Saturday, December 22, 2018

Image of the week : an island disappears

September 11, 2018

October 13, 2018

From NASA by Kasha Patel

It’s not often that an island disappears off the map, but that’s just what happened in October 2018.
A remote but ecologically important island was lost to the sea in the wake of one of the most intense hurricanes on record for the North Pacific.

Around October 3, Hurricane Walaka passed the Hawaiian Islands, including an archipelago about 900 kilometers (550 miles) northwest of Honolulu known as the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.
Strong surges from Walaka inundated the shallow islets, one of which has been almost completely reclaimed by the ocean.

The Operational Land Imager on Landsat 8 captured these natural-color images of East Island on September 11 (left) and October 13, 2018 (right).
The storm washed away the 11-acre strip of sand and gravel, and only two slivers of land have re-emerged since the hurricane struck.
Storm surges also deposited sand and debris across Tern Island, which is northwest of East Island.

 Localization of East Island with the GeoGarage platform
(satellite image from Google imagery still showing the island)

East Island is part of the French Frigate Shoals, one of the most significant coral reef systems in Papahānaumokuākea.
The archipelago formed millions of years ago when a deep-sea “hotspot” created underwater volcanoes, which eventually rose to the ocean’s surface to became islands.

While East Island was uninhabited by people, it provided nesting grounds for the threatened Hawaiian green sea turtles and pupping grounds for endangered monk seals, of which there are only 1,400 in the world.
Scientists believe many of the animals had already left the island before the hurricane hit because it was the end of turtle and seal breeding season.
However, unhatched turtle nests were likely affected. Researchers must wait until next year to return to the islets for a more extensive survey of the impact on wildlife.

In the meantime, a marine debris team worked within the Monument zone in early November to remove more than 160,000 pounds of lost or abandoned fishing nets and plastic that could endanger marine animals.

East Island is not the first island to disappear from the French Frigate Shoals.
Whale-Skate Islet was lost to erosion in the 1990s, while Trig Island eroded earlier in 2018—a common occurrence in sand-dominated ecosystems.
Scientists believe the mammals adapted to the ecosystem changes at Whale-Skate and Trig by finding new breeding locations, so they expect the same to happen now that East Island is gone.

Links :

Friday, December 21, 2018

Huge reserves protect underwater mountains, endangered sea life

NGM maps
source : Administracio de Parques Nacionales de Argentina

From National Geographic by Sarah Gibbens

Argentina's government has voted to create two new marine parks that cover an area the size of Hungary.

TWO NEW MARINE parks that together make up an area the size of Hungary have been created in the South Atlantic Ocean.

One is called Yaganes and is located just off the southern tip of Argentina—a spot nicknamed “the end of the world.”
The other, Namuncurá-Burdwood Bank II, is in the South Atlantic. Together, they make up 37,000 square miles of marine protected areas (MPAs) teeming with sea creatures, many of which are classified as threatened species.

Portions of these new MPAs have remained pristine by default of their remoteness, and the Argentine government’s decision to protect them ensures that the marine ecosystems will stay that way. Conservationists are hoping this move signals a shift toward stronger conservation measures in the country.
Not only because the decision designates more protected territory, but also because it comes with a legal framework to enforce the new restrictions.

“It's much more than creating two national parks,” says Sofia Heinonen, president of Fundación Flora y Fauna Argentina, an environmental group that led a campaign in favor of the new marine parks. “This also creates the basis for the next one.”

Sea conservation timeline for Argentina

Why is this part of the sea so special?

Previously, Argentina's marine parks were managed by the same government department that manages its fisheries, which are open to commercial interests.
This left little funding to stop illegal activity in the parks that could undermine bans on extractive activities like fishing there.
An earlier Argentine MPA called Namuncurá-Burdwood Bank I, created in 2013, had weak oversight.
A legal framework to manage the park wasn’t passed until 2015, and Argentina’s National Parks Administration didn’t gain control until 2017.

At the same time, according to local media outlets, fishing pressure has increased immediately south of Argentina in recent years.
So in an attempt to protect Argentina’s waters, the National Geographic Society partnered with the Forum for the Conservation of the Patagonian Sea and local governments to survey the region.
The goal was to assess the health of the marine ecosystems known for their impressive biodiversity.

