Saturday, June 20, 2015

Born like stars

An otherworldly underwater journey reveals the strangely celestial way in which a deep-sea squid gives birth.
Skip to 3:00 to jump right into the action, but watching the entire video from the start truly adds to the mystery and beauty of the whole experience.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Oil drilling in Arctic Ocean: A push into uncharted waters

 What would an oil spill in the Beaufort Sea look like ?

From e360Yale by Ed Strukzik

As the U.S. and Russia take the first steps to drill for oil and gas in the Arctic Ocean, experts say the harsh climate, icy seas, and lack of infrastructure means a sizeable oil spill would be very difficult to clean up and could cause extensive environmental damage.

Last October, an unmanned barge with 950 gallons of fuel on board was in the Beaufort Sea when it broke free from the tug towing it.
The weather was stormy and the tug captain decided it was too dangerous to try to retrieve the barge in turbulent seas.

Ideally, the Canadian Coast Guard would have been on hand to deal with the situation.
But the icebreaker it routinely dispatches to the Beaufort Sea had gone back to Vancouver for the winter.
It would have taken a week for it to return.

 Arctic ocean in the GeoGarage platform

In the days that followed, powerful currents swept the barge into Alaskan waters.
The U.S. Coast Guard couldn’t do anything because its one operating icebreaker was stationed in Antarctica at the time.
Canadian and U.S. officials thought the barge would most likely be locked in the ice, or crushed by ice and sink.
It continued to drift, however, and when satellite observers checked last month the barge was about 40 miles off Russia’s Chukchi Peninsula.
Russian attempts to find the barge have been hampered, likely to due to bad weather.

As potential oil spills go, the barge incident is an extremely minor one.
But experts say that the errant barge should be a wake-up call for Arctic nations like the United States, Canada, Russia, Denmark, and Norway that are poised to ramp up shipping, as well as oil and gas drilling, in the Arctic.

Not only does the route of the ghost barge serve as a real-life demonstration of how spilled oil could move across the Arctic, it also illustrates how difficult it will be to contain and clean up oil in a region where roads, ports, airplanes, and icebreakers are few and far between.
In addition, scientists and engineers still don’t fully understand how chemical dispersants and oil collection agents might work in a cold climate, how ice conditions and ocean currents will influence the fate of spilled oil, and how well microbes in the Arctic are able to degrade the hydrocarbons, as they tend to do in warmer climates, such as during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

In 2012, WWF commissioned RPS Applied Science Associates, Inc. (RPS ASA) to evaluate different types of oil spills most likely to occur in the Beaufort Sea.
RPS ASA is a world leader in modelling the transport, fate, and biological effects of oil and chemical pollutants in marine environments.
Using cutting-edge computer modelling software, RSP ASA estimated the trajectory future possible oil spills associated with increased ship traffic and offshore petroleum exploration and development in the Beaufort Sea.

“Responding to an oil spill is extremely challenging in any marine environment,” says Paul Crowley, the Canadian director of the World Wildlife Fund’s Arctic Program. 
“Under Arctic conditions, it is much worse. A major spill would contaminate ice and shorelines for many thousands of kilometers, kill seabirds and mammals, and severely pollute the natural ecosystem that traditional [indigenous] users and wildlife rely upon.”

Crowley noted that the offshore operating season in the Arctic — and therefore the period when it would be possible to clean up an oil spill — is restricted to four to five months by darkness, heavy ice, and extreme cold.
These severe conditions would make it impossible to attempt an oil spill cleanup for half of the time during the operating season, and 100 percent of the time during the winter, Crowley and others say.

The issue of oil spill response in the Arctic has gained added attention since the Obama administration announced last month that it was giving conditional approval to Shell Oil to drill up to six exploratory wells in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska.
Although the U.S. is requiring Shell to abide by stringent safeguards — drilling only in shallow water and only in ice-free months, requiring the presence of a second oil rig to drill a relief well in case of a blowout — the administration’s decision nonetheless opens the door to drilling in U.S. Arctic waters.

