May 24, 2018
2018 Ocean Awards Gala Honorees Announced
Every year, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation honors individuals and organizations whose professional or personal accomplishments make a difference in ensuring a healthy future for the ocean and Great Lakes. The 2018 Ocean Awards Gala, to be held June 5 in Washington, D.C., is part of Capitol Hill Ocean Week (CHOW).
At the 2018 event, Gordon and Betty Moore will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for their critical leadership on environmental conservation and science. Will Benson, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary’s Volunteer of the Year, will receive this year’s national Volunteer of the Year Award. James Honeyborne, executive producer for BBC Studio’s Natural History Unit, will accept the Conservation Innovation Award for the groundbreaking documentary series “Blue Planet II.”
Sonar Used to Find the Origins of Stonehenge
Josh Gates from the Travel Channel series “Expedition Unknown” travels to his ancestral home of Great Britain to explore the origins of Stonehenge. From high in the air to deep under the sea, he finds an unexpected network of monuments that could have inspired one of history’s most mystical locations.
A recently released video shows how Teledyne BlueView’s 3D multibeam scanning sonars are used to find and map what is believed to be the original inspiration for Stonehenge. Watch the video on Teledyne’s The Marine Channel.
Source: Teledyne Marine
Online Tool Helps Ship Operators Gauge
Sulphur Emissions Compliance
Lloyd’s Register (LR) has launched the “Sulphur 2020 – Options Evaluator” to help the industry identify the best strategy for compliance with the global sulphur in fuel oil limit of 0.50 percent m/m, which comes into effect on January 1, 2020.
The Options Evaluator aims to bring some much-needed clarity to what the potential cost and investment implications could be for the various compliance strategies, such as transition from fuel oil to MGO, use of scrubbers and HSFO or use of other compliant fuels such as LNG or methanol.
There is no clear strategy to compliance. It is dependent on trading patterns, distance traveled, speed, size and type of vessels. The Options Evaluator allows ship operators to compare different compliance strategies by reviewing emissions output and comparing the different CAPEX and OPEX implications of each option.
The Sulphur 2020 – Options Evaluator can be accessed at www.lr.org/en/sulphur-2020-options-evaluator.
Source: Lloyd’s Register
Titanic Survey Expedition Rescheduled to 2019
OceanGate has rescheduled its 2018 Titanic Survey Expedition to the summer of 2019.
To conduct the first manned expedition to Titanic since 2005, OceanGate built Titan, their newest five-person submersible that is designed to dive to depths of 4,000 m (2.5 mi.). The final phase of preparation for the expedition includes testing the carbon-fiber and titanium sub to the maximum design depth. The test plan includes a series of dives in an incremental stair step approach to reach 4,000 m in a safe and controlled manner.
Deep-sea testing began in late April near Marsh Harbour in the Bahamas. Upon arrival, the sub’s electronics sustained lightning damage that affected more than 70 percent of its internal systems. Combined with uncharacteristically stormy and windy conditions in the Bahamas, the team was unable to complete the first 4,000-m dive at least 45 days prior to the Titanic Survey Expedition. This milestone was a key decision point in the testing timeline and a trigger for a go/no-go decision to conduct the expedition in 2018.
Source: OceanGate Inc.
Image caption: OceanGate’s Titan, formerly known as Cyclops 2, a five-person submersible designed to dive to depths of 4,000 m.
Study Assesses Chinese Carbon Production
And a ‘New Phase of Globalization’
New research reveals the growth of carbon production from Chinese exports has slowed or reversed, reflecting a “new phase of globalization” between developing countries that could undermine international efforts to reduce emissions.
The study, involving researchers from the University of East Anglia (UEA) and colleagues in China and the United States, investigated how complex supply chains are distributing energy-intensive industries and their CO2 emissions throughout the global South. It found that trade among developing nations—known as South-South trade—more than doubled between 2004 and 2011.