“We wrote very comprehensive scientific reports that supported the immense ecological value of this area and the need for protection,” says Alex Muñoz, the leader of the Latin American arm of National Geographic's Pristine Seas program.
And earlier this year, Fundación Flora y Fauna Argentina and the National Geographic Society received part of a record $1 billion donation made by the conservation-focused Wyss Foundation to groups working to create natural reserves like marine protected areas and national parks.

Yaganes y Burdwood2 new MPAs

During National Geographic’s recent exploration of Yaganes and Namuncurá-Burdwood Bank, researchers and photographers maneuvered cameras more than 6,000 feet below the surface.
They found underwater mountain ranges and deep-sea canyons home to an impressive array of diversity. Many of the species identified can only be found in this part of the world.

So, too, with marine mammals. Yaganes was once a lucrative spot for hunting whales—an activity that severely impacted southern right whale populations.
But since this hunting activity ended in Argentina after the country joined the International Whaling Commission in 1960, populations have slowly begun to rebound.

Reaching an ocean conservation goal

With the creation of these two new marine protected areas, 8 percent of Argentina’s waters are now protected, bringing the country closer to its goal of protecting 10 percent of its national waters by 2020.

MPAs are a popular tool used by governments to meet the United Nations’ larger goal of protecting 10 percent of the world’s oceans by 2020.
By closing regions to activities like fishing, MPAs can allow fish stocks to recover, which then spill out to commercial areas.
In a previous interview with National Geographic, former NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco likened MPAs to a shot of vitamin C before the onset of a cold.

A March study, partially supported by Pristine Seas, found that many declared protected areas around the globe are not effectively enforced.
And even with countries’ self-reported conservation declarations, the U.N. is predicted to fall short of it goal.
But countries like Argentina aren’t giving up.

“Argentina is catching up on marine conservation,” Muñoz says.
“Now it's becoming a world leader in world conservation.”

Heinonen says her organization’s future conservation work will involve talks with Chile, a country that also shares close proximity to Antarctica.
They hope to create joint protected areas in the South Atlantic Ocean.

Links :

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Norway (NHS) layer update in the GeoGarage platform

97 nautical raster charts updated

Deep seabed mining of critical metals: strategic and governance challenges

Underwater sampling
Credits: Nautilus Minerals
From IFRI by Cécile Pelaudeix (pdf)

Interest in deep seabed mining is growing due to the increasing in global demand for metals and recent technological progress.
Critical metals are used in low carbon energy technologies, as well as in the mobility, electronics and the defence industries.
Metals become strategic when they are essential to the economy of a state, its defense and energy sector and when their supply presents high risks.
Uneven distribution of resources and differences in cost of production have led to a market characterized by oligopolies (China for rare earth elements, or the Democratic Republic of Congo for cobalt).
As the remaining onshore resources of critical metals appear complex and costly to exploit, attention has been shifting to deep sea resources.

Deep sea mining (below 200 m) is considered in two types of areas: within national jurisdiction (on the continental shelf of a State), and beyond national jurisdiction, in the Area.
Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the Area and its resources are designated in article 136 as the common heritage of mankind (CHM).
While exploration has started in both types of zones, no commercial exploitation has started yet.
Within national jurisdiction, exploration has started in 11 countries.
Exploitation could start in Papua New Guinea although local communities are opposing the project Solwara 1 managed by the Canadian company Nautilus Minerals Inc.

This brief focuses on deep seabed mining (DSBM) in the Area, which is being actively prepared by a few countries, notably China, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, the Republic of Korea, Japan or Russia.
Since 2001, the International Seabed Authority (ISA), the organization through which State parties to UNCLOS organize and control activities in the Area, has granted 29 explorations licenses.
However, many questions about DSBM remain unanswered.

Deep seabed resources and sponsoring states

The 2017 European Union (EU) list of critical metals now includes 27 elements.
Critical metals are mainly found within three kind of minerals: the polymetallic nodules (PN), polymetallic sulphides (SU) and cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts (CO).
They can be found in all oceans.
The deepest (between 3 500 and 6 500 m) are the PN, which in addition to copper, nickel and cobalt, contain more rare metals than earth deposits.
SU with economic potential (between 1 500 and 3 500 m) are very rich but distributed unevenly and their inventory along the 60 000 km ocean ridges remain incomplete.
CO (from 400 to 4 000 m) are on average three times richer in cobalt than earth deposits, and contain lots of platine as well.

