Saturday, July 15, 2017

Whales tranquility

Whale vs Dolphin Pack = Tranquility...

Paddle Boarding with Whales, Esperance Australia

Did you ever imagine the sperm whales sleeping? How would that look like..?
If you still can’t picture that, then let the Swiss photographer Franco Banfi help you out.
Recently Franco snapped an extremely rare shot of a group of sperm whales in their sleep.
He and a team of scuba divers were following the pack in the Caribbean Sea, near Dominica Island, when suddenly the whales stopped moving and went into a synchronized vertical rest.
This behavior was first documented only back in 2008, when a team of biologists from the UK and Japan drifted into a group of stationary sperm whales.
After studying tagged whales the team found out that this collective nap occurs for approximately 7 percent of the whale’s life, in short stretches of just 6-24 minutes.
Franco’s photo “Flying Over the Sleepers” was a finalist in the 2017 Big Picture Competition in the category of Human/Nature.

Friday, July 14, 2017

NZ Linz layer update in the GeoGarage platform

1957 Coast Guard cutters around the continent North West Passage

This summer marks the 60th anniversary of the three Coast Guard cutters and one Canadian ship that convoyed through the Northwest Passage.
The crews of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutters Storis, SPAR and Bramble, along with the crew of the Canadian ice breaker HMCS Labrador, charted, recorded water depths and installed aids to navigation for future shipping lanes from May to September of 1957.
All four crews became the first deep-draft ships to sail through the Northwest Passage, which are several passageways through the complex archipelago of the Canadian Arctic.

This 1958 film documents the first successful transit through the Northwest Passage by the Coast Guard cutters Bramble, USCGC Spar (WLB-403) and USCGC Storis (WMEC-38).
These vessels were selected to attempt a forced passage along the northern shore of Canada from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean.
During the 1950's anti-communism had been on the rise.
By 1952, then-candidate and former WWII-hero Dwight Eisenhower ran a campaign for Presidency against "Communism, Korea and Corruption".
When he won the Presidency in 1954 he signed a bill into law creating the Distance Early Warning (DEW) line.
Comprising of 58 radar sites, approximately 100 miles apart across the northern slope of Alaska, Canada a Greenland these stations would provide the US early warning from Russian aerial attacks coming over the North Pole.
Because a deep-water draft channel had never before been found across the Northwest Passage to resupply DEW Line stations, the STORIS along with Cutters BRAMBLE and SPAR were tasked with finding one.
Magnetic fluxations and over 450 years of failed efforts had prevented this to have been accomplished up this that point in time.
On July 1, 1957 the Cutters STORIS, BRAMBLE and SPAR departed Seattle in order to conquer the Northwest Passage.

Preparations for the difficult voyage (as seen in the film) included fitting Bramble with a stainless steel propeller and strengthening her bow to withstand tremendous pressures created by the Arctic ice pack.
Bramble departed for this historic adventure from Miami on 24 May 1957 en route Seattle, Washington via the Panama Canal.
On 1 July 1957 the task force departed Seattle for the Atlantic via the Bering Straits and Arctic Ocean.
The ships traveled through 4,500 nautical miles (8,330 km) of semi-charted water in 64 days to recross the Arctic Circle into the Atlantic.
The success of the mission distinguished the three cutters as the first American surface ships to circumnavigate the North American continent.
On 2 December 1957 Bramble returned to Miami.

The Northwest Passage is actually several passageways through the complex archipelago of the Canadian Arctic.
According to Robert K. Headland of the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, England, seven different routes connect the Atlantic and Pacific oceans by way of these icy seas.
The pursuit of the passage had killed scores of sailors and destroyed some of the most famous vessels in the history of exploration.

USCGC Bramble (WLB-392) is one of the 39 original 180-foot (55 m) seagoing buoy tenders built between 1942-1944 for the United States Coast Guard.
Bramble is currently a museum ship, part of Port Huron Museum, located in Port Huron, Michigan.
She will be closed to the public effective August 14, 2011, owing to a lack of funds.
The Port Huron Museum hopes to sell the Bramble for $300,000.

