Saturday, February 23, 2019

Erland Cooper announces new 'Sule Skerry'

Check out gorgeous new song 'Haar'...
New song 'Haar' is online now, a graceful, slow-paced affair, recalling modern classical in its sonic palette.
The name itself links back to Orkney - it refers to the fog that rolls in from the North Sea.
Tune in now.

From ClashMusic by Robin Murray

Erland Cooper is set to release new album 'Sule Skerry' on May 17th.

 Sule Skerry with the GeoGarage platform (UKHO nautical chart)

The songwriter and composer is being drawn back to his native Orkney for the new album, the second instalment in a triptych about the archipelago.

Orkney islands in the North of Scotland with the GeoGarage platform (UKHO nautical chart)

Out on May 17th, it's informed by the sea, and the way it influences life on the Orkney islands. Erland Cooper explains:
“It’s a record about the sea, our relationship with the outside world, forces outside of our control but it’s also about creating a nest within that, nurturing and protecting our own sea havens, those sheltered bays, those safe places. Always returning back in some form, as we step in and out daily”.
“I’m always looking at the narrative, the story or concepts to thread the music around.
It acts like a nautical map, something to refer back to when you get lost at sea...

Friday, February 22, 2019

Researcher: not hard for a hacker to capsize a ship at sea

From ThreadPost by Tara Seals

Capsizing a ship with a cyberattack is a relatively low-skill enterprise, according to an analysis from Pen Test Partners.

Maritime transport still contributes in an important way to the world’s economy, with on-time shipments influencing everything from commodities availability and spot pricing to the stability of small countries.
Unfortunately, capsizing a ship with a cyberattack is a relatively low-skill enterprise, according to an analysis from Pen Test Partners.

With so many previously outlined ways to infiltrate networks on-board shipping vessels (think satcom hacking, phishing, USB attacks, insecure crew Wi-Fi, etc.), the question becomes, what could an adversary do with that access?

“If one was suitably motivated, perhaps by a nation-state or a crime syndicate, one could bring about the sinking of a ship,” said Pen Test Partners researcher Ken Munro, in a stark assessment of maritime cyber-danger this week.

At issue is the fact that critical ship control systems, including IP-to-serial converters, GPS receivers or the Voyage Data Recorder (VDR), tend to be easily compromised; some on-board devices for instance still run Windows XP and Windows NT, and converters rarely have their admin passwords changed.

Those that do have non-default credentials will likely have such out of date firmware that they’re easily exploited anyway: Munro pointed out that many of the Moxa device servers commonly found aboard vessels were recently found to be vulnerable to a firmware downgrade attack that allowed trivial compromise.

“It’s a low-skill attack,” Munro told Threatpost.
“Password security and patch management are so poor at sea that compromise does not require significant expertise. There’s a documented case of a kid finding a mobile drilling platform control system using Shodan and clicking buttons to see what happened. I believe they unintentionally took the dynamic positioning system offline.”

These easily hacked devices communicate with a raft of control systems via a standardized messaging system, called NMEA 0183 messaging (it’s a superset of the messaging format that GPS devices use). These include autopilot systems, propulsion control, dynamic positioning, engine control, ballast control and digital compasses – everything that’s needed to steer a ship off-course or cause catastrophe.

“The messages are usually exchanged using RS485 serial datacomms, either directly or encapsulated over IP networks,” Munro said in a posting.
“In some cases, CAN is used as a bridge between IP and serial. Any point where serial meets IP is a point where the hacker can potentially access the messaging system.”

Once the hacker is able to reach the control systems, it would for instance be possible to replay the Hoegh Osaka incident, where a car carrier’s ballast tanks weren’t properly filled, which resulted in the ship developing a heavy list during a tight turn out of the port.
It narrowly avoided capsize, thanks only to a favorable wind blowing. (see Report)

Chief Inspector's statement following the publication of MAIB's accident investigation report into the listing, flooding and grounding of vehicle carrier Hoegh Osaka, on the Bramble Bank in The Solent.