The ISA has opened areas for exploration in the Pacific, the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans.
It has entered into 15-year exploration contracts with 29 contractors (States, publicly-funded companies or institutions and private companies)

Most of the contracts (17) are for exploration for PN in the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone (CCFZ) in the Pacific: in this area, the mass of the nodules accounts for 34 billion tonnes, equivalent to 7.5 billion tonnes of manganese, 340 million tonnes of nickel, 275 million tonnes of copper and 78 million tonnes of cobalt.

Figure 1 only accounts for DSBM in the Area.
It does not reflect the importance that States ascribe to deep sea mining in general.
The French Polynesian EEZ for example has a high potential of CO.
Except for China, the general objective of industrial policies and research & development is to reduce the dependency to critical metals.
Before exploitation starts, many challenges remain to be solved: technical, environmental, economic.

In 2020, China will begin a global deep-sea scientific exploration mission with the Jiaolong, its new manned deep-sea submersible: China is now the fifth country with deep-sea exploration technology, after the United States, France, Russia and Japan.
‘Seabed 2030’ is a collaborative project between the Nippon Foundation and GEBCO which aims to bring together all available bathymetric data to produce the map of the world ocean floor by 2030 and make it available to all.

Pioneering deep sea mining machines made on Tyneside

Exploration and exploitation challenges

Technological challenges are due to the depth and remoteness of operations.
The excavation techniques are not operational for CO which are hard to cut, but they are available for SU, and progressing well for collecting PN: according to Amundi, the most promising technology developments are to be found in the countries of South Korea, Belgium, China and Singapore.

Environment challenges are particularly concerning.
The preservation of the marine environment from the direct impact of extraction (including the water column) presents daunting challenges; extracting metals could impair the important role that the metals have in the biological activity and carbon cycle of the oceans; and restoring the ecosystems appear accordingly very complex, if not impossible.

Important economic challenges are at stake.
The economic value of deep-sea metals is subject to the fluctuation of commodity prices.
In addition to operational expenditures, very high prefeasibility expenses are to be considered, as well as the cost of site rehabilitation.
And there is a critical knowledge gap in terms of understanding the economic services of the deep-sea ecosystems.
Expected economic benefits also depend on the value chain that a country has, from extraction to transformation, to the production of semi-finished products, to finished products and to recycling.
China stands as an exception as it masters four steps of the value chain whereas many countries only control one or two steps of the value chain (e.g.
France, while Germany controls three steps).

Although a few countries are eager to start exploitation soon, the mining code for exploitation is not yet completed.
Until then, it is not possible for parties to start mining exploitation in the Area.
Governance challenges are manifold and conflicting, such as when prioritizing the environmental and economic security issues which do not have the same importance amongst parties.

The next governance challenge: preparing the mining code

The 168 members of the ISA form an assembly that elects 36 representatives to serve on the Council: countries are distributed in 5 groups, reflecting both geography and interests.
The Council approves mining contracts, elects experts in mining, science and law to serve five-year terms on the Legal and Technical Commission (LTC).
The 30 members of LTC review mining applications, draft regulations, supervise mining companies and assess the environmental impact of such activities.
A Legal Working Group of twelve experts was formed in 2017.
Yet, the agreed target date for the completion of the mining code is 2020.
Many aspects still need to be worked out.

The concept of CHM, and its principles, are not yet operationalized.
The ‘benefit’ of mankind is described in UNCLOS as the “equitable sharing of financial and economic benefits derived from activities in the Area” (art.
Yet the ISA has not decided on a finance model for the sharing and use of revenues.
The entity which should institutionalize the distribution of benefits has not been established.
UNCLOS requires that the Authority and States “cooperate in promoting the transfer of technology and scientific knowledge (art.144).
States shall also act “in the interests of maintaining peace and security and promoting international cooperation and mutual understanding” (art.
Yet, cooperation between States is limited.

A balance between protection of the environment and resources exploitation requires to elaborate proper environmental impact assessment tools, based on an ecosystem-approach, to consider biological diversity, reduce risks, develop new remote monitoring and assessment tools and technologies, ensure enforcement of regulations, design and management of marine protected areas, and to establish rules for liability for environmental harm.
Public participation has to be considered.

Another shortcoming is the special judicial system centred on the Seabed Dispute Chamber which is not as comprehensive and robust as it should be, and should be dealt with by the ISA.
Finally, imbalances between rights of ISA members and non-ISA members (e.g.
States who have not joined UNCLOS, like the United-States) should still be considered: non-members can become free riders on the convention and could strongly harm the institution since they are free of obligations.