Some production activities are relocating from China and India to other developing countries, such as Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand, particularly for raw materials and intermediate goods production in energy-intensive sectors. In turn, the growth of CO2 emissions embodied in Chinese exports has slowed or reversed, while the emissions embodied in exports, such as textiles, from less-developed regions such as Vietnam and Bangladesh have surged.
International trade increased by more than 50 percent from 2005 to 2015, with approximately 60% percent of the increase tied to rising exports from developing countries. Yet over the same period, South-South trade grew even faster—more than tripling—to reach 57 percent of all developing country exports ($9.3 trillion) in 2014. The authors warn this trend may seriously undermine international efforts to reduce global emissions that increasingly rely on rallying voluntary contributions of more, smaller and less-developed nations.
Read the full text of the open-access paper “The rise of South-South trade and its effect on global CO2 emissions” at Nature Communications.
Source: University of East Anglia
Image Credit: NASA/GSFC
New Asia-Pacific VP Hired at KVH
Mark Guthrie has been named as vice president of KVH Industries Inc. for the Asia-Pacific region. Guthrie will oversee all KVH activities in this area, which is of vital importance in the mobile connectivity market. Mobile tech innovator KVH provides connectivity solutions for the maritime market, including global mini-VSAT broadband services used by thousands of vessels worldwide.
Guthrie joined KVH in 2013 and has held a variety of roles, most recently serving as vice president for global channel management. His extensive experience in the satellite communications and telecom industries includes roles held prior to joining KVH at SES, BT (British Telecom), Europe Star and Verestar. He will work out of KVH’s Asia-Pacific headquarters located in Singapore.
Source: KVH Industries Inc.
Image caption: Mark Guthrie
June 4—Washington, D.C.
Capitol Hill Ocean Week (CHOW)
June 5-7—Washington, D.C.
May 10, 2018
Hydrophone in Monterey Bay
Provides Live Stream of Ocean Sounds
Starting this week, anyone can eavesdrop on sounds in the deep sea via a continuous streaming YouTube video that carries live sound from 900 m below the surface of Monterey Bay. The sounds on the stream come from an underwater microphone (hydrophone) that the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) placed on the seafloor in 2015. The hydrophone is located about 30 km from shore, just west of Monterey Bay. It is attached to the Monterey Accelerated Research System (MARS) undersea cabled observatory, which carries data from the hydrophone back to shore.
Although the MARS hydrophone is located on the deep seafloor, most of the sounds it picks up are from animals and activities higher up in the water or even at the sea surface. For example, it is common for the hydrophone to pick up the calls of sea lions, dolphins and other near-surface animals, as well as the sounds of rain, waves and wind blowing over the sea surface.
High-pitched sounds, such as dolphin clicks, do not travel very far through the water, so if these sounds show up in the stream they are probably being generated within a few kilometers of the hydrophone. However, the low-pitched sounds of ship engines can travel dozens of kilometers, and some whale calls may come from animals hundreds of kilometers from Monterey Bay.
The MARS hydrophone can capture sounds both above and below the range of human hearing. The live stream does not carry high-pitched sounds above human hearing, but it does include very low sounds such as those produced by some whales. Listeners can hear these sounds if they have good headphones or subwoofer speakers.
In addition to hearing sounds from the hydrophone, listeners can also see the sounds in the form of a spectrogram that scrolls across the screen of the YouTube video. There is a 30-min. delay for computer processing and archiving between the time when the sounds are captured by the hydrophone and the time that they show up on the screen.
To help listeners explore the variety of sounds from the hydrophone, the MBARI team also prepared an online listening room web page. Recordings on this web page help visitors learn about the calls made by different types of whales and dolphins, as well as natural processes such as rain and earthquakes.
For researchers and others who would like to explore sounds previously detected by the hydrophone, the MBARI team created a web page where visitors can browse through 2.5 years of spectrograms, located here, which allows searches by sound type, day or month.