The ship was built by the Zenith Dredge Company in Duluth, Minnesota. Bramble's preliminary design was completed by the United States Lighthouse Service and the final design was produced by Marine Iron and Shipbuilding Corporation in Duluth.
On 2 August 1943 the keel was laid, she was launched on 23 October 1943 and commissioned on 22 April 1944.
The original cost for the hull and machinery was $925,464.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

How small island states are transforming themselves into big ocean powers

 In a fragile ecosystem, how do you conserve limited resources for future generations?
That's the question that the small Pacific island nation of Palau is grappling with as it tries to combat illegal fishing.
The country's rich marine ecosystem is now at risk, as boats from Southeast Asia venture farther into its crystalline waters in search of tuna and other prized fish.
Watch part one of our two-part series, "Sea Change," a Great Big Film by our friends at Vacationland.

From Newsdeeply  by Todd Woody

South Pacific nations that control large areas of the ocean are creating huge marine reserves to combat illegal fishing, protect coral reefs and ensure the survival of ancient cultures.

At a mere 8 square miles (21 square km), the South Pacific island nation of Nauru – population 10,000 – ranks as the smallest member of the United Nations by land area.

 Nauru island with the GeoGarage platform (Linz chart)

Yet Nauru controls 119,000 square miles (308,480 square km) of the surrounding ocean designated as its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), including some of the Pacific’s richest tuna fishing grounds.
To the southeast, the Cook Islands’ 21,000 citizens manage 734,000 square miles of tropical ocean, while to the northeast, Kiribati’s EEZ consists of 1.3million square miles of the sea surrounding the nation’s 33 coral atolls.

“We are 99.99 percent ocean,” Nauru’s ambassador to the U.N., Marlene Moses, said at the recent U.N.Ocean Conference.
“We are ocean people. We are the custodians of the biggest ocean mass in the world. We call ourselves big ocean states, the boss.”

The South Pacific’s so-called small island developing states are increasingly taking the lead in fighting overfishing, plastic pollution and climate change by creating large marine protected areas and working together to leverage their control of huge swaths of the Pacific.

If international climate change negotiations dominated by the United States, China and Europe often left island states on the sidelines, the Pacific nations drove the first-ever U.N. Ocean Conference earlier this month.
More than 4,000 national leaders, diplomats, scientists, advocates and business executives convened in New York to hammer out strategies to implement Sustainable Development Goal 14, which sets targets to curtail illegal fishing, reduce plastic pollution, protect 10 percent of the ocean in marine reserves by 2020, and reduce the impact of ocean acidification.

“We’re here to project our voices and protect our interests,” said Moses.
“The ocean is our interest, the ocean is our livelihood, and we will continue to do everything that we can in our power, regardless of how small we are, to ensure that we have a resilient ocean, and that it continue to be productive for us and for future generations.”

Rising sea levels, ocean acidification, overfishing and plastic pollution pose existential threats to island nations dependent on tourism and fishing, and whose culture is intimately tied to the sea.
Bleaching events triggered by warming ocean temperatures have killed coral reefs across the Pacific home to 25 percent of the planet’s fish species.
The incursion of industrial fishing fleets into the high seas of the South Pacific and the territorial waters of island states has decimated commercial fish stocks.
And remote islands are increasingly awash in plastic trash.

“With over 75 percent of our fish stocks exploited, overexploited or collapsed, fish populations are much smaller in terms of number of schools and number of fish,” Palau’s president, Tommy Remengesau, told a gathering of South Pacific leaders and fisheries experts at the U.N.conference earlier this month.
“If we continue this way, the future is unsustainable for fishing and tourism.”

Palau, with a population of 21,000, is in the process of designating a marine sanctuary that will ban fishing in 80 percent of its 234,000-square-mile EEZ.
Only small-scale “artisanal” fishing will be permitted in the remaining 20 percent.

 Palau with the GeoGarage platform (SHOM chart)

Cook Islands, meanwhile, is moving to transform its entire 734,000-square-mile EEZ into a protected marine sanctuary that will run, in Prime Minister Henry Puna’s words, “from ridge to reef and reef to ocean.”
“We had a vision to turn our little country into the cleanest and greenest tourist destination in the whole wide world,” Puna said at a panel on creating large marine protected areas.
“As ocean voyagers we have always treated the ocean with respect from time immemorial. This is an integral part of our culture.”

