Saturday, January 18, 2014

Flying Phantom January sailing session

Flying Phantom One design
from Jeremie Eloy/ Wanaii Films

"It's crazy, it's noiseless, fast, and it never ends"
"Foiling cats are the future of our Sport"

Flying Phantom One Design January Sailing Session

After three years of research and development, the Flying Phantom is world’s first series foiler catamaran thanks to the combination of L-shaped foils and T-shaped rudders.
Sailing session with Gurvan Bontemps and Benjamin Amiot between Saint Lunaire and Saint Malo - Brittany - France.

François Gabart, Vendée Globe 2013 winner and Macif skipper, takes off for a flying sailing session on the Flying Phantom OD.
Crew: Gurvan Bontemps and Benjamin Amiot

Friday, January 17, 2014

Clamp down on illegal fishing to curb human trafficking

Thailand's seafood exports are the third most valuable in the world, supplying markets in the US, Europe and Asia but far from the attention of consumers vulnerable migrants in search of a better future are being trafficked, exploited, abused and even murdered aboard Thai fishing vessels.
- see ESJ report -

From TheWashingtonPost

If most people think human trafficking is all about sexual exploitation, the mistake is understandable. After all, last year’s State Department report on trafficking noted that 85 percent of prosecutions for this crime worldwide — and more than 89 percent of convictions — were for sex-related offenses.
But, as an International Labor Organization study found in 2012, more than three-quarters of trafficking victims in the global private economy are exploited for labor. And the world is just starting to learn how much of this is tied to fishing.
Yes, fishing.

Not some reality TV show about stout-hearted seafarers, but the grim world of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
Vessels engaged in illegal, unregulated fishing not only steal precious food resources off the coasts of poor countries, engage in drug smuggling and damage marine ecosystems — they also prey on human beings, trapping workers on boats as slaves.

For purposes of indictment, it is hard to beat a conclusion in a 2011 paper by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime: “Perhaps the most disturbing finding of the study was the severity of the abuse of fishers trafficked for the purpose of forced labor on board fishing vessels. These practices can only be described as cruel and inhumane treatment in the extreme. . . . A particularly disturbing facet of this form of exploitation is the frequency of trafficking in children in the fishing industry.”

As it happens, when it comes to IUU fishing, Congress has an opportunity to make a real difference in preventing this harsh treatment of workers who had no idea how they would be trapped at sea.
And it need not cost any money.
All legislators have to do is ratify and implement an international agreement.

Even considered only as an economic and environmental problem, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is serious business.
A 2009 peer-reviewed scientific study estimated that the worldwide annual value of losses from illegal and unreported fishing could reach $23.5 billion.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has found that by “adversely impacting fisheries, marine ecosystems, food security and coastal communities around the world, IUU fishing undermines domestic and international conservation and management efforts.”

Yet that is far from the whole story.
Fishing boats are much less carefully regulated than other ships: Because fishing vessels are not required to have identification numbers, enormous ships are known to change names and flags of registration to stay a step ahead of authorities.
Interpol issued two worldwide alerts last year for vessels that had done just that.
Fishing vessels are not required to carry satellite transponders, which makes it easy for them to evade surveillance.
Moreover, enforcement actions have traditionally been left to the states where the boats are registered, or “flagged,” rather than the “port” states where they bring their cargo to shore, where they would be more likely to be caught doing something illegal.

The combination of lax enforcement and the ability to escape detection has proved irresistible to criminals, who use IUU fishing as cover for other illicit activities.
For instance, a State Department report noted that drug smuggling is often aided by fishing boats moving drugs through the Bahamas, Jamaica and Florida.

But the human-trafficking dimension is worse, amounting to a form of modern slavery that traps laborers on the high seas, far from the reach of law enforcement.
Fortunately, this is an issue that members of both political parties have shown they care about.

In 2000, with bipartisan support, Congress passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which defines trafficking for purposes of labor or sex and provides critical elements for the protection of victims, as well as prevention and prosecution.

The law was reauthorized last March, again with broad bipartisan endorsement.
Meanwhile, in 2009 U.S. officials signed the Port States Measures Agreement.
This pact, which the Senate has yet to ratify, could address IUU fishing by strengthening port inspection procedures.
Only nine countries have ratified the agreement, and the United States could provide forceful leadership.
Congress could also pass the Pirate Fishing Elimination Act, which was backed by members of both parties when it was first introduced in 2011 and which would implement the international agreement.