MBARI researchers are collaborating with scientists at the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, the University of California at Santa Cruz, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and others to analyze the sounds from the MARS hydrophone. Their work is revealing new information about the behavior of whales and other marine mammals along the Central California coast.
Image Caption: Humpback whales are one of most common whales heard on the MARS hydrophone. The inset shows a spectrogram of humpback whale songs from Monterey Bay. Whale image courtesy of NOAA.
WWII Unexploded Ordnance to Be
Removed for Viking Link Project
U.K. and Netherlands-based subsea provider N-Sea has secured a contract estimated to be in excess of €6 million with National Grid and Energinet to deliver an unexploded ordnance (UXO) clearance campaign for the Viking Link Project.
Due to start mid-May, the contract is part of a high-profile project for the installation of a subsea power cable between the U.K. and Denmark. The project consists of a proposed 473-mi.-long electricity interconnector between Bicker Fen near Boston and the substation Revsing in southern Jutland, Denmark.
Mobilizing the Noordhoek Pathfinder and MagSense, N-Sea’s UXO detection system developed in conjunction with EIVA, the initial phase will involve N-Sea conducting a seismic sonar, multibeam and gradiometer survey along the Viking Link route. The second phase will involve the identification and on-site detonation of any UXOs found in the area.
Image Caption: The Noordhoek Pathfinder.
Lake Champlain Sea Grant
Achieves Institutional Status
NOAA and the National Sea Grant College Program announced the designation of the Lake Champlain Sea Grant program as a Sea Grant Institute.
Lake Champlain Sea Grant earned the honor as an Institutional Program for demonstrating excellence in research, education and public service dedicated to the environmentally responsible management and development of U.S. marine, coastal and Great Lakes resources.
The designation as an Institute makes Lake Champlain Sea Grant eligible for increases in federal research funds up to $1 million to support its strategic goals. The program first began as a Sea Grant outreach project in 1998 and was elevated to a Sea Grant Coherent Area Program after positive performance review in 2012.
Source: NOAA Sea Grant
Young Designer Joins Navalmartin Team
Navalmartin introduces the newest member of its team, industrial designer Agostina Alonso. She will be based at Navalmartin’s design studio in Poland where she will work alongside the team on a number of exciting projects in its growing design portfolio.
Alonso studied at Buenos Aires University (UBA), and later practiced at AF Design and Imantados Estudio, where she was involved in graphic design and product development. In addition to her design attributes, Alonso is also an accomplished sailor. She started sailing at 10 years old.
“Not only will I be contributing to Navalmartin’s growing design portfolio, but I will also be getting the opportunity to support the team as a key member of the crew on board St. Christopher, taking part in the company’s annual classic sailing program,” Alonso said.
Houston Mechatronics Releases
Shape-Shifting AUV-ROV Robot
Houston Mechatronics announced a new subsea robot, Aquanaut, a multipurpose subsea robot that employs a shape-shifting transformation from an AUV to an ROV, removing the need for vessels and tethers. The vehicle enables both data collection over long distances and manipulation of subsea objects.
Aquanaut was designed to operate over-the-horizon with onshore operator supervision. It removes the need for on-site vessels and people from subsea work while still maintaining the operator’s situational awareness and the ability to modify missions. This means increasing standoff distance and safer conditions for the warfighter and lower costs for commercial customers.
Source: Houston Mechatronics
Former AGU Executive Director
A. F. ‘Fred’ Spilhaus Jr. Passes
The American Geophysical Union (AGU) has reported that former executive director A. F. “Fred” Spilhaus Jr. died on April 30 at the age of 79. During his leadership as executive director from 1970 to 2009, his major accomplishments included huge expansions of AGU membership, staff and the organization’s income. He also introduced new scientific journals, conferences and was editor in chief of AGU’s “Earth & Space Science News” website, Eos.
