JW Fishers Donates
Tech to Communities
JW Fishers Mfg. Inc. takes pride in being a family-owned-and-operated business and believes in giving back to communities whenever possible. Over the past 50 years, it has donated equipment or gift certificates to many deserving organizations. The company has developed a complete line of underwater search equipment that has helped dive rescue squads, public safety dive teams, police departments and fire departments locate drowning victims and crime weapons.
This past year, a SAR-1 underwater metal detector was donated to New Jersey Historical Divers Association Inc. The SAR-1 was designed for use by dive teams attempting to locate objects in low-visibility environments. JW Fishers also donated a $500 gift certificate to the annual Treasure Hunters Cookout held in Sebastian, Florida, this year.
Refining AI’s Role
In Oil, Gas Safety
As artificial intelligence (AI) systems begin to control safety-critical infrastructure across a growing number of industries, the need to ensure safe use of AI in systems has become a top priority.
DNV GL has launched a position paper, “AI + Safety,” to provide guidance on responsible use of AI. The paper asserts that data-driven models alone may not be sufficient to ensure safety and calls for a combination of data and causal models to mitigate risk.
The operation of many safety-critical systems has traditionally been automated through control theory by making decisions based on a predefined set of rules and the current state of the system. Conversely, AI tries to automatically learn reasonable rules based on previous experience.
Since major incidents in the oil and gas industry are fortunately scarce, such scenarios are not well captured by data-driven models, so there are not enough failure data available to make such critical decisions. The position paper stresses that if the industry can supplement data-driven models by generating physics-based casual data, it will be significantly closer to the safe implementation of AI in safety-critical systems.
DNV GL has joined forces with Norway’s largest universities and companies to establish the Norwegian Open AI to improve the quality and capacity for research, education and innovation in AI, machine learning and big data.
Miros Launches Real-Time
Sea State Data Cloud Service
In an industry first, ocean surface measuring company Miros Group will make dry measurements of sea state available through the cloud as a service. For customers, this means flexible access to real-time data without having to cover the investment in data collection and transfer equipment.
Energy major Equinor is the first Miros customer to take advantage of the cloud-based sea state data offering, using it to monitor wave conditions at its gas pipeline landfall on Norway’s west coast. The pipeline requires regular inspection and maintenance performed by divers, and accurate monitoring of the nearshore sea state is crucial to diver safety.
Seabed Mapping to Support
St. Lucia Marine Economy
The U.K. Hydrographic Office (UKHO) deployed a motorboat to survey the waters of St. Lucia in the fall as part of the Commonwealth Marine Economies (CME) Programme. Following a stakeholder meeting with the St. Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA) and wider government earlier this year, priority areas were surveyed, capturing sonar data of St. Lucia’s main ports and approaches. These include Castries to Marigot Harbour, Rodney Bay, Vieux Fort Bay and Soufriere Bay. The mapping equipment supposedly has no negative impact on the ecosystems and marine life.
Data from the survey will be used to update navigation charts of the region, as well as help St. Lucia to meet its international maritime obligations, including elements of the Implementation of IMO Instruments Code (IIIC). These updated charts will reduce navigational risk and improve the safety of ships, cargo and crew. Data will also support environmental and scientific applications, enabling St Lucia to better manage its marine environment.
By supporting safe navigation in the region, the survey is expected to bring economic benefits to St. Lucia by encouraging access for its growing cruise ship sector and maximizing efficiency of trade by enabling ships to confidently increase cargo-carrying capacity.
Maritime Workforce Development Program
Four schools have enrolled in the “Fundamentals of Marine Service Technology” curriculum program by the American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC), www.abycinc.org/marineservice. The program was built to help secondary and post-secondary schools easily implement a standards-based marine service curriculum, with an inland or coastal focus.
Additionally, a nationally recognized competency certificate is available for program completers who successfully pass an exam administered by the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI).
Schools currently enrolled with the marine service program include: Ocean County Vocational Technical School – Toms River, New Jersey; Portland Arts & Technology High School – Portland, Maine; Mount Desert Island High School – Bar Harbor, Maine; Center for Applied Technology – Edgewater, Maryland; Mid-Coast School of Technology – Rockland, Maine; North Providence High School – North Providence, Rhode Island; and Coconino Association for Vocations, Industry and Technology – Page, Arizona.
Falcon to Support Norway Aquaculture
Norway’s growing aquaculture industry will see the Saab Seaeye Falcon robotic vehicle take on an extended role following the merger of two major aquaculture support companies, KB Dykk and AQS.
With 23 service vessels and more than 60 divers, the new enlarged grouping becomes the second biggest aquaculture support organization in Norway and the country’s largest diving operation.