Cook islands with the GeoGarage platform (SHOM chart)

A growing body of scientific evidence shows that establishing large marine protected areas allow fish stocks to recover, protects coral reefs, and can reduce the impacts of climate change, providing both environmental and economic benefits.
The concept is also rooted in an ancient tradition shared across the Pacific – called rāhui in some cultures – where priests would ban fishing in certain areas to allow stocks to recover.

 A tuna fisher with his catch on Rapa Nui (Easter Island).
(Franco Barbagallo)

Eight Pacific island nations control about a third of the global tuna supply and 60 percent of tuna in the central and western Pacific.
In 2010, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu signed the Nauru Agreement to promote more sustainable fishing by restricting the take of tuna in their EEZs and banning destructive fishing practices.

The Nauru Agreement could serve as a model for other cooperative efforts by Pacific island states to protect the ocean, according to Seth Horstmeyer, a director of the Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy project at the Pew Charitable Trusts who works closely with Pacific island governments on marine protection issues.
“Countries that have large EEZs aren’t getting a lot of benefit from foreign fisheries,” he told Oceans Deeply.
“Most of the fish caught in Palau were exported, and fishing money doesn’t really travel through the economy as much as tourism dollars do.
Island nations are really leading the way on ocean protection.”

 Sixty percent of the world's tuna comes from the western and central Pacific Ocean.
And while the small island nation of Palau is leading the way in developing a sustainable seafood supply, there's still work to do.
Roughly one-third of the catch from Palau's long-line fisheries are non-target species, meaning that millions of turtles, dolphins, rays and sharks end up as "road kill" on the undersea highway.
The challenge for the island's seafood industry is balancing catch levels with conservation efforts.
Watch part two of our Great Big Film, "Sea Change," by our friends at Vacationland.

With the U.S. and China maintaining a low profile at the U.N. Ocean Conference, island nations stepped up to make “voluntary commitments” to take specific actions to achieve the sustainable development goals.
French Polynesia, for instance, committed to transform its 1.9 million-square-mile (5 million square km) EEZ into a marine managed area “to sustainably use our marine environment and its resources for our current and future generations.”
Indonesia, meanwhile, pledged to spend $1 billion (financed by Denmark) to slash plastic debris 70 percent by 2025.
The country also announced it would make available location data for its entire commercial fleet in a first-of-its-kind move designed to encourage other nations to do the same so illegal fishing can be better tracked.

Indonesia also has taken a more direct approach to fighting illegal fishing: blowing up unauthorized boats caught in its waters.
“Since 2014, we have had an increase of 6 million tons of sustainable catch worth $1 billion,” Susi Pudjiastuti, Indonesia’s Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said in May at a conference in Washington, D.C.
“It only cost $8 million to blow up illegal fishing boats so combating illegal fishing is a very profitable business.”

Horstmeyer said cash-strapped Pacific island nations face challenges in enforcing fishing bans in large marine protected areas, though tracking and data technologies have made it easier to remotely catch rogue fishers.
As Ambassador Moses of Nauru noted, “You can drive around Nauru in less than 30 minutes.
Monitoring and protecting an ocean that is 15,000 times the size of your land mass takes more than 30 minutes. We need support and help.”

Links :

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

How to update charts using our new Notices to Mariners tracings

From Admiralty

ADMIRALTY Notices to Mariners (NMs) are designed to help you update your ADMIRALTY Standard Nautical Charts (SNCs) and ensure they contain the latest safety critical information.

Our NM tracings are a key part of this service as they allow you to quickly pin-point the position of any updates and accurately apply them to your nautical charts.

On 10 July we released a new tracing style that will make these updates easier to understand and apply to your portfolio of charts.

How have the latest Notices to Mariners Tracings changed?

We have changed the way we present updates on the tracing itself.
For example, all information that needs to be inserted will now be shown in its exact position, rather than appearing in a box​ and arrowed in.
Below we've included examples of these changes.