Shell also is exploring Arctic oil-drilling opportunities in Russia, Greenland, and Norway.
The company says it is taking “extraordinary precautions” to drill safely and is collaborating closely with scientific organizations and governments in the region.

Using a supposedly ice-resistant platform, Russia has already begun drilling in the Arctic Ocean at the Prirazlomnoye oil field in the Pechora Sea off western Siberia.
These developments, experts warn, may be just the beginning of oil exploitation in a region that is unprepared to handle oil spills of any size.

There’s oil under them ‘bergs… 
Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Rob Huebert is senior research fellow at the Center for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary and a board member of the Canadian Polar Commission, which is responsible for monitoring and disseminating knowledge of the polar regions.
He is not alone in suggesting that the time to act on oil spill preparedness should come sooner rather than later because oil and gas drilling, as well as shipping in the Arctic, will inevitably accelerate.

In addition to Russia, Huebert says, other Arctic nations — including Greenland, Norway, the United States, and Canada — are interested in developing energy resources in the Arctic, setting “these states on a collision course with the international environmental community.”

Recent oil spills such as Deepwater Horizon have provided engineers and biologists with valuable insights into the containment, cleanup, and disposal of spilled oil.
These spills have also spurred the U.S. Department of Interior to enact some of the most aggressive reforms to offshore oil and gas regulation and oversight in U.S. history.

But as Deepwater Horizon demonstrated, it takes a tremendous amount of resources to clean up a major spill.
At the height of the cleanup, 7,000 vessels, 125 aircraft, and 47,000 people were deployed from a host of easily accessible ports and bases across the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.
And yet, several months after the oil well was finally capped, more than 100 millions gallons of oil — out of as many as 210 million spilled — was still unaccounted for.
Much of that missing oil is believed to have settled on the sea floor.

A spill on the scale of the Deepwater Horizon isn't going to happen anytime soon in the Arctic.
But experts say that mobilizing even a fraction of these resources in the region in an expeditious manner would be extremely difficult because there are few roads, runways, or ports in the Arctic; little expert manpower standing by to stage a response; and insufficient international protocols to orchestrate a cleanup if the oil crosses international boundaries.
Tracking the oil by satellite would also be difficult because of weather conditions and ice that may cover oil slicks.

Studies have shown that in most cases, no more than 20 per cent of oil spilled in the ocean can be recovered by mechanical means — those that do not involve the use of chemicals, which can be toxic to marine organisms.
In situ burning and chemical dispersants, therefore, would have to be relied upon heavily in the event of a spill in the Arctic, experts say.

University of Manitoba scientist David Barber heads up a Canadian research group with expertise in the detection, impacts, and mitigation of oil in sea ice.
He says there is very limited knowledge of how Arctic marine ecosystems will be affected by the presence, composition, and dispersion of oil, as well as chemicals used for cleanup, such as dispersants.
“Development of technologies that would be able to help detect oil in ice, and cold-adapted bioremediation technologies, are in their infancy,” he points out.

Barber and his group recently received $28 million in funding from the Canadian government to study ways of detecting oil in Arctic ice.
He says there are a number of variables in the Arctic that complicate containment and clean up efforts, with ice and cold weather topping the list.
Oil can become frozen in ice and drift long distances, and oil trapped under ice also breaks down more slowly because of reduced wave action.
Lower evaporation losses in cold climes also slow the breakdown of oil.
The long-lingering effects of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in southern Alaska demonstrated the difficulties of cleaning up oil spills in cold climes.
What worries scientists and environmentalists even more is a blowout that might take place toward the end of the summer drilling season.

“If a blowout were to occur and could not be contained before the winter freeze-up, it could spew oil uncontrollably for the seven or eight months of winter ice-cover, without the possibility of taking any steps during that time to control it,” Crowley says.
“The oil would bind with the newly formed ice, be carried far and wide by ocean currents, and released into new environments the following spring.”
This, Barber said, should cause people “to pause and reflect on the consequences of allowing oil and gas development in this region without the proper safeguards.”