Spilhaus held a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in oceanography. He began working at AGU under its original executive director, Waldo E. Smith, and Spilhaus received the Waldo E. Smith medal after his retirement. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is accepting donations in Spilhaus’s name. Read the full Eos obituary at https://doi.org/10.1029/2018EO098123.
Image Caption: A. F. “Fred” Spilhaus Jr. (Credit: AGU)
Fisheries Management in Estuarine and Coastal Waters
May 23-24—Lancaster, England
Oceans ’18 MTS/IEEE Kobe
May 28-31—Kobe, Japan
April 26, 2018
AAPA Urges US Trade Representative
To Consider Ports Impact of Trade Restrictions
The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) sent a letter April 19 to urge U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Robert Lighthizer to carefully consider the negative impacts that trade sanctions and remedies can have on port and other trade-related American jobs nationwide, including the effects of likely retaliatory responses from U.S. trading partners.
From the letter: “Seaports are at the frontlines of the current uncertainties surrounding U.S. trade policy. It is important to recognize that international trade, both exports and imports, is good for American workers and our national economy. Seaports serve as the gateway to domestic and international trade, connecting large and small U.S. businesses to expanding international markets. As international trade hubs, seaports are vital economic engines. Seaport cargo activity accounts for over one quarter of the U.S. economy, generates nearly $4.6 trillion in total annual economic activity and is responsible for $321 billion annually in federal, state and local tax revenues. The cargo moving through U.S. ports supports more than 23 million American jobs.
“It is also important to recognize potential impacts on U.S. exports. For every $1 billion in exports shipped through U.S. seaports, 15,000 jobs are created. We support and encourage steps focused on expanding exports rather than creating new import restrictions…
“A 2016 AAPA survey showed that ports and their private sector partners plan to invest significantly in improving port infrastructure by spending $155 billion between 2016 and 2020. As businessmen, however, they are concerned about making these investments in an unstable trade environment. Eliminating that uncertainty is especially important as this Administration seeks to find partners to build America’s infrastructure. You can help stabilize the market by focusing on expanding U.S. exports and finding cooperative ways to address any current trade inequities.
“America has always been a trading and maritime nation. It has made our country strong and a world leader in international trade. We believe it’s vital that the U.S. economy and jobs can continue to benefit from jobs generated by trade, both exports and imports.”
Read the full letter here.
All-Electric Ship Now in Use for
Norwegian Coastal Tourism
Tourist ship owner and operator The Fjords has taken delivery of a vessel it believes sets new standards for environmentally responsible passenger transport. Future of The Fjords, a 42-m-long carbon-fiber 400 PAX all-electric catamaran, will begin operation in mid-May, making about 700 yearly roundtrips along the spectacular UNESCO World Heritage-listed fjord route between Flåm and Gudvangen. It is the first vessel of its kind to offer completely emissions-free transport through the beautiful, yet fragile western Norwegian landscape.
Future of The Fjords is the sister ship to Vision of The Fjords, a diesel-electric hybrid launched in 2016. Both ships are designed and constructed by Norwegian shipyard Brødrene Aa, with hulls that mirror the zig-zagging mountain paths they sail beside.
The 144 million NOK vessel is propelled by two 450-kW electric motors, enabling cruising speeds of 16 kt. along the spectacular 90-min. voyage each way.
In another first, The Fjords has, in partnership with Brødrene Aa, developed a unique charging solution called the Power Dock. This 40-m-long, 5-m-wide floating glass-fiber dock will sit in the water at Gudvangen, housing a 2.4-MWh battery pack. This charges steadily throughout the day via connection to the local grid network, which does not have the capacity to charge the Future of The Fjords directly. The innovative solution allows the vessel to stably, efficiently and cost effectively refill in just 20 min.
The dock also stores consumables and fuel for sister vessels, and allows black water to be offloaded for treatment on land. This makes Future of The Fjords the only passenger vessel not to discharge sewage directly into the fjords.