“Modern ballast control systems provide remote monitoring and operation from the bridge, usually running on a PC,” Munro explained.
“So, the attacker would simply send the appropriate serial data to the ballast pump controllers, causing them all to pump from port to starboard ballast tanks. That change in trim alone could cause a capsize.”
He added, “If the change in ballast wasn’t enough to sink the vessel by itself, when a list had started to develop, send a NMEA message to the autopilot, commanding a turn to starboard. Or, send a helm message commanding the same turn direction. The list, combined with the change in stability when turning, is likely to cause a capsize.”

Access to the control systems could be remote or local, depending on the attacker.
PTT has done prior research on remote attacks over satcoms; and serial network attacks can be carried out remotely via the satcom connection, or by physically locating the convertors.

“Any half-decent attacker can happily abuse these operating systems all day long and still cover their tracks effectively,” Munro said.

Previous research has shown that other concerning attacks are possible as well, such as forcing a ship off-course or causing collisions.
The issue with remediating the dismal state of maritime security is a lack of clearly defined responsibility for security, according to the researcher.

“It’s a lack of awareness,” he told Threatpost.
“Ship owners are rarely the ship operator, charter parties are rarely interested in security. When responsibility and liability for security incidents is unclear, it’s hard to determine who should take control of patching and cyber-risk management. Clarity is urgently required; several organizations such as the [International Maritime Organization] are taking action, though it will take time for processes to change.”

Links :

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Norway (NHS) layer update in the GeoGarage platform

181 nautical raster charts updated& 2 new insets added

The Navy just bought a fleet of robot submarines to prowl the oceans and mess with adversaries

An Echo Voyager fully autonomous extra large unmanned undersea vehicle (XLUUV) class UUV.
Boeing has been selected to develop and manufacture a new class of XLUUV for the US Navy (USN), edging out competition from Lockheed Martin. 

From Task&Pupose y Jared Keller
  • The Navy is buying large unmanned underwater vehicles — drone submarines.
  • The purchase comes amid a push into autonomous vessels for the Navy.
  • Such vessels could perform a variety of missions and augment the fleet as the service tries to grow.
The Navy is bulking up its fleet of autonomous robot vessels with the purchase of a cadre of four of Boeing's extremely large and incredibly grandiose unmanned Orca submarines.

On Feb. 13, the Navy awarded Boeing a $43 million contract to produce four of the 51-foot Orca Extra Large Unmanned Undersea Vehicles (XLUUVs) that are capable of traveling some 6,500 nautical miles unaided, the US Naval Institute reported.

Boeing's Echo Voyager undersea drone undergoes its first round of testing, which was completed off the California coast last year

According to USNI, the Navy could potentially deploy the Orcas from existing vessels to conduct "mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, electronic warfare and strike missions."

But as Popular Mechanics points out, the Orca's modular design and relatively inexpensive price tag make the robo-subs a potential game-changer for a Navy that's struggling to grow to 335 hulls:

Orca could even pack a Mk. 46 lightweight torpedo to take a shot at an enemy sub itself. It could also carry heavier Mk. 48 heavyweight torpedoes to attack surface ships, or even conceivably anti-ship missiles.
Orca could drop off cargos on the seabed, detect, or even lay mines.
The modular hardware payload system and open architecture software ensures Orca could be rapidly configured based on need.
This sort of versatility in a single, low-cost package is fairly unheard of in military spending.
The nearest rough equivalent is the Navy's Littoral Combat Ship, which costs $584 million each and has a crew of 40. While LCS is faster, has the benefit of an onboard crew, and carries a larger payload, Orca is autonomous—and cheaper by orders of magnitude.