Environmental groups are particularly concerned that Shell is being given permits for conditional drilling in the Arctic, considering that the company’s history of exploratory drilling has been fraught with problems, including the grounding of a drilling rig off the Alaska coast in late 2012.

Shell has made improvements in source control capping and containment since 2012, but experts with WWF and the Pew Charitable Trusts believe that Shell’s spill response capabilities, and those of U.S. agencies, still do not come close to resembling what an expert committee for the U.S. National Research Council recommended in 2014.
The report highlighted serious shortcomings and featured a long list of recommendations.

“There is still no backstop — no national regulation to ensure operators are prepared for the harsh conditions and remote location of the Arctic region,” says Marilyn Heiman, director of Pew’s US Arctic Project.
“That’s why we are pushing for [the] Interior [Department] to finalize strong regulations that will apply to all future drilling in the Arctic.”
The fact that Russia is ramping up activity in the Arctic was one of the concerns of the National Research Council committee.
If a spill or an accident were to happen on the Russian side of the border, the committee pointed out, oil could easily migrate into Alaskan waters.
The committee called on the U.S. Coast Guard to expand its bilateral agreement with Russia to include Arctic spill scenarios.
Crowley says the same international dispersion of oil could happen if a spill were to occur in Canada’s Beaufort Sea, where Imperial Oil Canada, Exxon Mobil, and BP have jointly filed an application to drill at least one well nearly a mile deep.

Crowley says that the barge that ended up in Russia is an example of what WWF-Canada has highlighted in an oil spill modeling map of the Beaufort Sea.
The barge has followed roughly the same path along the Canadian, Alaskan, and Russian coasts as many of the 22 oil spill scenarios depicted on the WWF map.

“This also highlights the need for increased cooperation, both between industry and governments, and especially between the Arctic states who share these waters,” says Crowley.

Links :

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Almost half of tankers not ready for new July 2015 SOLAS Regs

More than 4,000 tankers are not yet using an ENC service ahead of July 1, 2015 ECDIS mandate

From MarineLink

SOLAS regulations on the mandatory carriage of Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS) for all tankers of 3,000 gross metric tons or more come into force July 1, 2015.
     Of the more than 8,750 tankers in the global fleet that are required to comply with these regulations by their first survey following this date, 54 percent are now using ENCs (Electronic Nautical Charts) on ECDIS, according to United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO).

Progress has been made in recent months, with the global ECDIS readiness figure having risen from 42 percent in September 2014 to the current figure of 54 percent, yet more than 4,000 tankers representing the remaining 46 percent of the global tanker fleet are not yet using an ENC service.

UKHO’s data also reveals a number of disparities in the adoption of ECDIS between different elements of the global tanker fleet: 83 percent of LNG tankers are currently using an ENC service, compared to 70 percent of crude oil tankers and 36 percent of product tankers.
All three categories have shown a substantial improvement in ECDIS readiness since September 2014.

Thomas Mellor, Head of OEM Technical Support and Digital Standards, UKHO, commented, “The international tanker community has made significant progress towards ensuring that it is ready for the SOLAS regulations on ECDIS carriage that come into force in July. However, we also recognize that a large proportion of the fleet, comprising over 4,000 tankers, is not yet using an ENC service and therefore not yet ready to comply with the mandatory carriage of ECDIS. Even allowing for exemptions and the grace period until their first survey after July 1, 2015, which could be up to 12 months later, this is a considerable undertaking and the ECDIS supply chain can expect to come under considerable pressure in the coming months.”

“Tanker owners and operators that have not yet planned for the adoption of ECDIS should address this immediately in order to make the transition in a safe, timely manner and avoid the risks of non-compliance. From an operational, commercial and reputational perspective, the consequences of failing to comply with the ECDIS regulations – and therefore the SOLAS Convention – can be severe.”
“The UKHO will continue to support the industry, as it adopts digital navigation, through the free ‘Living with ECDIS’ global seminar program and ECDIS-specific ADMIRALTY Publications. Further information on both is available from any ADMIRALTY Chart Agent.”