Steps should be taken toward ending every form of human trafficking. “Trafficking” may sound like it refers to crossing borders, but it means turning people into commodities, robbed of autonomy.
Stopping illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing will do far more than save marine ecosystems; it will save human beings. 
Links :
  • ILO : Caught at Sea - Forced Labour and Trafficking in Fisheries

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Global piracy hits lowest level since 2007, report says

 IMB Piracy & Armed Robbery Map 2013

From NYTimes

Global piracy at sea fell to the lowest level in six years in 2013, largely because of an international crackdown on pirate gangs that once operated with impunity off the coast of Somalia, a maritime monitoring organization reported on Wednesday.

The organization, the International Maritime Bureau, based in London, said in its annual global piracy report that 264 attacks were recorded worldwide in 2013, compared with 297 in 2012 and 439 in 2011. It was the lowest figure since 270 attacks were recorded in 2007.
Fifteen acts of piracy were reported off Somalia in 2013, down from 75 in 2012 and 237 in 2011, when Somali piracy peaked.

“The single biggest reason for the drop in worldwide piracy is the decrease in Somali piracy off the coast of East Africa,” Pottengal Mukundan, the director of the International Maritime Bureau, said in a statement.
He attributed the drop in Somali piracy to greater deterrence by international naval vessels deployed near Somalia; toughened security measures aboard many formerly vulnerable vessels, including the use of private armed guards; and a relative improvement in the political stability of Somalia, a country torn by years of dysfunction, anarchy and jihadist militancy.

Piracy off West Africa, however, which has been increasing in recent years, showed no sign of easing, mostly because of a surge in Nigerian pirate gangs.
They accounted for 31 of that region’s 51 reported attacks, many of them targeting vessels serving Nigeria’s oil industry.
The report said Nigerian pirates also ventured farther from home, attacking vessels off the coasts of Gabon, Ivory Coast and Togo.

A report last June by the International Maritime Bureau and two other piracy monitoring groups, Oceans Beyond Piracy and the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Program, said that in 2012 the number of ships and sailors attacked by pirates off West Africa exceeded those attacked off Somalia for the first time.

Links :

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Pine Island Glacier's retreat 'irreversible'

NASA Warm Ocean Melting Pine Island Glacier

From BBC

Antarctica's mighty Pine Island Glacier (PIG) is now very probably in a headlong, self-sustaining retreat.
This is the conclusion of three teams that have modelled its behaviour.
Even if the region were to experience much colder conditions, the retreat would continue, the teams tell the journal Nature Climate Change.

This means PIG is set to become an even more significant contributor to global sea level rise - on the order of perhaps 3.5-10mm in the next 20 years.
"You can think of PIG like a ball. It's been kicked and it's just going to keep on rolling for the foreseeable future," said Dr Hilmar Gudmundsson from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).
PIG is a colossal feature.
Covering more than 160,000 sq km (two-thirds the size of the UK), it drains something like 20% of all the ice flowing off the west of the White Continent.

The very latest satellite data details the thinning occurring in this region of West Antarctica

Satellite and airborne measurements have recorded a marked thinning and a surge in velocity in recent decades.
Its grounding line - the zone where the glacier enters the sea and lifts up and floats - has reversed tens of km over the same period.
Much of this behaviour is driven not by higher air temperatures in the cold south but by warm ocean bottom-waters getting under and eroding the floating ice shelf at the head of the glacier.
Key to PIG's observed behaviour is that a large section of it sits below sea level, with the rock bed sloping back towards the continent.
This can produce what scientists refer to as a "marine ice sheet instability" - an inherently unstable architecture, which, once knocked, can go into an irreversible decline.