The purchase comes amid a push into autonomous vessels for the Navy, and not just because of President Donald Trump's newfound focus on artificial intelligence.
Earlier this year, the Navy's autonomous Sea Hunter trimaran, engineered for minesweeping and sub-hunting, traveled from San Diego to Hawaii and back again without a single sailor aboard in a historic voyage.

A US Navy briefing slide from October 2018, outlining unmanned undersea vehicle plans in the near- and long-term.
The concept art of notional XLUUV configurations has been around since at least 2017.

More broadly, the service is eyeing potential unmanned systems for "robot wolfpacks" of remotely-operated surface vessels to function as scouts, decoys, and forward electronic warfare platforms, as Breaking Defense reported in January.

The Navy has pulled all the stops in "the last six or seven months," Navy surface ship executive Rear Adm. William Galinis told Breaking Defense.
"We've got a set of RFIs [that] we're going to be putting out here probably in the next few days to industry to really start that process, put some proverbial meat on the bones."

Links :

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Are these photographs of a ‘Hunter’s Moon’?

Photographs depict a rare "Hunter's Moon," a phenomenon that creates the appearance of two suns in the sky.

From Snopes

On 4 November 2015 a Facebook user published three photographs (two singles and one combined set) with remarks asserting that the images depicted a phenomenon called a “Hunters Moon”:
The Miracle has happened yesterday. USA and CANADA saw two suns.
This is called as Hunters Moon.
Due to change of orbit the sun sets and moon rises at the same time with both being opposite to each other at a particular angle or degree moon reflects the sun so bright that it almost feels like another sun.
Effects stays for couple of days

According to the claim, the occurrence of a Hunter’s Moon allows some residents of North America to view what appears to be two suns in the sky.
However, the nomenclature used was inaccurate, as a Hunter’s Moon has nothing to do with the optical illusion of two suns:

Hunter’s Moon is just a name.
It’s the name for the full moon after the Harvest Moon, which is the full moon nearest the autumnal equinox.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the Harvest Moon sometimes falls in September and sometimes falls in October.
So the Hunter’s Moon sometimes falls in October and sometimes in November.

Hunter’s Moon is just an ordinary full moon with a special path across our sky.
Most Hunter’s Moons aren’t really bigger or brighter.
They’re definitely no more colorful than any other full moon.
Still, many of us do think the Hunter’s Moon always looks bigger … or brighter … and more orange than usual.

The first full moon after the autumnal equinox (known as the Hunter’s Moon) occurred on 26 and 27 October in 2015 and not 3 November 2015, as the Facebook post suggested.
As for the appended photographs, two of them were unrelated to the full moon of 26-27 October 2015.

One of the most reliable markers of a story later fabricated to fit an existing photograph is earlier publication of an identical picture.
In this case, both photographs of a “Hunter’s Moon” were published to an Arabic-language message board on 13 October 2015 (prior to the year’s Hunter’s Moon) with a markedly different explanation of their origins (roughly translated as follows):
Pictures of a strange phenomenon broadcast in Canada illustrate the emergence of a Shamseen sky in Canada, England, China, and Russia.
An astronomer said that this phenomenon is very normal and is a result of a convergence with Jupiter and the reflection of sunlight back to Earth. This phenomenon occurs every 139 years.
The claim preceding the “two suns” rumor attributed the purported phenomenon to the visibility of Jupiter, and maintained that it occurred approximately once every century and a half (but in fact, Hunter’s Moons occur annually).

Another 31 August 2015 article in Arabic definitively illustrated that the photographs dated back at least that far, placing the depicted skyline in Tunisia (not in the United States, Canada, England, or Russia).
The image featuring mountains was even older (appearing online as early as July 2008), and offered yet another explanation for the “two suns” phenomenon:

Social networking picked up an image taken at sunrise on Sunday in the Moroccan city of Tangier.
Scientists stressed that it is a natural phenomenon that appears at sunrise and results from ice crystals accumulating in the atmosphere, with sunlight reflecting on those “crystal pools” and creating what seems like a second sun.