Source: The Fjords
DeepOcean Acquires Delta SubSea,
Moves into U.S. Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a key region for DeepOcean, and owning and expanding a platform for the provision of life-of-field subsea services to customers is one of its main strategic objectives, so the company has acquired Delta SubSea LLC and expanded its presence in the region.
Delta SubSea provides inspection maintenance and repair (IMR) and light construction services, with a strong focus on the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and U.S.-based customers with international operations in locations such as West Africa, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana. The company owns and operates 10 Schilling-manufactured ROVs from its operating base in Montgomery, Texas. Delta SubSea has an engineering and consulting division and an in-house subsea tooling solutions division.
Delta SubSea’s ROV fleet is currently mobilized on a fleet of six state-of-the-art subsea construction vessels, four of which are Jones Act-compliant.
This acquisition will allow DeepOcean to expand its current operations in the Mexican segment of the Gulf into the U.S. segment. Delta SubSea will also be DeepOcean’s vehicle for offshore renewables projects in U.S. waters.
Source: DeepOcean Group
Record Concentration of Microplastics
Found in Arctic Sea Ice
Experts at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) have recently found higher amounts of microplastic in Arctic sea ice than ever before. The majority of particles were microscopically small. The ice samples from five regions throughout the Arctic Ocean contained up to 12,000 microplastic particles per liter of sea ice. Further, the different types of plastic showed a unique footprint in the ice allowing the researchers to trace them back to possible sources. This involves the massive garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean, while, in turn, the high percentage of paint and nylon particles pointed to the intensified shipping and fishing activities in some parts of the Arctic Ocean. The new study has just been released in the journal Nature Communications.
The AWI research team gathered the ice samples in the course of three expeditions to the Arctic Ocean on board the research icebreaker Polarstern in the spring of 2014 and summer of 2015. They hail from five regions along the Transpolar Drift and the Fram Strait, which transports sea ice from the Central Arctic to the North Atlantic.
A considerable amount of microplastic is released directly into the ocean by the gradual deterioration of larger pieces of plastic. But microplastic can also be created on land by laundering synthetic textiles or abrasion of car tires, which initially floats through the air as dust and is then blown to the ocean by the wind, or finds its way there through sewer networks.
The researchers found a total of 17 different types of plastic in the sea ice, including packaging materials like polyethylene and polypropylene, but also paints, nylon, polyester and cellulose acetate; the latter is primarily used in the manufacture of cigarette filters. Taken together, these six materials accounted for roughly half of all the microplastic particles detected.
The team of researchers also learned that ice floes, which are driven in the Pacific water masses of the Canadian Basin, contain particularly high concentrations of polyethylene particles. Polyethylene is above all used in packaging material. In contrast, the scientists predominantly found paint particles from ship paint and nylon waste from fishing nets in ice from the shallow marginal seas of Siberia.
Source: Alfred Wegener Institute
Image Copyright Alfred-Wegener-Institute / Mar Fernandez
NOIA Presents the 2018 Safety-in-Seas Awards
The National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) presented the 2018 Safety-in-Seas (SIS) Safety Practice Award to Deepwater Wind in recognition of its innovative safety practices during and after the installation of Block Island Wind Farm. Deepwater Wind logged more than 40,000 offshore person-hours without a safety incident during Block Island Wind Farm’s first year of operation.
The 2018 NOIA Safety-in-Seas (SIS) Culture of Safety Award was awarded to EnVen Energy Corp. in recognition of its remarkable safety culture transformation between 2013 and 2017. EnVen’s integrated approach to cultural transformation included improvements in communication, training, job safety analyses, safety and compliance audits, and incident investigation management. As a result of these improvements, Enven’s total recordable incident rate has seen a 75 percent improvement.