All information that needs to be deleted will be shown with double strike through alongside a deletion symbol.
Previously this information may have been boxed or hatched.

An example of information that needs to be deleted


All information that needs to be inserted will now be shown in its exact position on the tracing in relation to the chart.
Previously this information was boxed, with its position shown as a small circle with a dot at the centre.

An example of information that needs to be inserted

Replace or Amend

Any new features will now be shown in its true position on the tracing and will be accompanied by the words 'in lieu'.
Previously any information that needed to be amended would have featured a double strike though with new information arrowed 'in lieu'.

An example of information that needs to be replaced or amended


Any information to be moved will be shown in its new position with an arrow drawn from its existing position.

An example of information that needs to be moved

To help you recognise these new notations and use the new tracings, we have updated our 'How to update you Standard Nautical Chart' support films to include the latest tracing styles, as well as guidance on chart correction best practice.

Watch our 'How to update Standard Nautical Charts (SNCs) films >​

We also have a number of guidance documents that are available on the SNC page support tab and our Maritime Safety Information pages.
These​​ include the Quick Guide to the Notices to Mariners Tracings and our overview of the latest tracing changes.​
​​Download the Quick Guide to the Notices to Mariners Tracings >​
Download our overview of the Notices to Mariners Tracings >​

Germany BSH layer update in the GeoGarage platform

23 new nautical raster charts added & 14 charts updated
see GeoGarage news

 new charts

Giant iceberg in the making

 Breaking news! 
The iceberg has fully detached from Larsen C

From ESA

All eyes are on Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf as a deep crack continues to cut across the ice, leaving a huge chunk clinging on.

 NASA June 29

Sentinel-1B (July 12th) / (July 6th)


When it eventually gives way, one of the largest icebergs on record will be set adrift.
Even before the inevitable happens, ESA’s CryoSat mission can reveal some of the future berg’s vital statistics.

 Historical iceberg tracks
Six different satellite scatterometers are used to track icebergs around Antarctica.
The image shows iceberg tracks from 1999 to 2010.

Monitored by the Copernicus Sentinel-1 radar pair, the crack in the ice is now around 200 km long, leaving just 5 km between the end of the fissure and the ocean.
While we wait for Sentinel-1 to tell us when this 6000 sq km iceberg is spawned, CryoSat can reveal what the berg’s measurements will be.

Larsen C in the GeoGarage platform (UKHO charts)

This Earth Explorer satellite carries a radar altimeter to measure the height of the ice surface.
In general, this information is used to work out how the thickness of sea ice and land ice is changing and, consequently, how the volume of Earth’s ice is being affected by the climate.

Noel Gourmelen from the University of Edinburgh said, “Using information from CryoSat, we have mapped the elevation of the ice above the ocean and worked out that the eventual iceberg will be about 190 m thick and contain about 1155 cubic kilometres of ice.
“We have also estimated that the depth below sea level could be as much as 210 m.”

 British Antarctic Survey (BAS) recently captured this video footage of a huge crack
in the Larsen C Ice Shelf, on the Antarctic Peninsula.

Icebergs calve from Antarctica all the time, but because this one is particularly large its path across the ocean needs to be monitored as it could pose a hazard to maritime traffic.
Again, Sentinel-1 and CryoSat will play an important role in tracking the berg and keeping an eye on how it changes.
Dr Gourmelen added, “We will continue to use CryoSat to monitor how the berg changes as it drifts away from the ice shelf.”

UAV (unmanned airborne vehicle) flight along a crack in the Brunt Ice Shelf, which appeared.
This was detected by scientists in October 2016.

A berg, similar in size, drifted around the Brunt ice shelf in December 2015, causing alarm for those stationed at the Halley research base, which sits on the floating section of the shelf.

Anna Hogg from the University of Leeds said, “Measurements from CryoSat showed that the Brunt berg was around 390 m, so too thick to come close to ‘shore’ since the sea is shallow here.
“As for this new Larsen C berg, we are not sure what will happen. It could, in fact, even calve in pieces or break up shortly after. Whole or in pieces, ocean currents could drag it north, even as far as the Falkland Islands. If so it could pose a hazard for ships in Drake Passage.
“What is certain, though, is that we shall continue to use CryoSat to keep a check on its progress.”