While the first full moon after the autumnal equinox is called a Hunter’s Moon, that designation is simply a name which has no relationship to an illusion of duplicate suns in the sky.
Images circulating on social media along with the rumor were published before the late October 2015 Hunter’s Moon and thus weren’t depictions of that event. 

Links :

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

British Isles & misc. (UKHO) layer update in the GeoGarage platform

47 nautical raster charts updated & 3 new charts added

The hunt for the fish pirates who exploit the sea

Andrey Dolgov ship

From BBC by Richard Gray

For 10 years, a rogue fishing vessel and its crew plundered the world’s oceans, escaping repeated attempts of capture.
Then a dramatic pursuit across the high seas finally netted the one that got away.

In the haze of an overcast April afternoon, the rust-stained hull of the Andrey Dolgov slapped its way through the ocean swell, oily water gushing from the ship’s waterlogged bilge as it made a desperate attempt to flee.

Pursued by a sleek, heavily armed naval patrol boat, the ungainly fishing vessel had little hope of escape.
A drone and surveillance aircraft circled overhead while the Indonesian navy ship bore quickly down, closing a trap that had been months in the making.
The crew of the Andrey Dolgov surrendered.

It seems hard to believe that this creaking, corroded vessel was one of the most wanted on the high seas.
Yet it slipped through the authorities’ fingers on several occasions and managed to elude ships sent to chase it across the ocean.

The Andrey Dolgov, or STS-50 or Sea Breez 1 as it also sometimes called itself, had been plundering the oceans of their most valuable living resource – fish.
It was part of an international organised criminal network that thrives between the blurred lines of maritime law and on the corruption of officials.

The operation to capture the vessel and its crew was the culmination of months of international cooperation between police and maritime authorities, painstaking detective work and satellite tracking worthy of a spy thriller.

“The captain and the crew were shocked to have been caught,” says Andreas Aditya Salim, part of the presidential taskforce in Indonesia that led the operation to snare the Andrey Dolgov.
“They tried to say they did not go fishing as the refrigerator and other parts of the vessel were broken.”

The Andrey Dolgov, also known as STS-50, had been fishing illegally in the Southern Ocean for years before it was captured
(Credit: Sea Shepherd)

When Indonesian naval officers boarded the ship after ambushing it at the mouth of the Strait of Malacca, a major shipping lane between the Malay Peninsula and the Indonesian island of Sumatra, they found a huge stack of 600 finely meshed gill nets that could stretch up to 18 miles (around 29km) in length if deployed.

In a single trip the nets allowed those on board to haul up $6m (£4.56m) worth of fish, illegally taking it ashore where it was either sold on the black market or mixed with legal catches for sale.
Ultimately the fish ends up on supermarket shelves, in restaurants and on people’s tables.
(Watch the video below on the mission to catch the FV Viking)

“Approximately 20% of all global catch is illegal, unreported or unregulated,” explains Katie St John Glew, a marine biologist at the National Oceanography Centre at the University of Southampton.
And the impacts are widespread, hurting the fish stocks themselves, the fishing industry and consumer trust.
“If illegal fishing ultimately could result in stocks collapsing, this will then affect the livelihood of fishers across the globe.”

Over the 10 years or so it is thought to have been operating illegally, the Andrey Dolgov is estimated to have looted up to $50m (£38m) worth of fish from the oceans.
With that kind of money to be made, it is easy to see why it illegal fishing is a tempting enterprise for criminal organisations.

“These vessels operate in international waters outside the jurisdiction of nation states,” says Alistair McDonnell, part of the fisheries crime team at Interpol who helped coordinate the hunt for the Andrey Dolgov.
“This is something that the criminals exploit.”

Patagonian toothfish are highly prized in restaurants around the world, where they are often marketted as Chilean sea bass
(Credit: Christopher Jones/NOAA)

But the effect of this exploitation runs deeper than an opportunity for criminals to make money.
It is often involves the corruption of public officials, fraud, money laundering and slavery – many of the crews on board these vessels are forced labour, imprisoned on a boat out at sea, often thousands of miles from home.

