thought it would never end but I’m the sort of person who likes to finish something once I’ve started."

Benjamin Franklin's quotation : “Energy and persistence conquer all things.”
Hats off and kudos to Owen’s perseverance!

Links :
  • Telegraph UK
  • similar story : a 1/8 scale model of the Majesty of the Seas (mini) was built in Morsbach, by François Zanella a retired French mine worker and was launched in 2005 after 11 years of work