 PIG recently calved an iceberg more than 700 sq km in area

Dr Gudmundsson's group, together with colleagues in the UK, France and China, have used numerical models to describe PIG's current and future behaviour, and they argue that it has now entered just such a mode.
"Even if you were to reduce melt rates, you would not stop the retreat," Dr Gudmundsson told BBC News.
"We did a number of model runs where we allowed PIG to retreat some distance back, and then we lowered the melt rates in our models. And despite doing that, the grounding line continued to retreat.
"You can talk about external forcing factors, such climate and ocean effects, and then there are internal factors which are the flow dynamics. What we find is that the internal dynamics of flow are such that the retreat is now self-sustaining."
This has major implications for sea level rise.
The Amundsen Bay, the area of West Antarctica containing PIG and other large glaciers, is currently dumping more than 150 cu km of ice a year into the ocean.
If the forecasts of Dr Gudmundsson and colleagues are correct, PIG could now lead an accelerating trend.

 BAS has just completed a traverse across PIG, gathering data to further characterise its behaviour

The teams write in their journal paper: "The [PIG's] associated mass loss increases substantially over the course of our simulations from the average value of 20 billion tonnes a year observed for the 1992-2011 period, up to and above 100 billion tonnes a year, equivalent to 3.5-10mm eustatic sea-level rise over the following 20 years."
By way of comparison, the most recent satellite data suggested West Antarctica as a whole was contributing about one-third of one millimetre per year to sea level rise.

A recent study, from a different research group at BAS, indicated that year-to-year variability in the melting of the glacier was very sensitive to the amount of warm ocean-bottom water reaching the ice shelf's underside.
This group noted that a high ridge on the sea floor could at times block the action of the warm water, resulting in a slowdown in the rate of melting.
Dr Andy Shepherd from Leeds University is connected with neither study but follows PIG's progress closely via satellite observations.
He suspects the perspective taken in the new Nature Climate Change paper properly describes the long-term outcome.
"Although there have been reports that PIG is sensitive to short-term changes in climate, this latest simulation of the glacier response to long-term forcing matches closely with satellite observations of continued retreat, and provides compelling evidence that increased ice losses are inevitable in the future," he said.

Dr Gudmundsson cautions that computer models are simulations that carry uncertainties, and must be constrained and improved by the further infusion of real-world data.
BAS is engaged in a big project, known as iStar, which is trying to do just this.
Expeditions are currently in the Antarctic taking measurements across the glacier's surface and in the waters into which it flows.

Links :

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Coastal ocean aquaculture can be environmentally sustainable

Exploring U.S. aquaculture :
NOAA Fisheries provides an overview of aquaculture in the United States and explores its advantages, challenges, and growth.
Aquaculture—also known as fish or shellfish farming—refers to the breeding, rearing, and harvesting of plants and animals in all types of water environments including ponds, rivers, lakes, and the ocean.
This kind of farming is the world's fastest-growing form of food production and a vital component of our food supply.
Aquaculture also supports commercial fisheries, enhances habitat and at-risk species, and maintains economic activity in coastal communities and at working waterfronts.


Specific types of fish farming can be accomplished with minimal or no harm to the coastal ocean environment as long as proper planning and safeguards are in place, according to a new report from researchers at NOAA’s National Ocean Service.

 Net pen aquaculture in deep coastal waters.

The study, led by scientists at National Ocean Service’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), evaluated the environmental effects of finfish aquaculture, including interactions with water quality, benthic habitats, and marine life across various farming practices and habitat types.

“We did this study because of concerns that putting marine finfish farms in the coastal ocean could have adverse effects on the environment,” said Dr. James Morris, NCCOS ecologist.
“We found that, in cases where farms are appropriately sited and responsibly managed, impacts to the environment are minimal to non-existent.”
“This report provides coastal and farm managers with a global perspective on a range of potential environmental effects and their relative intensity,” said Dr. Michael Rubino, director of NOAA Fisheries Office of Aquaculture.
“It is a tool that can be used when evaluating proposed or operational farming sites and gives them a factual basis to make decisions.”

Dirty Bottoms: The Industrialization of Aquaculture
The environmental damage from net pen aquaculture is cause for great alarm in scientific and coastal communities alike.
According to Inka Milewski, marine biologist and science advisor to the Conservation Council of New Brunswick,
"Salmon farms operate like industrial feedlots in coastal waters."
Join Milewski, an expert on the impacts of salmon farms on the coastal environment, to hear the facts, to learn from Canada's experience along the Bay of Fundy, and to see what solutions, if any, are possible.

In the report, scientists said that continued development of regional best-management practices and standardized protocols for environmental monitoring are key needs for aquaculture managers.
As aquaculture development increases in the coastal ocean, the ability to forecast immediate or long-term environmental concerns will provide confidence to coastal managers and the public.