Then there is the environmental impact.
“Illegal fishing is one of the greatest threats to sustainable fisheries,” explains Matthew Camilleri, head of fisheries at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
“The fishing gear they use can also be very destructive to fragile ecosystems like coral reefs.
This is why the international community is putting a lot of effort into combating it.”

The Andrey Dolgov did not begin its life as an illegal fishing vessel.
Built in 1985, the 54m-long (178ft) vessel was constructed as a tuna longline fishing boat at the Kanasashi Zosen shipyards at the scenic port of Shimizu in Japan, in the shadow of the volcanic Mount Fuji.
Sailing as the Shinsei Maru No 2, the 570-ton boat operated for years legally under the Japanese flag in the Pacific and Indian Oceans for the Japanese seafood company Maruha Nichiro Corporation.

The vessel then appears to have changed hands a number of times after 1995 before it ended up sailing under the Filipino flag as the Sun Tai 2 until about 2008 when it joined the Republic of Korea’s fishing fleet, changing hands at least four times in under a year to owners including a Mr Boo-In Park and the STD Fisheries Corporation.

Several kilometres of nets were found on board the Andrey Dolgov when Indonesian authorities boarded it
(Credit: Sea Shepherd)

At some point between 2008 and 2015, the vessel appears to have been refitted as an Antarctic toothfish boat, capable of operating in the wild Southern Ocean and storing fish for long periods on board.
Toothfish are highly prized in restaurants around the world, sometimes referred to as "white gold" due to their value, but require specific licenses to fish.

While the boat is suspected of having been fishing illegally for at least 10 years, it first came to the attention of the authorities on the international stage in October 2016 when Chinese officials found it trying to offload toothfish that had been caught illegally.
By now the boat was called the Andrey Dolgov and was flying the Cambodian flag, operated by a company registered in Belize.
A year earlier it had been photographed off the coast of Punta Arena, on the southern tip of Chile’s Patagonian region, indicating it had been fishing in the Southern Ocean.

But before the Chinese authorities could take further action, the vessel and its crew fled across the Indian Ocean.
This time, however, the vessel had been listed as IUU – illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
This meant when the crew tried to enter the port again in Mauritius it was denied entry.

The STS-50, which has links to Russian organised crime, highlights many of the problems faced by those who police global fisheries
(Credit: Sea Shepherd)

By January 2017 the vessel had been renamed the Sea Breez 1 under a Togo flag.
Togo later struck the vessel off the registry, but as it moved from port to port, and the vessel changed name again to AYDA.
When it arrived at ports, the crew presented forged documents to obscure its identity and it claimed a to belong to at least eight different flag states including Togo, Nigeria and Bolivia.

“It’s a common tactic,” says McDonnell.
“They are essentially committing identity fraud by repeatedly falsifying their registry.
Only flag states have jurisdiction over vessels when they are more than 200 miles from a coast, but these vessels claim flags of states that have no fisheries legislation to cover it and are not subject to any international fisheries treaties.”

Illegal fishing vessels also regularly change the flags they fly, claiming nationalities of states that have denounced them.

“Coastal states may consider them a high-risk vessel, without the protection of a flag state, and therefore stateless,” says McDonnell.

Finally, in February 2018, the authorities caught up with the Andrey Dolgov again at a port in Madagascar when the captain of a vessel claiming to be the STS-50 provided a false International Marine Organisation number – which every vessel on the ocean above a certain size must have – and forged documents.
Madagascar alerted the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, which regulates fishing in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica.

Satellite images and data allow fishing vessels to be tracked on the world's oceans so boats engaging in illegal activity can be identified
(Credit: OceanMind)

Again, the boat and its crew fled, but this time they left a trail behind.
The vessel had been fitted with an automatic transponder system, which is used to help prevent collisions between ships at sea.
This automatic identification system, known as AIS, broadcasts a location signal that can be picked up by radio equipment and overhead satellites.