The mining code for exploitation of deep seabed minerals could become another milestone in the governance of the oceans.
No rush should thus preside to its drafting.
The oceans are already under huge pressure not least from climate change.
In accordance with UNCLOS provisions, a balance with disadvantaged States, particularly in the context of globalization, needs to be ensured.
It is important that the ISA succeeds in its mandate, so that multilateralism plays its role and delivers large benefits.
Moreover, should the DSBM regime become international customary law, it would apply to non UNCLOS parties.
In consequence, states should encourage public debates, including on the principles of CHM, the precautionary principle and the polluter pays principle.
The EU, as a party to ISA, could clarify its position.
The ISA should also consider the institutional changes required by the need to promote interstate cooperation and establish dispute settlement mechanisms.

Links :

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The revolution above our heads

From Pulse by John McDermott

New satellite systems are about to disrupt and enable a wide range of industries by providing global connectivity for 'Internet of Things' (IoT) systems.
What is this about and why is it significant?
Since earlier 2018 I've been keeping an eye on a new generation of wireless connectivity systems and have been intrigued by the possible impact of these.
As each week has gone by and more and more announcements have been made by the companies involved, my belief that a revolution in connectivity is breaking out as increased.
I have a list of over 15 companies with a launch schedule of nearly 2,000 satellites in the next 2-3 years.

Let's look at one of these: Fleet Space, based in Adelaide Australia, and only founded three years ago by Flavia Tata Nardini is a prime example.
Over the last four weeks (Nov-Dec 2018) Fleet have launched four new nano-satellites to provide communications at low cost anywhere on the planet for small, low powered IoT devices.
With launches on RocketLab from New Zealand (two satellites), SpaceX in USA (one satellite) and ISRO in India (one satellite) Fleet is having a busy time.

The satellites are small units, under 10kg in mass.
Instead of high geo-stationary orbits (36,000km) this new generation of nano-satellite is typically positioned 500-700km high - Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
Rocketlab is a leading launch provider, with a dedicated service placing satellites in LEO.
The major advantage of LEO is significantly reduced cost of launch - just think that most of the launch weight of a rocket is fuel, so the lower the orbit the less fuel is required and the smaller and lower cost the launch vehicle is.

At these low orbits, the satellites are not geo-stationary.
They orbit the earth in about 90 minutes, and travel at 7.5km/s (over 16,000 miles per hour!).
As a single satellite doesn't stay overhead for long, a collection or constellation of satellites are needed to provide sufficient coverage.
Depending on how many satellites are operated that may mean a signal reception once an hour, once every few minutes or continuous.
The more satellites available, the greater the availability of signal reception.

Another example is Myriota, also based in Adelaide (notice a trend here yet?) And also launching on SpaceX recently.
In the case of Myriota their nano-satellite system provides an even lower cost device that transmits direct to the satellite using a transmission scheme developed at the University of South Australia. Myriota received venture funding earlier in 2018 to enable their growth.
The systems may seem to be a bit patchy at present, but remember we're only at the beginning. And for many of the use cases, an occasional signal transmission is sufficient.

Let's look at a few:
  • Water quality monitoring - access to water and quality of drinking water has become critical for many communities. Whether in a developed nation, such as New Zealand, where public opinion on river water quality has become a political football. Or, in a deprived region where water availability means the difference between life and death. The ability to place a low cost sensor system and reliably receive reports once or twice a day is a quantum leap from available technology that is costly, manual and impractical for remote environments.
  • Animal tracking - whether for endangered species or farmed herds, there is increasing use of technology to provide data for achieving better outcomes. Again, having a track position a few times a day can be invaluable.
  • Logistics tracking - where is that high value parcel? With millions and millions of individual goods in transit at any one time, having positive information of where a package is reduces uncertainty for business operations. Even if a current tracking portal appears to be fully computerised, it still relies on manual data entry to locate a parcel. With fully automated global tracking, errors and uncertainty are removed.
Let's be clear about this for a moment - this isn't global internet for all at close to zero cost.
These IoT satellites provide 'just enough' to get a GPS location, or small amounts of data from a sensor.
Streaming video or even voice connections will be beyond their capability.

But small amounts of data can be valuable.
Is a gate open?
Is a water tank empty?
Is a cow in the wrong field?
Is a boat lost and without power?
These can be high value pieces of information but are tiny pieces of data.