 GeoGarage ENC catalog : more than 13,800 ENCs

The amendments to the SOLAS Convention requiring the mandatory carriage of ECDIS for ships engaged on international voyages were adopted in 2009, putting in place a rolling timetable of deadlines for different vessel sizes and classes, including the requirement for all existing tankers of 3,000 gross metric tons or more to be fitted with ECDIS not later than their first survey on or after July 1, 2015.
However, ships that will be taken permanently out of service within two years of this implementation date may be exempted.

The ECDIS transition process consists of a number of stages that go considerably further than the physical installation of ECDIS on board.
Tanker owners and operators must also manage the delivery of generic and type-specific ECDIS training for their crew, the necessary revisions to bridge policies and procedures, the requirement for class approval, and more.
This process will put pressure on all elements of the ECDIS supply chain, including OEMs, shipyards, crew, training providers, crewing companies, class societies and Flag States, and requires considerable advance planning by tanker companies.

Links :
  • Lloyds : Aronnax: Tanker operators risk detentions due to slow adoption of ecdis

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

15 facts about sea level rise that should scare the s^*# out of you

2 degrees Celsius: A critical number for climate change

From CNN by John D. Sutter

I'm recently back from the Marshall Islands -- one of the low-lying Pacific island nations that literally could be wiped off the map by climate change and rising seas.

Climate change gets couched, especially by skeptics, as an intangible, far-off issue.
But meet people who are terrified their country -- everything they know -- will be drowned beneath the waves, and you can see that this is a crisis, and one that must be addressed immediately.

I'll write more soon about my time on the islands -- and about the surprising U.S. community where some Marshallese people already are taking refuge from floods.
These are topics, by the way, you voted for me to explore as part of my "2 degrees" series on climate change.
For now, here's a look at some of the scariest data about how much ocean levels could rise, and when.

We're talking about the future here, so estimates vary by source, but the bottom line is this: Our actions today will create the world future generations will have to inhabit.

I hope that's a world that includes the Marshall Islands and Miami, Bangladesh and London.

Take a look at these facts, and please let me know what you think in the comments.

1. Seas already are rising because of climate change.

2. It's happening faster than scientists expected, and the collapse of the enormous West Antarctic Ice Sheet now "appears unstoppable," according to NASA.

3. By the end of the century, scientists expect seas to rise 0.4 to 1.2 meters (1.3 to 3.9 feet), depending on how much we humans keep warming the atmosphere.

4. Maybe that doesn't sound like much -- but 147 million to 216 million people worldwide can expect to see their homes submerged or put at risk for regular flooding by 2100.

5. In Bangladesh, for example, 15 million people would be at risk for displacement if sea levels rose just 1 meter, or 3 feet. And more than 10% of the country would be underwater.

6. Some remote, island nations also would start disappearing -- since many, including Kiribati, the Maldives and the Marshall Islands, sit just above sea level.

7. Some "climate refugees" from these countries won't have anywhere to go. International laws don't protect them, so industrialized countries -- those contributing to climate change -- won't have to let them cross their borders to seek asylum.

8. This is a financial concern as well. Rising seas pose a serious economic threat to the millions living in at-risk coastal cities. 

9. In terms of dollars at risk, Guangzhou, China, in the Pearl River Delta, is more vulnerable to sea-level rise than any other city in the world, according to the World Bank. Many of the most vulnerable cities should look familiar, especially to Americans. After Guangzhou, Miami, New York and New Orleans are next. 

10. Miami is in serious trouble. To imagine its possible futures, play with this map from Climate Central.

11. New York doesn't look good, either.

12. And here's the possible future of Houston, another low-lying city.

13. Sea levels are slow to respond to the warming climate -- so the most troublesome effects may not be seen for centuries. Even if warming is limited to 2 degrees, which is the international goal, seas could be expected to rise nearly 3 meters (9.8 feet) by 2300, according to the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

14. And crossing certain "tipping points" -- such as the melting of Greenland's ice sheet -- could cause seas to rise much more dramatically in the long term.