But there was a problem.
When officials plugged the AIS identification number for the vessel into their system, they were presented with a spaghetti of tracks all over the world.
Simultaneously the vessel appeared to be off the coast of the Falklands, Fiji and Norway – thousands of miles apart.
“They were obscuring their identity by spoofing their AIS,” explains Charles Kilgour, who at the time was senior fisheries analyst at OceanMind, a British non-profit organisation that analyses data from fishing vessels at sea.
It was a technique that allowed the Andrey Dolgov to appear to be in almost 100 different locations at once.

The mission to catch Andrey Dolgov spanned the globe
But then its pursuers received another alert – the Andrey Dolgov had popped up just off the coast of Maputo, in Mozambique’s waters.
An inspection team found fishing gear on board and forged registration documents.
They officially “detained” the vessel, seizing its documents and the crew’s passports, but before they could investigate further, the Andrey Dolgov absconded, slipping through the fingers of the authorities again.

This time, however, Kilgour and his team had a positive identification of the exact time and location of the Andrey Dolgov.
Using a passing satellite, they were able capture radar images of the fishing vessel while it was at anchorage off Maputo, helping them to clarify which of the AIS tracks they were seeing was the right one.

The international effort to capture the Andrey Dolgov after it escaped from custody twice resulted in a pursuit across the high seas
(Credit: Sea Shepherd)

“We use algorithms to identify potential vessels from the synthetic aperture radar images,” says Kilgour, who now works for Global Fishing Watch, a Google-backed project to monitor fishing vessels around the world.
“Any large metal vessel shows up quite clearly.
Then we correlate that with the AIS data we have.”

The team at OceanMind also use infrared satellite imaging, which allows them to pick up lights from fishing vessels at night.
With the additional information they now had, they were able to pinpoint which of the AIS tracks belonged to the Andrey Dolgov.

Meanwhile a vessel owned by marine conservation organisation Sea Shepherd, which had been taking part in a joint operation in Tanzania with other African fishing authorities, took up the pursuit.
Under the command of the Tanzanian navy, it chased the Andrey Dolgov for several days towards the Seychelles, sending back images of it from a drone, further helping to confirm its identity.

“The fishing vessel left Mozambique’s waters to find refuge on the high seas,” says Peter Hammarstedt, director of campaigns at Sea Shepherd.
“What was amazing was the Tanzanian authorities decided to leave their own waters to pursue it even though it hadn’t committed crime in Tanzania or entered its waters.”

Without the authority to board the vessel outside Tanzanian waters, however, they were eventually forced to give up the chase.

The authorities in Indonesia have taken a zero tolerance approach to illegal fishing, destroying another notorious illegal fishing vessel, the F/V Viking (Credit: Getty Images)

Kilgour and his team gave Interpol updates about the fleeing fishing boat’s position every four hours, using its speed and direction to calculate where it might be heading.

For most states, there is a reluctance to give chase and seize rogue vessels like this.
The jurisdictional quagmire makes it tricky, but then there is also the expense of such a seizure.
The vessels – often badly maintained – can be a pollution risk, they often need to be repaired, the catch on board needs to be disposed of safely and the crew need to be repatriated.
Pests can be a problem on board and you must also post 24-hour security.

“Even developed countries are reluctant to do this,” says Bradley Soule, chief fisheries analyst at OceanMind.
“So, it is hardly surprising that developing nations would rather not.”

Fortunately, the Andrey Dolgov was heading towards one of the few nations that aggressively targets illegal fishing vessels.
Indonesia, under the leadership of the country’s minister for maritime affairs and fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti, has seized and destroyed 488 illegal fishing vessels since 2014.
Among those was another Antarctic toothfish poacher, the F/V Viking, which was the last of a notorious group of fishing vessels known as the Bandit Six, operating illegally in the Southern Ocean, thousands of miles from Indonesia’s waters.