IoT-satellite doesn't exist alone, and is part of the eco-system of IoT wireless known as LPWAN (low power wide area networking) with technologies of Sigfox, LoRaWAN, and LTE NB-IOT and CAT-M.
These alternatives provide choice according to a particular application plus the new option of satellite systems to provide connectivity where ground systems are not available.
Like many revolutions, we often don't notice the beginning until it is too late to react, and then underestimate the long term impact.

I believe this is happening again with wireless connectivity for 'things'.
Want to join in?
The IoT Auckland Meetup group is taking a keen interest in IoT satellite developments and will be running a hackathon to trial systems from Fleet and Myriota in January.

 Links :

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

US Air Force set to launch 1st next-generation GPS satellite

A look at what it takes to design, build, test and launch
one of Lockheed Martin’s next-generation GPS III satellites for the U.S. Air Force.
From establishing the modern economy to bringing you home safely, Global Positioning System (GPS) is a key component to our everyday lives.
More than four billion military, commercial and civil users worldwide connect with GPS’ valuable positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) signals.
And Lockheed Martin’s advanced, new GPS III is ready to launch the next generation of connection.
GPS III satellites are more powerful, incredibly resilient, incorporate an advanced civilian user signal (L1C), provide three times the accuracy than previous GPS satellites and are designed to evolve and incorporate new technology as it develops.
Launch of the first GPS III satellite is scheduled for December 18 and our phones will receive an upgraded GPS signal from this satellite by the end of 2019. 

From AirForceTimes by Dan Elliott

After months of delays, the U.S. Air Force is about to launch the first of a new generation of GPS satellites, designed to be more accurate, secure and versatile.

But some of their most highly touted features will not be fully available until 2022 or later because of problems in a companion program to develop a new ground control system for the satellites, government auditors said.

LIVE : SpaceX's GPS mission: Don't miss last Florida rocket launch of the year 
SpaceX is targeting Tuesday, December 18 for launch of the United States Air Force’s first Global Positioning System III space vehicle (SV) from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
The 26-minute launch window opens at 9:11 a.m. EST, or 14:11 UTC.
The satellite will be deployed to medium Earth orbit approximately 1 hour and 56 minutes after liftoff. A 26-minute backup launch window opens on Wednesday, December 19 at 9:07 a.m. EST, or 14:07 UTC.
Note: The Youtube event start time reflects the estimated liftoff time for this mission. SpaceX's live webcast will begin about 15 minutes before liftoff.

The satellite is scheduled to lift off Tuesday from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. It’s the first of 32 planned GPS III satellites that will replace older ones now in orbit. Lockheed Martin is building the new satellites outside Denver.

After months of delays, the U.S. Air Force is about to launch the first of a new generation of GPS satellites, designed to be more accurate, secure and versatile.

GPS is best-known for its widespread civilian applications, from navigation to time-stamping bank transactions.
The Air Force estimates that 4 billion people worldwide use the system.

But it was developed by the U.S. military, which still designs, launches and operates the system.
The Air Force controls a constellation of 31 GPS satellites from a high-security complex at Schriever Air Force Base outside Colorado Springs.

Compared with their predecessors, GPS III satellites will have a stronger military signal that's harder to jam — an improvement that became more urgent after Norway accused Russia of disrupting GPS signals during a NATO military exercise this fall.

GPS III also will provide a new civilian signal compatible with other countries' navigation satellites, such as the European Union's Galileo system.
That means civilian receivers capable of receiving the new signal will have more satellites to lock in on, improving accuracy.
"If your phone is looking for satellites, the more it can see, the more it can know where it is," said Chip Eschenfelder, a Lockheed Martin spokesman.

It is a part of our lives every day and over a billion people depend on this technology.
GPS, unlike any other military program, has expanded into the commercial market, becoming a mainstay of everyday life for people around the world.
See how Lockheed Martin continues to improve this U.S. Air Force provided asset with GPS III.
With satellites 1-8 already in production, this entirely new satellite design will take positioning, navigation and timing to the highest level and will continue to evolve into the future.
Simply put, GPS III is the most powerful and capable GPS satellite ever built – and it is already here

The new satellites are expected to provide location information that's three times more accurate than the current satellites.
Current civilian GPS receivers are accurate to within 10 to 33 feet (3 to 10 meters), depending on conditions, said Glen Gibbons, the founder and former editor of Inside GNSS, a website and magazine that tracks global navigation satellite systems.
With the new satellites, civilian receivers could be accurate to within 3 to 10 feet (1 to 3 meters) under good conditions, and military receivers could be a little closer, he said.