Marine Aquaculture: A Promising Future
Aquaculture supplies half the seafood eaten in the U.S. and abroad.
Although we continue to rebuild our domestic fisheries stocks, most of the seafood needed for a growing planet will come from aquaculture.
This creates an opportunity for commercial fishermen, who are beginning to look to aquaculture as a complement to their fishing activities.
Over the last two years, an Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) project involving NOAA, New Hampshire Sea Grant and the University of New Hampshire, in conjunction with the Portsmouth Commercial Fishermen's Association is focused on growing steelhead trout, mussels, and sugar kelp in floating pens on the Piscataqua River.
It's a different kind of work for traditional fishermen, but they have the background and expertise on the water to pick it up quickly.

With training from NH Sea Grant and university experts, fishermen are learning the basics of feeding, maintenance, and harvesting the farmed species for sale.
The fishermen, in turn, bring a wealth of experience with boats, marine equipment, and business relationships to the venture.
In 2012, eight local fishermen took over day-to-day operations of the project, which supplies locally-raised trout and kelp to local markets and distributors, and provides income directly to the fishermen.

The response from local restaurants has been overwhelmingly positive, underscoring the potential for this model to be replicated elsewhere.

“This report contributes to the growing body of evidence supporting marine aquaculture as a sustainable source of safe, healthy and local seafood that supports jobs in coastal communities,” said Sam Rauch, acting assistant NOAA administrator for NOAA Fisheries.

Monday, January 13, 2014

NZ Linz update in the Marine GeoGarage

As our public viewer is not yet available
(currently under construction, upgrading to Google Maps API v3 as v2 is officially no more supported),
this info is primarily intended to
our iPhone/iPad universal mobile application users
(Marine NZ on the App Store) 
and our B2B customers which use our nautical charts layers
in their own webmapping applications through our GeoGarage API.  

14 charts have been updated in the Marine GeoGarage
1 chart (NZ2681 Plans in the Chatham Islands) has been permanently withdrawn
(Linz December update published January 10, 2014

  • NZ46 Cook Strait
  • NZ63 Kaikoura Peninsula to Banks Peninsula
  • NZ64 Banks Peninsula to Otago Peninsula
  • NZ268 Chatham Islands
  • NZ463 Approaches to Wellington
  • NZ615 Marlborough Sounds
  • NZ632 Banks Peninsula
  • NZ2683 Ocean Bay
  • NZ2685 Ocean Bay
  • NZ2687 Ocean Bay
  • NZ5411 Tauranga Harbour, Katikati Entrance to Mount Maunganui
  • NZ6153 Queen Charlotte Sound
  • NZ6321 Port of Lyttelton
  • NZ6324 French Bay
Today NZ Linz charts (180 charts / 313 including sub-charts) are displayed in the Marine GeoGarage.

Note :  LINZ produces official nautical charts to aid safe navigation in New Zealand waters and certain areas of Antarctica and the South-West Pacific.

Using charts safely involves keeping them up-to-date using Notices to Mariners
Reporting a Hazard to Navigation - H Note :
Mariners are requested to advise the New Zealand Hydrographic Authority at LINZ of the discovery of new or suspected dangers to navigation, or shortcomings in charts or publications.

Origin of seabed more complex than scientists first imagined

This 3D animation reveals for the first time the features of the huge undersea Colville Ridge, extending east of Auckland more 200km toward Fiji.
The fly-over runs northward over a southern portion of the craggy ridge.
Play an animation of an undersea model

From GNS Science

A large area of seafloor east of Auckland has thrown up a few surprises for scientists.

Little was known about the submerged Colville Ridge until two weeks ago when 17,500 square kilometres of it was mapped in detail for the first time by a research ship.

That is an area equivalent in size to Auckland and Northland combined, or just over half the size of Belgium, or about the same size as Kuwait or Swaziland.
It is cut by large faults and has volcanic cones sitting atop of the ridge.
From the bottom of its valleys to the top of its peaks measures about 2km.

Scientists had previously formed hypotheses on the area based on very limited bathymetry from single ship tracks, dating back decades.
The prevailing view was that it was a chain of extinct volcanoes.