To make the point that illegal fishing would not be tolerated, no matter where it took place, Pudjiastuti had the F/V Viking spectacularly blown up on a sandbank off the shore of Pangandaran, West Java.
With another notorious fish pirate heading into its waters, Pudjiastuti gave the Indonesian navy her endorsement to order an interception.

But as the vessel came into the busy Malacca straits, the satellite signal from its AIS transponder was lost among the mess of other signals in the area.
Instead the Indonesian navy had to rely upon the calculations made using the information supplied by Kilgour and his team to estimate where the fishing boat might be.
They dispatched the KRI Simeulue 2, a coastal patrol boat, to stop it.
“The last 72 hours saw sleepless nights for everyone involved,” says Interpol’s McDonnell.

As the Andrey Dolgov came into range, however, the Simeulue 2 and land based coastguard stations began picking up its AIS signal, allowing them to home in on the rogue vessel.
Once they had visually confirmed the identity, the Simeulue 2 raced alongside around 60 miles from the southeast side of Weh Island, Sebang, ordering the captain of the fishing vessel to stop so he could be boarded.

Indonesia has destroyed hundreds of illegal fishing vessels by burning them, or sinking them off shore (Credit: Getty Images)

Once aboard, the naval officers found the captain and five other officers to be Russian and Ukranian.
The rest of the crew consisted 20 Indonesians who later claimed they had no idea the vessel was fishing illegally.
They were treated by the authorities as if were victims of human trafficking and slavery after being duped into working on board.

The captain, a Russian citizen named as Aleksandr Matveev, was later sentenced to four months in prison and fined Rp200 million (£10,800) after being found guilty of illegal fishing.
The other Russian and Ukranian offers were deported to their home countries.
“After the inspection, we discovered that F/V STS-50 violated Indonesian fisheries law,” says Pudjiastuti.
“Illegal fishing is a public enemy and every state should provide assistance in terms of eliminating it.”

But the investigation has not stopped there.
Specialised digital forensics teams have pored over the wealth of intelligence contained within the fishing vessel’s bridge, its on-board computer systems, navigational instruments and the captain’s mobile phone.

It is helping the international authorities piece together the wider criminal web that the vessel operated in.
While the Andrey Dolgov was registered as belonging to Red Star Company Ltd, domiciled in Belize, the suspected owner is a Russian citizen who has an office in South Korea and has conducted several bank transactions in New York.
The boat is thought to have links to Russian organised crime.

Interpol are now helping law enforcement agencies in a number of countries to track down the criminals who operated the Andrey Dolgov, counterfeited its documents, helped to launder its catches and the money it made.

Many of the crew on board the Andrey Dolgov, or STS-50 as it had re-named itself, were suspected of being forced labour
(Credit: Getty Images)

“The work doesn’t stop with the capture of the vessel,” says McDonnell.
“There are still quite a lot of questions to be answered.
These organisations are tightknit, often run within families or as a “dark” business disguised with legitimate companies.
We are looking at how the criminals set their business models up, how they turn the fish into money.
Until recently they have been able to operate with almost complete impunity.
That is changing now.”

OceanMind too are developing new technology to help track down other vessels that try to hide or obscure their identity more easily.
They will combine this with the artificial intelligence it uses to help identify vessels and determine whether the boats have permission to be operating in the areas where they are.

Others too are developing ways of combating illegal fishing.
Katie St John Glew at Southampton, for example, is developing ways to use the chemical isotopes in fish to trace in which part of the ocean fish were caught.
These isotope tracers come from the food the fish were feeding on before they were caught, and so could be used to identify products that are on sale but were caught illegally.