15. If Greenland melts completely, which could happen in 140 years, according to "Six Degrees," by science writer Mark Lynas, then "Miami would disappear entirely, as would most of Manhattan." "Central London would be flooded. Bangkok, Bombay and Shanghai would also lose most of their area," he writes in that book. "In all, half of humanity would have to move to higher ground."

But here's the good news: All of these risks are lessened -- or eliminated -- if we stop burning fossil fuels and chopping down carbon-gulping forests. It's possible to address this crisis.

There are signs of hope.
This week, Germany's Angela Merkel, for example, pressed world leaders to boost their pledges to cut carbon emissions ahead of international negotiations.
The so-called "climate chancellor" wants industrialized countries to end fossil fuel use by 2100, according to The Guardian.

Future generations will judge our action, or lack thereof, harshly.
They'll have every right to do so.
Because we will help determine what the coasts -- and the world -- look like for centuries.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Map that misplaced Isles of Scilly and caused major maritime disaster to go on sale

The map that misplaced the Isles of Scilly

zoom -courtesy of MapSeeker-

From The Sunday Times by Richard Brooks, Arts Editor

A first-edition marine atlas from the late 17th century containing a map blamed for one of Britain’s worst maritime disasters is to go on sale.

The atlas was published by a naval captain and surveyor called Greenville Collins in 1693.

 An 18th-century engraving of the disaster, with HMS Association in the centre

Tragically, cartographers had wrongly positioned the Isles of Scilly, off the Cornish coast, by eight nautical miles, an error that contributed to the wrecking of four warships in October 1707, with the loss of more than 1,400 lives.

 A 18th century Chart (1750) of the Isles of Scilly and Land's End
from The British Coasting Pilot dedicated to Captain Greenville Collins.

 Scilly islands (UKHO chart) with the GeoGarage platform

The problem was compounded by the difficulty of finding positions at sea.
The disastrous wrecking of a Royal Navy fleet in home waters brought great consternation to the nation.
The main cause of the catastrophe has often been portrayed as the navigators' inability to accurately calculate their longitude.
Clearly, something better than dead reckoning was needed to find the way in dangerous waters. As transoceanic travel grew in significance, so did the importance of reliable navigation.
This eventually led to the Longitude Act in 1714, which established the Board of Longitude and offered large financial rewards for anyone who could find a method of determining longitude accurately at sea.
After many years, the consequence of the Act was that accurate marine chronometers were produced and the lunar distance method was developed, both of which became used throughout the world for navigation at sea.
However, it is not certain that the navigational error leading to the wrecking of Admiral Shovell's fleet was purely one of longitude, and no contemporary discussions are known that appear to have related the disaster to either navigation or longitude.
The Royal Navy conducted a court-martial of the officers of the Firebrand, who were acquitted, but no officers survived from the four lost ships, so no other courts-martial took place.
The Navy also conducted a survey of compasses from the surviving ships and of those at Chatham and Portsmouth dockyards, following comments from Sir William Jumper, captain of the Lenox, that errors in the compasses had caused the navigational error.
This showed what a poor state many were in; at Portmsouth, for example, only four of the 112 wooden cased compasses from nine of the returning vessels were found to be serviceable.
Some have argued that the disaster was in fact caused more by an error in latitude than in longitude.
According to contemporary reports, Shovell initially attempted to determine the fleet's position by astronomical observations and depth soundings before also consulting the sailing masters of his other ships.
Shovell's navigation officers believed that the fleet was at a position west of Ushant (48°27′29″N 5°05′44″W), except the sailing master of HMS Lenox who judged that they were nearer to the Isles of Scilly (49°56′10″N 6°19′22″W).
William May points out that the position of the Isles of Scilly themselves was not known accurately in either longitude or latitude.
In addition, his analysis of the 40 extant logbooks from the 21 ships in the fleet do not show the error in longitude to be a significant factor compared to latitude.