The area covered by the new seafloor map is 17,500sqkm - equivalent in size to the land area of Auckland and Northland combined, or half the size of Belgium.

The new bathymetric map, with a resolution of 25m, is likely to prompt a rethink about its evolution. It may even fine tune some of the scientific models on the formation of this part of the South Pacific.

Far from being 100 percent volcanic in origin, the new data shows the Colville Ridge is a mix of sedimentary and volcanic rocks.
For at least some scientists, this is a bit of a surprise.

Kermadec Ridge in the South Fiji Basin

The Colville and the neighbouring Kermadec Ridges are like cousins – both stretching northeast from New Zealand towards Fiji and Tonga respectively.
The Kermadec Ridge, to the east, was thought to consist of similar geology to the Colville Ridge, and has recent volcanoes punctuating the crust, many of which are hydrothermally active.
Tectonic forces are steadily rifting apart these two ridges.

While marine geologists have systematically explored the active volcanoes that make up the Kermadec Arc during the past 15 years, little was known of the Colville Ridge until now.
The recent 15-day voyage was part of long-term project to use modern geophysical methods to map the entire area of New Zealand’s EEZ.
It is what chief scientist on the voyage, Cornel de Ronde of GNS Science, calls “mapping the farm”.
Building a detailed topographical map of the seafloor in New Zealand’s offshore territory.

 Marine geologist Dr Cornel de Ronde points out features on the new bathymetric map of the Colville Ridge

The voyage was led by GNS Science in collaboration with NIWA and Oregon State University.
It was funded by Land Information New Zealand.
To date, about 30 percent of our EEZ has been mapped to a uniformly high standard.
A common belief among scientists was that the Colville and Kermadec Ridges were originally joined together, but became separated as a huge rift – the Havre Trough - separated them over millions of years.
The new data is consistent with that hypothesis.
“It’s amazing to think this area is only 200km east of Auckland and ships have been sailing over it for more than a century pretty much oblivious to what lay beneath,” says Dr de Ronde.

The voyage used the ‘holy trinity’ of seafloor mapping techniques; sonar mapping and measurements of magnetism and gravity.
The trio complement each other and are considered pretty much essential to obtain meaningful information on the seafloor and its underlying structures.

The data identified many large faults running through the area, mostly trending northeast-southwest, most of which dip to the east.
This is consistent with a violent history of separation from a similar terrain to the east.
It also raises the possibility of seafloor minerals, as hot fluids containing dissolved minerals tend to move along faults, espeically where volcanic activity once occurred.

The possible presence of minerals will be one of the things investigated when Japanese and Germans research institutions, in collaboration with New Zealand researchers, will bring ships with autonomous underwater vehicles to study the area in more detail in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

During the voyage, a big surprise for the scientists was the poor match between the gravity and magnetic measurements.
“Everyone was expecting the two to strongly mirror each other. The big discrepancies tell us that the area is not just volcanic - it’s more complex than that,” says Dr de Ronde.
“We set out to map what we thought was an ancient volcanic arc. We were surprised to find it wasn’t just dominated by volcanic rocks, but more a mixture of them with large tracts of sedimentary rocks.
“If the ocean was drained from this area, you would see an impressive but eroded chain of mountains similar to the Tararuas in the southern part of the North Island.
“Essentially, what we have done is strip the ocean away and so people can see this part of the Earth’s surface for the first time. We’ve shown New Zealanders, at a resolution that is meaningful, another part of their sovereign estate.”

There are perhaps four or five major ridge features in New Zealand’s offshore territory and Colville was arguably the least known of them.
“The Colville Ridge is a significant landmark on the face of the Earth. If you were standing on the plains either side of the ridge, the peaks would be two kilometres above your head. That’s not trivial by any measure.”

Dr de Ronde says the new map would form a legacy for New Zealand and was unlikely to be repeated in our lifetimes.
“It is the undersea equivalent of Captain Cook mapping the shoreline of New Zealand almost 250 years ago.”

Sunday, January 12, 2014

2013 Rolex Sydney Hobart race final wrap video

2013 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race Final Wrap Video
from On The Water Anarchy

Official video from Rolex Sydney Hobart and Channel 7 shows why this 630 NM race is far, far bigger than it sounds.
Victoire was the winner on IRC while Wild Oats XI landed a record-tying 7th line honors victory.

 Links :