ESA’s CryoSat mission measured the depth of the crack in the Larsen C ice shelf, which led to the birth of one of the largest icebergs on record.
Carrying a radar altimeter to measure the surface height and thickness of the ice, the mission revealed that the crack was several tens of metres deep.
(ESA released 06/07/2017)

ESA’s Mark Drinkwater added, “Our historical effort to track large icebergs shows that those from the western Weddell Sea find their way out into the Antarctic Circumpolar Current or into the South Atlantic.
“It seems that only bergs from the Ross ice shelf stay in the westward coastal current and come close to Brunt ice shelf.”

The main purpose of CryoSat is to give us information to understand how ice is changing to improve our understanding of Earth.
The value of having satellites built to deliver for science and missions like Sentinel-1, which are built to deliver for everyday applications, is enormous.

In this case, the Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission and the ESA Earth Explorer CryoSat mission complement each other, giving us a powerful tool to monitor changing ice sheets.

Links :

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

What drones and other new technologies mean to the future of marine surveys

With an impressive track record of supporting maritime customers, the Schiebel Camcopter S-100 system has meanwhile been successfully proven on over 30 different vessels on all the world’s oceans, demonstrating its outstanding capabilities day and night, in all weather conditions, a proven track record that is unmatched.
It is currently deployed with a number of important naval clients in conventional littoral reconnaissance roles; however, the Schiebel Camcopter S-100 has likewise proven to be hugely successful in the Search and Rescue role.
Working with the NGO Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) in the Mediterranean, around 25 000 migrants have been found and rescued since 2014.

From HandyShippingGuide

How modern methods apply both above and below the waterline

The Handy Shipping Guide has written multiple times on the potential use of drones and unmanned aerial vehicles by the freight and logistics industry.
Though many of these schemes go beyond science fiction into what can only be categorized as bizarre, there is no denying that use of these machines has a potentially revolutionary influence on aspects of the industry that might not get much of the limelight, but are of critical importance in the efficient and economic conduct of the industry.
Today we have here the views of Martek Marine in a piece examining how Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) are finding ever greater uses in field of marine surveying and how this is impacting on ship operators and the maritime industry.

Martek Marine is a major player in maritime drone applications.
The company are currently working with a number of major classification societies, flag administrations and major ship operators helping them develop/refine their own UAS strategies to revolutionise their business and disrupt the market.

The company has been awarded a 2-year Remotely Piloted Aircraft Services (RPAS) contract from the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) as part of the world’s largest ever civilian maritime drone contract.
The company had been awarded a previous €10 million contract by EMSA for ship engine emission monitoring using RPAS in November 2016.
Reducing costs, enhancing processes, boosting safety and removing access challenges, these are just some of the benefits which these unmanned aerial devices more commonly known as drones can bring to the party.

Originally developed for government and military use, as drone technology has progressed, UAS have been adapted to suit a wider range of applications and have grown in popularity within a relatively short space of time.
Offering such a wide range of benefits, it’s not surprising that drones are now a staple of the marine industry.
The extent to which drones are used in maritime applications is extensive and is now expected to surpass that of the defence industry within the next 5 years.

The largest ever civilian maritime drone contact, valued at €67 million was issued in January 2017 by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA).
Drones will play a pivotal role in border control activities, search and rescue operations and monitoring of pollution, as well as the detection of illegal fishing and drug and people trafficking.
The maritime drone industry is gathering momentum fast and drones used in marine surveying are at the heart of the revolution.
So, how are drones used in maritime surveying and what does the future hold for drones within the industry?

 In the context of its Naval Innovation Days, DCNS has successfully achieved the coordinated deployment of three types of drone, underwater, airborne and surface, thanks to its I4®Drones mission system.

It is the first time in Europe that a company has organized and implemented such a successful end-to-end performance.
During this demonstration, it was possible to detect a suspect vessel, which was identified and neutralized in less than twenty minutes.