Such was the public outcry that the Longitude Act was passed in 1714, offering a huge reward to anyone who could find a simple and practical method for the precise determination of a ship’s longitude.
The problem was eventually solved by John Harrison, a self-educated carpenter and clockmaker, whose marine chronometer was able to calculate the longitude — or east-west position — of a ship at sea.

Marine Chronometer number 3 
John "Longitude" Harrison sea clockmaker

The story of Harrison, whose invention extended the possibility of safe long- distance sea travel, was told in Longitude, a bestselling book by Dava Sobel.

The atlas, which is being sold by map dealer Philip Burden at the London Map Fair this week, was originally owned by Edward Rigby, a naval captain forced to move to France after being jailed for propositioning a 19-year-old man for sex.
Burden bought it from the family of the late Lord Wardington, a bibliophile whose predecessors made money from banking.
Despite its historical value, the price tag is only £18,000 because the maps are in black and white.

Links :

Monday, June 15, 2015

After crash in Volvo Ocean Race, a team shifts its focus and an event changes its rules

Team Vestas Wind grounding on the Cargados Shoals

From NYTimes by Chris Museler

Even though Chris Nicholson entered the Volvo Ocean Race only two months before the start last October, his four races’ worth of experience made him a favorite in the around-the-world event.
He believed he could win.
 Team Vestas Wind is back in the race.
This is the movie that has been shown exclusively at our cinema in the Race Villages around the world, the full story from when Team Vestas Wind were shipwrecked in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
Nicholson, a champion sailor from Australia, had to recalibrate his aspirations after his Team Vestas Wind VOR 65 race boat crashed into a wave-swept reef in the Indian Ocean on the second leg of the race.
The crash tore off the back of the boat.
The team rebuilt the boat in four months and rejoined the fleet last weekend in Lisbon for the final two legs of the 39,000-nautical-mile race.

Chris Nicholson. Team Vestas Wind Skipper 
credit Brian Carlin

Nicholson’s second-place finish in Lorient, France, this week behind the all-women crew of Team SCA confirmed his high hopes for Team Vestas Wind’s return, although he said last week that two podium finishes would be bittersweet.
“Everyone on our team has a lot of pride,” Nicholson said the day before the start of this week’s race from Lisbon to Lorient.
“If we do show our potential, it will probably hurt even more, knowing we could have done well and had a chance to win the event.”

 Team Vestas Wind boat recovery

Team Abu Dhabi finished third in Lorient behind Team Vestas Wind, extending its overall lead in the race.
Lessons learned from the Vestas team’s accident have been put into effect in the race, and navigational improvements will probably make their way to the average boater in the future.
On Nov. 29, the boat was reaching nearly 20 miles per hour when it drove into the Cargados Carajos Shoals, an atoll 200 miles from Mauritius.
The crew of nine was unhurt and left stranded on the reef.
The stranded members were assisted by Team Alvimedica and were rescued after a harrowing night in breaking waves and razor-sharp coral.

It took a month for Vestas, the sponsor, to commit to rejoining the race.
The decision was made to painstakingly remove the mangled boat from the reef and rebuild it in half the original build time at Persico Marine in Genoa, Italy.
“We knew that our story could not end on that reef,” Morten Kamp Jorgensen, the team’s communications director, said in an interview this week.
“We reshuffled our budgets and organization. This was a race to ensure that Vestas will be remembered as a team that overcame challenges.”

Unbreakable : Team Vestas Wind navigator Wouter Verbraak has done a lot of soul-searching since the Indian Ocean grounding that changed his life, and he’s spent most of that time writing a book about it.  Cleverly scheduled for release just before the end of the VOR, the book promises to “inspire, provoke thought and entertain.” 
The book (pre-order here) details the disaster, the lessons learned with the benefit of hindsight; and the overlap with a commercial setting where the level of critical thinking mirrors that of an ocean racing navigator – the major decisions made and the subsequent decisions to ensure they stay the course.

