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Ocean Research


October 2014 Issue

DNV GL, SGS Project Advances Underwater Wet Welding
DNV GL (Høvik, Norway) and Subsea Global Solutions (Miami, Florida) have completed an extensive joint research and development program that will allow permanent repairs to be carried out by underwater wet welding on certain areas of vessels.

Subsea Global Solutions’ (SGS) global network of coded welder divers will be available to perform these permanent repairs on a case-by-case basis utilizing this procedure in suit- able locations throughout the world in accordance with the approvals given by DNV GL.

Over the last two and a half years, Subsea Global Solutions welded in excess of 80 groove weld test plates underwater at depth in their training facilities in Miami; Long Beach, California; and Terneuzen, Netherlands. The nondestructive and mechanical testing of the plates were performed at the DNV GL lab in Hamburg, Germany. At the end of April 2014, test plates were welded in the training tank in Miami. The nondestructive and destructive testing were again performed at the DNV GL lab in Hamburg. The results of the nondestructive and destructive testing were very positive, with all welded test plates exhibiting metallurgical properties equivalent to permanent weld repairs performed top-side dry.

BOEM Addresses Environmental Concerns on Atlantic G&G
William Y. Brown, BOEM’s chief environmental officer, has publicized answers to frequently asked questions about the Atlantic Geological and Geophysical (G&G) Activities Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS), including those concerning marine life impact. “To date, there has been no documented scientific evidence of noise from air guns used in geological and geophysical (G&G) seismic activities adversely affecting marine animal populations or coastal communities,” he wrote. “This technology has been used for more than 30 years around the world. It is still used in U.S. waters off of the Gulf of Mexico with no known detrimental impact to marine animal populations or to commercial fishing.”

He added, “Airguns are powerful, and protections need to be in place to prevent harm. That is why mitigation measures—like required distance between surveys and marine mammals and time and area closures for certain species—are so critical.”

As to the question of whether the federal government is opening the entire Atlantic coast to offshore oil and gas drilling, “The decision to authorize G&G activities for all three program areas (oil and gas, renewable energy and marine minerals) does not authorize leasing for oil and gas exploration and development in the Atlantic. Those decisions will be addressed through the development of the next Five-Year Program for oil and gas leasing. BOEM is at the beginning of the process to develop that program pursuant to the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. The planning process will take two-and-a- half to three years to complete and will offer many opportunities for the public to provide input... BOEM will conduct site-specific environmental reviews for any permit applications.”

Some Fish Survived Ancient Asteroid Crash
Sixty-six million years ago, an asteroid crashed on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, throwing up a cloud of dust that enveloped the planet in darkness for at least several months. Scientists generally accept that this killed the dinosaurs. A new study, published in Nature Geoscience and led by researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, establishes that the same event killed off some of the world’s fish—but not all of them.

The crash devastated marine life in the Atlantic Ocean for millions of years, but life continued in the Pacific Ocean virtually unscathed by the Cretaceous/Paleogene mass extinction.

The study doesn’t answer why marine life in the Pacific managed so much better than in the Atlantic.

The researchers analyzed fossil records in Gubbio, Italy, that contain sediments from the ancient Atlantic Ocean. They saw at fine time scales how marine life fared by observing the teeth and scales of fossilized fish. The team performed the same analysis on fossil remains that had been cored from deep-ocean sediment in the Pacific.

In both ocean basins, the record shows that the event wiped out many of the primary producers—phytoplankton and zooplankton—at the base of the ocean food web and the top predators—such as mosasaurs and ammonites.

But in the Pacific Ocean, they found that the smaller fish in the middle survived, perhaps supported by phytoplankton that survived.

New Seamount Found Near Johnson Atoll
University of New Hampshire scientists on a seafloor mapping mission have discovered a new seamount near the Johnson Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. The summit of the seamount rises 1,100 meters from the 5,100-meter- deep ocean floor. The seamount, located about 300 kilometers southeast of the uninhabited Jarvis Island, lies in one of the least explored areas of the central Pacific Ocean. Since only low-resolution satellite data exists for most of the Earth’s seafloor, many seamounts of this size are not resolved in the satellite data, but advanced multibeam echosounder missions can resolve them.

The seamount was discovered during a mapping mission in support of the U.S. Extended Continental Shelf Task Force to delineate the outer limits of the U.S. Continental Shelf.

Optimarin BWT System Chosen For Norway Research Vessel
Norway’s Institute of Marine Research has selected Optimarin’s (Sandnes, Norway) ballast water treatment (BWT) system for its new flagship, Dr. Fridtjof Nansen. The system will ensure the newbuild inactivates marine organisms transported in its ballast tanks, safeguarding the ecosystems examined on its high-profile scientific assignments.

The research vessel is an ST-369 design currently under construction at the Astilleros Gondan shipyard in Spain. Upon completion in 2016 it will undertake assignments in developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, assisting in the sustainable management of natural resources.


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