Cargo tank and hold inspections

In years gone by, regular visual inspections of cargo tanks and holds were performed by a person suspended on ropes to inspect the structure.
Visual inspections focus on areas of high stress such as; stiffeners; brackets; bracing; webs and stringers and assessment of the coating condition and corrosion and damage within the tank.
The sheer size of modern-day seafaring vessels however, means that access methods including staging, rafting and climbing are often used by surveyors to access tanks in order to carry out these observations.

Costly set-up, long inspection times and a high level of personal risk for the worker are all drawbacks of traditional inspection methods.
For the surveyor, inspections typically involve high rope access, working within a confined space and often for extended periods of time.
In contrast, drone surveys have revolutionised the demanding task of inspecting ships' cargo tanks/holds.
Before long, inspectors will wonder how they ever coped without drones in this compelling application of disruptive technology.

It's all been made possible by the development of UAS designed specifically for this purpose.
Unique collision tolerant drones come complete with cameras and an integral lighting system.
The systems can deliver a full HD video, along with still images for inspections in minutes, without the need for personnel entry into the tank or hold.
Gone are the days wasting large amounts of time and money on staging and rafting, whilst exposing operators to major & unnecessary risks.
UAS surveys slash the time to carry out cargo tank/hold inspections and offer high quality reports safely and typically at a fraction of the price ship owners are used to paying.

Another key advantage to ship owners, is that by using a drone as opposed to conventional staging inside the tank, the risk of damage to the coating from staging is eliminated.
Thanks to these benefits, tank surveys using drones are becoming increasingly popular and drone surveys are offered on all large internal tanks, on vessels such as Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) units, bulk carriers and tankers.
The largest players in the industry are already benefitting from UAS inspections; Chevron, DNV-GL, Maersk and BP to name but a few and it’s only a matter of time before others follow suit.

External vessel inspections

DNV-GL, Lloyds Register & Maersk have all shown strategic intent to dramatically overhaul their operations by investing heavily in UAS technology and many other maritime operators are doing the same.
Traditional methods of external vessel inspection can be expensive.
Now that high definition, camera-equipped drones are widely available and at a more competitive price, using them for external vessel is a sensible option.
Identifying substantial corrosion, significant deformation, fractures, damage, or other structural deterioration can be done quickly, easily and cost-effectively.

External inspection involves a primary screening of the vessel by the drone.
This identifies any Points of Interest (POI) that require closer inspection, without the need for any access equipment.
To do this, the drone is flown over the surface of the vessel using an automatic flight control system controlled by a human pilot.
The drone automatically captures survey data, such as video and high-resolution images during the flight.
The survey data, in addition to payload data, is then transmitted to the system user, who then reviews the information to check for defects on the vessel’s exterior, such as peeling paintwork and dents.

Acquiring data for external inspections takes a fraction of the time when compared against traditional methods and vessel downtime for inspection is greatly reduced.

Airborne Bathymetric Solutions
Airborne bathymetric LiDAR sensors provide seamless data
from water to land and seafloor coverage of up to 50 m water penetration. 
(courtesy of Leica Geosystems)

Bathymetric survey via adapted LIDAR

Bathymetric surveys gather important information about the features of water bodies and their shorelines which is fundamental to navigational safety.
The information is then published for use on nautical charts, meaning it’s absolutely critical that this information is accurate and remains up to date.

By measuring the time delay between the transmission of a pulse and its return signal, bathymetric Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR), the same technology which many autonomous road vehicles employ, here is used to determine water depth.
Analysis of these pulses is used to establish shoreline elevations too and is especially useful when shorelines are complex and rugged, where surface vessels cannot operate efficiently or safely due to rocks, kelp or breaking waves.

A three-point sextant, fixed to mapped reference points on shore was formerly the method used by surveyors to aid navigation.
Again the process was labour intensive and time-consuming and whilst the measured depths were accurate, they were often limited in number.
Information between the soundings was missing, meaning seafarers would often be unaware of features on the sea bed and would not have the accurate depth information required for a safe voyage.