As for the Andrey Dolgov itself, it could soon play a role in catching the criminals like those who operated it.
Rather than blow it up, Pudjiastuti decided to have the boat converted so it can join the Indonesian fisheries enforcement fleet.
It will serve as a symbol of the country’s war on illegal fishing and as a message to the fish pirates – they are running out of places to hide.

Links :

Monday, February 18, 2019

Tel Aviv uses underwater concrete structures to increase marine biodiversity

ECOncrete. Our full story in a short video, like you have never heard before.
Thank you Nas Daily for making our scientific, complicated pitch to such a simple and compelling story.
This is how we change the world; one block at a time.

From CTech by Tofi Stoler

Tel Aviv is using underwater concrete structures to increase marine biodiversity in one of its shores.
To do so, Atarim Group, a city owned corporation in charge of developing Tel Aviv’s coastline areas, has partnered with Israel-based startup ECOncrete Tech Ltd., which develops eco-friendly underwater structures.

Earlier this week, the city placed three of ECOncrete’s tide pool units in the waters surrounding the Jaffa port, ECOncrete’s co-founder and CEO Shimrit Perkol-Finkel said in a phone interview with Calcalist Thursday.
Perkol-Finkel announced the project in a LinkedIn post Tuesday.

Founded in 2012 by Perkol-Finkel and Ido Sella, both marine ecologists, ECOncrete manufactures concrete structures that accelerate the growth of marine plants and animals, including fish, coral reefs, seaweed, and sea anemone.

Our mission is to provide clients with fully constructive concrete products, designs, and practical solutions that reduce the infrastructure’s ecological footprint while enhancing their structural performance.
We work hand in hand with developers, authorities, contractors, landscape architects, engineers and ecologists interested in working through the structural demands and ecological challenges of their projects.

ECOncrete’s products—sea mattresses, seawalls, and tide pools—are meant to be integrated into critical shoreline infrastructures, such as breakwaters, ports, docks, and underwater pipelines. ECOncrete developed a bio-enhancing material, which it adds to its concrete mix to reduce carbon footprint and encourage fauna and flora growth.

The structures are designed with crevices and textures that mimic natural surfaces such as rocks to encourage living organisms to develop on their surface.

 Installation of ECOncrete's tide pools in Jaffa earlier this week.
Photo: ECOncrete

The biological layer also protects the infrastructure from corrosion and erosion, reducing the need for future repairs, Perkol-Finkel said.
ECOncrete’s underwater products are currently installed at Brooklyn Bridge Park, at the Port of Rotterdam, at Israel's Herzliya Marina, and at a military naval base in Haifa.

Links :

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Greenland, land of ice

Greenland - "Since 8 years I'm traveling to this magical country. Today quiet and untouched places are becoming more and more rare. On my first visit to Greenland, I was fascinated by the incredible power of nature that can be felt everywhere. But during the last years things have changed. The amount of icebergs is increasing savagely. Glaciers I'm visiting every year are retreating not meters but kilometers a year and the unending amount of ice seems to be endless. There is nothing more beautiful than an iceberg - everyone is unique and the light reflecting from its surface is magical. It's sad how close beauty and decay can be seen in an iceberg. This movie is is an appreciation to the ice - for me the most amazing aggregate state of water."

Behind the scenes (other video)

For this short film I travelled to Greenland with my drones several times.
Always with the target of a certain region in a certain light situation.
The shots from the calving glacier took me 4 days at the Eqi Glacier and over 75 battery charges for only 4 usable shots of a few seconds.
It's a very hard intention to film the very right moment on a glacier front of about 6km wide - especially close up.
But the hardest thing of flying in Greenland is the fact, that every 2-3 minutes the difference between the magnetic north and the geographic north (which are not the same place - especially so far north) causing a fatal p-gps flight error and the drone is flying away (also the camera's horizon).
But at the end every single flight was worth it - filming Icebergs from above is one of the most beautiful things I've ever done.
Additionally I used the drone to scout the landing spot and look for polar bears.
The best thing for bears and humans is to not meet each other on shore.