Both awards were presented during NOIA’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., April 12, 2018. NOIA has held the SIS awards competition since 1978 to recognize those who contribute to improving the safety of life in the offshore energy industry. The awards are sponsored by Sea Technology magazine’s publisher, Compass Publications Inc.
Image Caption: (L-R) Steve Weyel, CEO, EnVen Energy Corp.; David Carmony, COO, EnVen Energy Corp.; Dave Welch, chairman, NOIA; Jeff Grybowski, CEO, Deepwater Wind.
Saying Goodbye to a True Champion:
Marilyn C. Link
It’s now been several weeks since we heard the unexpected news. It’s still hard to imagine not seeing her roaming the halls of Harbor Branch or working the crowd at many local functions. It’s hard to imagine she won’t be stopping by my office or sitting next to me at our next board meeting. It’s hard to imagine that this vital force, this wise woman with such a big heart, is no longer with us.
The official accounting of her 94 years young was summed up in her obituary: Marilyn Calmes Link, sister of famed inventor Edwin A. Link, died March 19, 2018. She was born in Glendale, California in 1924. She graduated with B.S. and M.S. degrees in education. Her career included teaching and working in the airline industry. She was recognized with prestigious awards for her numerous accomplishments, including the University Aviation Association Award, the Florida Atlantic University (FAU) President’s Distinguished Service Medallion, and honorary doctorate degrees from the State University of New York and Florida Institute of Technology. In 1974, she started serving as trustee and managing director of Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, now part of FAU as the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI). After her retirement in 1982, she served on the HBOI Foundation and was named emeritus in 2008. She served as secretary-treasurer and trustee of the Link Foundation, an organization dedicated to the advancement of ocean engineering, simulation, aerospace and energy research, where she remained a special adviser until her death.
Marilyn was deeply respected by so many colleagues and loved by so many friends and nieces, nephews and godchildren. She will be missed.
–Katha Kissman, president and CEO, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Foundation
April 12, 2018
Department of Interior Proposes Offshore Wind Leasing, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Calls for Interest
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke last week announced the proposed lease sale for two additional areas offshore the U.S. state of Massachusetts for commercial wind energy leasing, totaling nearly 390,000 acres. A Proposed Sale Notice (PSN) for Commercial Leasing for Wind Power on the Outer Continental Shelf Offshore Massachusetts was published in the Federal Register April 11, 2018 and includes a 60-day public comment period.
The document provides detailed information concerning the area available for leasing, the proposed lease provisions and conditions, auction details (e.g., criteria for evaluating competing bids and award procedures) and lease execution. Comments received electronically or postmarked by the end of the public comment period will be made available to the public and considered before the publication of the Final Sale Notice, which will announce the time and date of the lease sale. For information on how to submit comments, visit https://www.boem.gov/Massachusetts/.
In addition, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) published a call for information and nominations to obtain nominations from companies interested in commercial wind energy leases within the proposed area in the New York Bight. This region represents an area of shallow waters between Long Island (to the north and east) and the New Jersey coast (to the south and west).
BOEM also seeks public input on the potential for wind energy development in the call area. This includes site conditions, resources and multiple uses in close proximity to, or within, the call areas that would be relevant to BOEM’s review of any nominations submitted, as well as BOEM’s subsequent decision whether to offer all or part of the call areas for commercial wind leasing.
The four call areas include 222 whole Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) blocks and 172 partial blocks and comprise approximately 2,047 sq. mi. The call includes a 45-day public comment period. A map of the call areas can be obtained via BOEM’s website at: www.boem.gov/NY-Bight/, which also includes instructions on how to comment.
Caption: An aerial view of Block Island Wind Farm, the first commercial offshore wind farm in the U.S. (Photo Credit: Image used under Creative Commons permissions from users Ionna22/Finavon.)
Natural Processes and Ecological Forces Can
Help Drive Recovery of Coral Reef Ecosystems
Global declines of coral reefs—particularly in the Caribbean—have spurred efforts to grow corals in underwater nurseries and transplant them to enable recovery. However, current approaches rarely incorporate the key ecological reef processes critical to facilitating restoration and improving the odds of success.