Bathymetric surveys come at a high price nowadays.
A LIDAR system will typically cost around € 880,000, not including the fixed wing aeroplane or helicopter to fly it.
Bathymetric sensors developed for UAS are an emerging technology, allowing this type of survey to be carried out flexibly and at a fraction of the cost.
Accurate data concerning bathymetry as well as environmental conditions in shallow waters, can now be acquired using these specialist sensors integrated into UAS.

The latest technology has been developed to withstand storm force winds and heavy rain, snow and salt spray and, as technology advances, so does the duration of flight times, meaning more area can be covered in a smaller timeframe.
UAS technology is therefore transforming bathymetric surveys.
Maritime safety is drastically improved thanks to faster turnaround times and advanced data which enables more accurate and detailed nautical charts.

The future of maritime surveying

As the development of new drone technology gathers pace, leading drone experts are suggesting that fully autonomous drones are the ‘next big thing’ coming our way when it comes to maritime surveying.
As an advance this is really not dissimilar at all to a commercial jet flying on autopilot.
Fully autonomous drones are pre-equipped with a 3D model of the vessel which allows the drone to independently work its way around the ship, stopping at points of interest to obtain more detailed video, or image data.
Moving forwards, it would not be unrealistic to think that a UAS will be designed to create its own 3D map of the ship, before carrying out the survey independently, without any human input.

To quote Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway: “Every once in a while, a new technology, an old problem, and a big idea turn into an innovation.”

Links :

Monday, July 10, 2017

AMSA: How to identify official nautical charts

AHS Australian Hydrographic Office RNCs catalogue (Aus paper charts)
on the GeoGarage platform


The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) issued a marine notice, in order to draw attention to the importance of using only official nautical charts to comply with flag State requirements, under Chapter V of the amended International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).

As AMSA continues to witness the use of unofficial paper and electronic nautical charts on board ships, it outlines that official charts are those issued by or on the authority of a government, authorised hydrographic office or other relevant government institution.

Marine Notice 2017/06 Official Nautical Charts :  pdf / html

AMSA notes that for an Electronic Navigational Chart (ENC) or paper nautical chart to be considered adequate for navigational purposes, it must be:
  • issued officially
  • of appropriate scale, suitable for the navigational task at hand
  • of the latest edition
  • used in its original form, and
  • maintained up-to-date, using the latest available notices to mariners or ENC update service

Unofficial electronic chart with reef, islands and obstructions missing.
Incorrect depth areas and contours result in an incorrect and unreliable safety depth contour
(defaulting to 200m instead of the missing 30m contour incorrectly suggests all lesser depthsare highlighted).
Note that the 11m obstruction is one of several not highlighted, the 15m obstruction is missing and a false 10m shoal appears to have been added.
(C-Map vector digital chart)

On the other hand, unofficial paper charts include (but are not limited) to:
  • photocopies
  • facsimiles or imitations of official paper charts
  • large format commercial printed copies of scanned ENC, and
  • paper charts ‘assembled’ by printing several small portions of a Raster Navigational Chart (RNC) 

Same area (Cargados Carajos shoals) with official raster chart from SHOM from the GeoGarage platform.
Official RNC with reef, islands, obstructions and depths all displayed correctly.
Safety depth contour includes all dangers to navigating.

AMSA urges ship owners, operators, agents and masters to contact AHS, if they suspect that an ‘AUS’ paper or raster chart or an ‘AU’ ENC is not genuine, and provide relevant details.
AHS will actively seek to stop the production and sale of unofficial copies of AHS products.
AMSA also reminds that the carriage of up-todate nautical charts is critical to the safety of navigation, so it urges all purchasers, users, marine surveyors and recognised organisations to be vigilant in identifying unofficial nautical charts.

Links : 

New island appears off U.S. coast

A new island has emerged off North Carolina's Cape Hatteras, with speed that has surprised observers and tourists alike.
Photograph by Chad Koczera

From National Geographic by

The sandy beach is littered with whale bones and ribs of old shipwrecks.

It appeared out of nowhere in April just off North Carolina's Outer Banks—a new land mass poking through the surf, a brand new Atlantic Ocean island.

Along this dynamic stretch of sea, where the cold, southbound Labrador Current churns and crashes into warmer Gulf Stream waters, it is not unusual for patches of ground to emerge and then quickly subside.
These are, after all, some of North America's roughest waters, a shallow region of swirling tides, hidden shoals, and harsh winds known to sailors as the Graveyard of the Atlantic.