Only some aspects of the stronger, jamming-resistant military signal will be available until a new and complex ground control system is available, and that is not expected until 2022 or 2023, said Cristina Chaplain, who tracks GPS and other programs for the Government Accountability Office.
Chaplain said the new civilian frequency won't be available at all until the new control system is ready.

The price of the first 10 satellites is estimated at $577 million each, up about 6 percent from the original 2008 estimate when adjusted for inflation, Chaplain said.
The Air Force said in September it expects the remaining 22 satellites to cost $7.2 billion, but the GAO estimated the cost at $12 billion.

The first GPS III satellite was declared ready nearly 2½ years behind schedule.
The problems included delays in the delivery of key components, retesting of other components and a decision by the Air Force to use a Falcon 9 rocket for the first time for a GPS launch, Chaplain said. That required extra time to certify the Falcon 9 for a GPS mission.

The new ground control system, called OCX, is in worse shape.
OCX, which is being developed by Raytheon, is at least four years behind schedule and is expected to cost $2.5 billion more than the original $3.7 billion, Chaplain said.
The Defense Department has struggled with making sure OCX meets cybersecurity standards, she said.
A Pentagon review said both the government and Raytheon performed poorly on the program.
Raytheon has overcome the cybersecurity problems, and the program has been on budget and on schedule for more than a year, said Bill Sullivan, a Raytheon vice president in the OCX system.
Sullivan said the company is on track to deliver the system to the Air Force in June 2021, ahead of GAO's estimates.
The Air Force has developed work-arounds so it can launch and use GPS III satellites until OCX is ready to go.

While the first GPS III waits for liftoff in Florida, the second is complete and ready to be transported to Cape Canaveral.
It sits in a cavernous "clean room" at a Lockheed Martin complex in the Rocky Mountain foothills south of Denver.

It's expected to launch next summer, although the exact date hasn't been announced, said Jonathon Caldwell, vice president of Lockheed Martin's GPS program.
Six other GPS satellites are under construction in the clean room, which is carefully protected against dust and other foreign particles.
"It's the highest-volume production line in space," Caldwell said.

For the first time, the Air Force is assigning nicknames to the GPS III satellites.
The first one is Vespucci, after Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian navigator whose name was adopted by early mapmakers for the continents of the Western Hemisphere.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Norwegian frigate sinking has far-reaching implications

From The Aspistrategic by Sam Bateman

In an incident that has attracted relatively little media attention in Australia, the modern 5,300-ton Norwegian frigate KNM Helge Ingstad sank in a Norwegian fjord after a collision with the large Maltese-registered oil tanker Sola TS.

 Helge Ingstad position with the GeoGarage platform (NHS nautical chart)

 position with Google Earth

It’s now clear what happened.
In the early hours of 8 November, the Ingstad was proceeding at 17 knots along the Hjeltefjorden near the Sture oil terminal.
The Sola TS had just left the terminal fully laden and was proceeding at 7 knots.
The watch on the Ingstad,which had just changed, thought that the deck lights of the tanker were part of the well-lit terminal.

KNM Helge Ingstad sunk
Gulliver Floating Sheerlegs and Crane Barges/Crane Pontoons 

The Sola TS became concerned about the situation.
However, because the Ingstad wasn’t showing automatic identification system (AIS) data, initially neither the Sola TS nor the traffic station on shore could identify the frigate to warn it of the imminent danger.
Repeated warnings to the Ingstad after it had been identified failed to get it to alter course until just seconds before the collision.
The heavily laden tanker couldn’t manoeuvre out of the way.

The Ingstad suffered extensive hull damage along the starboard side, lost propulsion and steering control, and experienced flooding in three compartments, before running aground and later sinking.
Eight crew members were injured.

Aerial view, see film

Commissioned in 2009 and built by the Spanish shipbuilder Navantia, the Helge Ingstadwas the fourth of the Fridtjof Nansen class of frigates in the Royal Norwegian Navy.
Australia’s Hobart-class air warfare destroyers are of a broadly similar Navantia design.

Navantia has produced several designs similar to the Nansen class, including under the trilateral frigate agreement set up by the Netherlands, Germany and Spain.
Through this agreement, the F100 class of frigates is being built in Spain by Navantia, and the Dutch De Zeven Provincien class and the German F124 Sachsen class are being built by other companies.