In a new paper published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) scientists and their colleagues advocate for the integration of essential natural processes to exploit dynamic ecological forces and drive recovery of coral reef ecosystems. Using existing scientific literature coupled with original research, they outline a scientific framework aimed at advancing the emerging field of coral restoration.
“We don’t have a lot of science to guide how we actually conduct coral restoration,” said co-author Deron Burkepile, an associate professor in UCSB’s Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology (EEMB). “The next phase of coral restoration must focus on harnessing ecological processes that drive community dynamics on coral reefs to help facilitate the establishment and growth of restored corals.”
The researchers examined five critical ecological processes—herbivory, competition, predation, nutrient cycling and recruitment—that drive coral reef functions to determine how to maximize recovery of an endangered coral species, Acropora cervicornis. Also known as staghorn coral, this large fast-growing species is common in the Caribbean.
The ecologists posit that restoration practitioners can control factors such as the density, diversity and identity of corals outplanted as well as site selection and transplant design to restore positive, or break negative, feedback processes—and by doing so increase the success of restoration efforts. Their analysis demonstrates that intermediate densities can maximize growth rates while minimizing mortality—a positive density-dependent feedback.
Caption: A juvenile blue tang swims amid staghorn coral, Acropora cervicornis. (Photo Credit: Mark Ladd)
Office of Naval Research Develops
New Approach to Warfighter Innovation
Responding to a call from top military leaders to accelerate delivery of technology to the warfighter, officials from the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) in March launched a program designed to spur innovation in the Navy and Marine Corps. The kickoff session—held at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California—officially began the Naval Innovation Process Adoption, or NIPA.
The NIPA program is designed to solve problems facing naval organizations, from contracts to warfare centers. It includes timelines to move an idea into a research phase and on to delivery of prototypes, and it is based upon giving the Navy and Marine Corps a common language and approach for solving those problems. Currently, technology development and acquisition can take years. In some cases, new technology is outdated by the time it reaches the warfighter.
NIPA is based on a method called H4X, which combines some of the best entrepreneurial methodologies found in Silicon Valley, and it was designed by Steve Blank, an adjunct professor at Stanford University; retired Army Col. Pete Newell, former head of the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force; and the team at BMNT, a company that builds tools to solve some of the world’s toughest problems.
H4X is a problem-solving method used by various organizations across the Department of Defense (DoD) and other government agencies. Hacking for Defense, or H4D for short, is a variant offered by a growing number of universities to create a pipeline of young technologists and entrepreneurs who are willing to take on some of the nation’s toughest challenges.
“Using best-of-breed tools and methodologies, H4X was built as an evidence-based, data-driven, disciplined process for solving the world’s toughest challenges at speed and scale,” said Pete Newell of BMNT Partners. “We are exceptionally proud of the results achieved by others who have applied it in the DoD and intelligence agencies, and look forward to seeing it drive innovation for our naval forces.”
Caption: Dr. Richard Carlin (left), head of ONR’s Sea Warfare and Weapons Department, and retired Army Col. Pete Newell, managing partner, BMNT Partners. (Photo Credit: David McGinn)
Source: Office of Naval Research
GenNx360 Capital Partners
Acquires Subsea Global Solutions
GenNx360 Capital Partners, a New York-based private equity firm that invests in middle-market business services and industrial companies, announced acquisition of Subsea Global Solutions, effective March 29, 2018.
Subsea is a provider of underwater vessel maintenance, inspection and repair services to vessel owners and operators within diversified marine transportation and construction sectors. Subsea services include hull and propeller fleet management, underwater wet welding, seal replacement, tunnel thruster repair, azimuth thruster repair, and environmental hull cleaning. The company provides both routine hull maintenance services to drive fuel efficiencies and highly technical repair solutions allowing vessel operators to reduce dry-docking costs, while keeping the vessel in service. The company is headquartered in Miami, Florida, and operates out of 12 facilities worldwide.