The individual skill set, the importance of psychology and a strong mental edge in a team setting are fundamental to Wouter’s personal development; the ascent to the summit of ocean racing.
An equal among the world’s most sought after circumnavigators and strategists.
- courtesy of Sail Anarchy -

An inquiry into the accident revealed that the navigator, Wouter Verbraak, had not zoomed in enough on the boat’s navigation system to see the exposed reef.
Investigators found that “at different times the navigator zoomed in on the electronic chart and came to the same incorrect conclusion.”

World Map Coverage in C-Map of Cargados Carajos Shoals – what was presented on Adrena and Expedition software without the detailed C-Map dongle – 
the presentation the navigator had on his personal computer

Southern tip of Cargados Carajos Shoals – showing the chart by chart display on CMap/Expedition at Level C/0 Scale1: 328,066 and displaying a small segment of the larger scale chart

Since the inquiry, small changes have been made to the race’s rules.
Officials have said there will be more.
“We became more aware of the zoom levels, for sure,” the race’s director, Jack Lloyd, said in a phone interview from Lorient this week.

 The B&G Zeus 7 MFD chartplotter default world-coverage map does include a depiction of the Cargados Carajos Shoals.
When the navigator awoke after the grounding he went to the nav station and could clearly see the reef on the MFD and the boat next to it.

“We have recommended strongly that teams install different charting systems with more information. Each chart has what the manufacturer wants, but there are differences.”
Lloyd said that all navigators chose their own navigation software but that all the boats were provided with C-Map digital charts.
According to the inquiry, the Cargados Carajos Shoals were not seen at the most zoomed-out display level.
The race recommends that digital maps show reefs and islands at all levels of display, and Lloyd said the race was working with C-Map on such changes, which may eventually affect the average sailor.

Expedition/C-Map presentation of Cargados Carajos Shoals at Level B/0 (1:1.1million)
displaying the ‘Chart Bounds’ of the reef and dangers and the ‘Cautionary Areas’ marking the Territorial Sea

 Part of the large scale chart available on Expedition/C-Map – 
but was not available on the weather routing laptop with the Adrena software,
so the dangers of the Cargados Carajos Shoals would not have been visible 
on this second navigation system.

“We are also reassessing the level of competency on each boat,” said Lloyd, who has been the race director since 2008.
The accident highlighted the heavy reliance on electronic navigation, he said, although the race provides paper charts for all the seas the boats will be racing.
“But they’re stopping printing of paper charts, and some are quite old,” Lloyd said.
“Some say they are not accurate, but digital charts have problems, too.”

 A comparison between the detail shown on Expedition/C-Map Level A/0 1:3.3 million
and UKHO Chart 4702 Chagos to Madagascar 1: 3.5 million

Paper charts and the race-provided sextant are age-old navigation tools that are good backups, Lloyd said — if the sailors know how to use them.
“It’s funny; it’s a new way forward,” he said.
“We have to make sure the skills are there. There’s something useful about being able to spread out a whole chart of the Pacific and see every island.”

The ENC data quality feature.
An ECDIS screen shot of French ENC FR274880
Zoomed in on Cargados Carajos Shoals – with ZOC switched on displaying 4 stars ZOC B
at the reef and 2 stars ZOC D in surrounding ocean

 GeoGarage animation
with official ENCs (courtesy of 7SCs)

Nicholson is no stranger to high-seas calamity.
In the 2005-6 race, he tried to connect power to underwater bilge pumps before abandoning the sinking Spanish entry Movistar in the North Atlantic.
Nicholson said there were obvious technological changes to be made to help prevent the human error that had led to the grounding of Team Vestas Wind.
“There has to also be an impact on the boating community purely from the story of the accident,” he said.
“The sheer example of it will help prevent these accidents.”
Nicholson said he still felt pressure in the race, even though a top-three finish was out of reach.
“But that goes with the territory,” he said.
“I don’t think we can have more pressure during the race than we had getting the boat here.”

Links :

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Helicopter lands on ship in ridiculously rough weather

This helicopter landing will have you at the edge of your seat.
The ship itself is bobbing in the water like a cork, but the expert crew doesn’t even flinch.