A preliminary investigation by Norwegian authorities found that confusion on the Ingstad’sbridge was the immediate cause of the collision, but that the ship sank because of progressive flooding.
After the collision, water quickly moved through several watertight compartments, apparently via the ship’s propeller shafts, which pass through the bulkheads between the compartments through theoretically watertight openings (known as stuffing tubes or stuffing boxes) that should prevent progressive flooding.

Not only did the sinking of the uninsured frigate cost the Norwegian Navy its entire annual budget, but the Scandinavian country also lost millions of additional kronor, as several oil and gas fields were temporarily out of order due to the accident, which experts find inexplicable.

Based on crew interviews, authorities determined that the stuffing boxes weren’t working properly, jeopardising the watertightness of the ship.
The investigation report warned that the faults that sunk the Ingstad could also be in other Navantia ships, raising questions about a possible problem with the design.

The Ingstad accident has eerie similarities to the serious collisions suffered by US Navy destroyers during a horror year in 2017.
The Ingstad was proceeding at excessive speed in a busy shipping area and wasn’t showing AIS information, and the team on her bridge clearly lost situational awareness and failed to appreciate the serious situation that was developing.

There are lessons here for navies around the world.
First, for questionable operational security reasons, warships often don’t show AIS data, even though it’s a vital collision-avoidance mechanism that’s used extensively by the commercial shipping sector.
Not using AIS may be acceptable on the open ocean, but it’s poor practice in busy shipping lanes.

Genscape Vesseltracker's animated AIS replay shows the collision between oil tanker "Sola TS" and a Norwegian frigate "KNM Helge Ingstad" off the west coast of Norway on November 8, 2018.
Wrecked frigate's crew thought oncoming tanker was fixed object

After the US Navy accidents, the chief of naval operations instructed his ships to show AIS when they’re in heavy shipping traffic.
This was apparently a message that had not got through to the Royal Norwegian Navy, although it’s been reported that an American naval exchange officer was onboard the Ingstad at the time of the collision.

Radio and radar logs from the collision between the Norwegian frigate HNoMS Helge Ingstad, Nato designation F313, and the tanker Sola TS in Hjeltefjorden, north of Bergen, on November 8, 2018. see Medium transcription

Second, the high-tech bridge of a modern warship isn’t amenable to using the most basic sensory mechanism of all—what is often referred to as either the ‘seaman’s eye’ or the ‘Mark One eyeball’.
The many screens and electronic data systems on a bridge can preoccupy the bridge team and distract them from what is happening around them.

An accident such as that suffered by the Ingstad can have many causes, the sum of which leads to the collision.
In addition to the ones already mentioned, two other factors contributed to the incident.
First, the collision occurred soon after the watch had changed on the bridge, and the incoming watch may not have gained a proper perspective of the situation that was emerging.

Location of the collision between HMoS Helge Ingstad and tanker Sola TS

Second, the tanker was extensively lit up by deck lights that may have obscured the navigational lights, leading the incoming watch to believe that the Sola TS’s lights were part of the terminal.
A fully professional bridge team, however, should have observed that the tanker was both underway at seven knots and showing AIS.

The incident raises questions about the survivability of modern warships with their lightweight construction and a design emphasis on their weapons and sensors rather than on ship integrity and damage control.

It also raises questions about the basic training and seamanship skills of bridge watchkeepers.
The high-tech bridges of modern warships can be congested with both people and equipment.
This environment is not conducive to the exercise of basic safe seafaring practices, such as the use of the ‘seaman’s eye’.

Modern navies must ensure that their bridge personnel are safe seafarers, as well as skilled equipment operators.

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Sunday, December 16, 2018

Sailing school (1956)

Newton Ferrers, Devon. 
The Newton Ferrers School of Yachting is run by Lt. Commander Rab Moore and his partner Dennis Montgomery.
It is the only school where students learn to sail on dry land first.
The students are seen gathered around the model of a yacht and Rab Moore points to various parts of the boat.
M/S of the land trainer as two women students get in and learn to sail without the hazards of the water.
They jump from one side to the other with the instructor watching.
Beautiful setting at Newton Ferrers on River Yealm as sailing boat sets out from harbour.
Man and woman take small dinghy out.
Then students are on board a large yacht being shown how to tie knots. On board the 30 foot Gaff Cutter "Ravenswing" the students learn how to put sails up correctly.
M/S "Ravenswing" sails along the River Yealm.