“GenNx360 is pleased to make this investment in Subsea,” said Matt Guenther, the GenNx360 Managing Partner who led the transaction. “Subsea is a world-class organization that is extremely well-positioned to capitalize on the increasing demand for innovative underwater maintenance and repair techniques and services. We look forward to working with Subsea’s strong, experienced management team to broaden its offerings through organic growth and strategic add-on acquisitions and expand its geographic reach, both in the U.S. and abroad.”
“We chose GenNx360 as our partner as we believe they are uniquely capable of supporting the company’s continued growth in existing and new markets,” Paul Peters, CEO and president of Subsea, said. “The Subsea team is excited to partner with GenNx360 in continuing to build the company to the next level.”
Source: PR Newswire
Gavin Scandlyn Joins RBR for
Asia-Pacific Business Development
RBR Ltd. is continuing to support the rapid global growth of new customers and applications by establishing a direct presence in the Asia-Pacific region. The company announced that Gavin Scandlyn joined the RBR team as business development manager. Providing sales, technical and business development support for customers and local agents, Scandlyn will be based in New Zealand and primarily involved in New Zealand, Australia and Japan.
Scandlyn joins RBR with a broad background in business communications, marketing and sales, having previously worked as marketing manager for one of RBR’s agents. Currently based in New Zealand, he has lived and worked in Japan, South Korea and Australia, and shares RBR’s keen interest in supporting the Asia-Pacific region.
Source: RBR Ltd.
From the Seafloor to the Drug Store:
Amy Wright on Marine Natural Products
Those were the glory days. Amy Wright would plop down into the seat inside a giant acrylic dome to be submerged 3,000 ft. underwater, with a front-row seat on the wonders far below the waters off the Florida coast. It was Wright’s first job as a chemist. She didn’t know it then, but she was riding a wave that would rise from expeditions in the Johnson-Sea-Link submersible vehicles to the breakthrough inventions in medicine she is known for today.
Days spent diving from a research ship and using robotic equipment on a manned submersible vehicle allowed Wright and her collaborators to travel to underwater vistas in the depths where, over the course of the next few decades, they would collect thousands of samples of marine invertebrates, the source materials for marine natural products.
“They had these amazing ships and subs and scuba diving. Who wouldn’t want to do that?” Wright said. “It was great. We got to go some amazing places that I don’t think a lot of people get to go, especially in the subs.”
She was working at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute with her former mentor and a veteran of the field, Ken Rinehart, who was a pioneer of drug discovery from marine sources and one of the first to bring natural products into clinical trials, she said. The Johnson-Sea-Link manned submersibles owned by Harbor Branch were invaluable for uncovering useful drug sources from the sea.
“They had decided, here are these amazing subs, they can go collect amazing stuff, how do we use them?” Wright said.
Since then, Wright has been the common denominator on a series of successful projects that have figured out how to use source materials from the sea to create new biological technologies that might hold the answers to society’s most vexing diseases like cancer, tuberculosis, Alzheimer’s, malaria and heart disease.
The samples collected over nearly half a century now total 31,500 specimens, including benthic marine invertebrates and macroalgae, or seaweed, molluscs, corals, sponges and soft sponges, tunicates and marine microbes. Understanding the structure and function of these compounds is Wright’s job.
She uses the samples like we use coffee grounds, extracting chemical compounds the way we extract caffeine in our brew, only she uses a liquid much stronger than water, and she extracts hundreds of natural products from each sample. The extract is concentrated into a goo or powder, which is then separated out into the compounds it contains, leaving pure samples that can be isolated, enhanced and tested to see if they are useful as molecular soldiers.
Image courtesy of Amy Wright (Photo Credit: Brian Cousin)
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