 Shelly Island. Born Spring 2017.
She's over 1 mile long, 500 feet long, (and growing)
and located just off Cape Point in Hatteras, NC

Yet even for this place, this new formation is of a scale rarely seen.
The crescent-shaped spit is close to a mile long.
At its widest point, this island reaches a football field or more across.

"It's a hoss," says Danny Couch, 57, a local historian, tour guide and lifelong resident of nearby Hatteras Island.
"Every 10 to 15 years we'll get something that's pretty dramatic. But this one is the largest one I've seen in my lifetime." (Learn about the fight to save a nearby iconic lighthouse.)

Shelly island birth view with the GeoGarage platform
off the tip of Cap Point

Not Exactly Paradise

The appearance of this new island is drawing attention from coast to coast, though experts warn that it's surrounded by dangerous currents.
Whale bones poke through its sands, along with the ribs of old shipwrecks.
Beautiful seashells dot its beaches.
The ripping seas separating it from the rest of Cape Hatteras National Seashore have brought in sand tiger sharks and "oceanic manta rays the size of car hoods," Couch says.

"It's unusually large compared to what we've been seeing in recent decades," says Dave Hallac, superintendent of Cape Hatteras National Seashore and the Outer Banks Group. "But if you put this in geological perspective, it's nothing really."

In fact, for people who understand the transitory nature of this place, what happens next seems almost preordained.
This land mass could be gone with the next storm, or this island could get bigger for awhile longer—but probably only for a short time.

Hallac, Couch, and several other experts agree: the new landmass some have taken to calling Shelly Island will almost certainly be wiped out within the year.
(The island was named by a young boy after the many shells visible there.)

"Nothing here becomes a fixture," says Stanley Riggs, a retired geology professor and author who has written books about North Carolina's coast.
"Nothing is the same from one hour to the next. There's no such thing as 'normal.' "

Adds Couch, "Everything here can change overnight. That's what makes it so amazing."
(Learn more about the perilous nature of the Outer Banks.)

The Outer Banks are known for rapidly shifting sands, thanks to high-energy wind and waves. Photograph by Chad Koczera

Birth of an Island

When people first started noticing the sandy ground rising through the water across the surf from Cape Point, authorities didn't pay much heed, says Mark Dowdle, deputy superintendent of Cape Hatteras.
That's just the way things here work.
"It's just part of the natural process," Dowdle says.
"I've seen parts of the Outer Banks erode for months, only to then fill back in again."

And Voila: An Island Emerges
(courtesy of Planet)

In some areas, storms and rising seas tend to eat away at beaches.
In others, they actually add sand. (Watch a volcano form a new island.)

"You get lots of energy, lots of storms, lots of turmoil, lots of complex and dynamic currents," says Riggs.
"The land to the north is skinny, skinny skinny, so skinny you can throw a baseball across it. To the south are some of the few beaches in North Carolina that're actually growing."

All this ferocious change comes to a head near Cape Point, which is just 10 miles or so from the edge of the continental shelf and the place where the Labrador and Gulf Stream meet.
As a result, there's never really any telling what sea here will do to land.
(See surreal photos of a landscape formed by megafloods.)

In the 1950s, for example, a Cape Point campground was separated from the water by little more than a sand dune.
Today those some campsites are a good quarter mile from the sea.

"There are times when we've had hurricanes or tropical storms where certain sections of the beach just start to disappear," says Superintendent Hallac.
"In other sections, I'll see something sticking out of the sand and realize it was the top of a sign that had been standing at eye level."

The only thing you can count on here is the beauty and surprise that comes with impermanence.
"I suspect it will continue to change," Dowdle says.
"It always has. It most likely always will."

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Sunday, July 9, 2017

Wonders of the Sea 3D teaser

Wonders of the Sea Teaser from 3D Entertainment Films
First footage from 3D doc filmed over three years from Fiji to the Bahamas, with the aim to discover the ocean as never before seen and learn more about the threats that put it at risk.