World’s Second Largest Reef
Off UNESCO ‘Danger List’
The Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, the world’s second largest coral reef system after the Great Barrier Reef, has come off the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger, following the advice of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
For the past 10 years or so, the World Heritage site has been facing threats from potential oil activities and unsustainable tourism development. However, Belize recently announced a ban on oil drilling in its entire marine territories and reinforced the legal protection of its mangroves, which reduce the risk of disasters associated with climate change, keep the waters pristine and support local fisheries from harmful developments.
The Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1996. The site’s pristine waters and abundant marine life provide social and economic benefits. Tourism and fisheries employ about half of Belize’s population and highly depend on the site’s healthy marine ecosystems.
The reef system is increasingly exposed to climate change, with impacts such as coral bleaching, rising sea levels, beach erosion and hurricanes.
Monitoring Red Tides for Mussel Health
Chile is the world’s fourth largest producer of mussels. Mussel health is of paramount importance to the economy and human health. Environmental consultants Plancton Andino (Chile) are using a CTG FastAct Laboratory FRRf System to monitor red tides as part of the Bivalve Molluscs Health Program.
Red tides, or harmful algal blooms (HABs), are natural events occurring around the world. Since first being reported in Chile in 1972, in the Strait of Magellan, HABs have increased in both frequency and geographic coverage. HABs are highly toxic and problematic for human health and the local economy.
The CTG FastAct and the new Act2 FRRf systems consist of a multi-wavelength fluorometer that excites a sample with blue, green and orange light. HABs typically absorb light more strongly at green/orange wavelengths.
Food Web Study of Two Arctic Marine Species
The Central and Arctic Division of Fisheries and Oceans Canada will deploy an array of three ASL Environmental Sciences multifrequency (38, 125, 200 and 455 kHz) acoustic zooplankton fish profilers (AZFPs) in the Amundsen Gulf in 2018.
The data, along with winter and summer net sampling programs, will enhance the understanding of the early life history of Arctic cod and the zooplankton copepod Calanus spp., keystone species in the Arctic marine food web.
Because the instruments are battery powered and enclosed in pressure cases, they can be deployed and record data continuously for a year. These long-term data sets will allow for the detection of fish and zooplankton movements during the data-poor winter spawning season.
AZFP Orders Continue
For Japan Fisheries
The National Research Institute of Fisheries Engineering of the Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency has deployed an ASL Environmental Sciences Inc. multifrequency acoustic zooplankton fish profiler (AZFP 125, 200, 455 and 769 kHz) in Yamada Bay, 450 km north of Tokyo since 2013 to understand seasonal variations of zooplankton in the water column.
To help the scheduling of the release of hatchery-reared juvenile salmon and increase their survival in the sea, upgrades were purchased in 2016, including a solar-powered data logger with a cellular modem for the AZFP and a conductivity temperature sensor. The deployment of this upgraded system was successful, and, as a result, FRA purchased a second ASL-built solar-powered data logger with a cellular modem in 2017 for deployment in spring 2018.
Algae Biofuel Research
Progresses to Field Study
ExxonMobil and Synthetic Genomics Inc. are in a new phase of their algae biofuel research program that could lead to the technical ability to produce 10,000 barrels of algae biofuel per day by 2025. This includes an outdoor field study to grow naturally occurring algae in several contained ponds in California. The research will help to better understand fundamental engineering parameters, including viscosity and flow. The results are important for scaling the technology for potential commercial deployment.
Maritime Clusters and
The World Ocean Council (WOC) and Economic Transformations Group (ETG) have released the white paper “Ocean/Maritime Clusters: Leadership and Collaboration for Ocean Sustainable Development and Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.” By combining purpose in innovation, competitiveness, productivity, profit and environmental benefits, ocean/maritime clusters can lead ocean sustainable development and realize economic benefits.
Key recommendations include: enhancing and expanding the role of ocean/maritime clusters in implementing sustainable development; accelerating the networking of ocean/maritime clusters for collaborative learning and action in support of sustainable development; and supporting the development of ocean/maritime clusters for developing countries.
JW Fishers Celebrates
In 1968, Jack W. Fisher began developing underwater search equipment as an avid diver in need of an underwater metal detector for use on a salvage project. He discovered that there was no such device available and built his own: the Mark 1. The detector quickly gained popularity, and customer demands for new and more powerful models developed. As a result, the company expanded the product line from diver-held detectors to boat-towed metal detectors (Mark 7) and magnetometers (Proton 1). In the following decades, the company introduced the DV-1 dropped camera system, Pulse 8X hand-held underwater metal detector, SeaOtter ROV, SeaLion ROV, side scan sonar system, acoustic pingers, cable and pipe trackers and sub-bottom profiler. Recently, Fishers introduced the SAR-1 search and recovery wireless metal detector. JW Fishers will celebrate its milestone 50th year with a tribute on www.jwfishers.com.
Assessment of Alternative
Fuels for Global Sulphur Cap
DNV GL has issued the white paper “Alternative fuels and technologies for greener shipping,” examining the price, availability, regulatory challenges and environmental benefits of alternative fuels and technologies, including LNG, LPG, hydrogen, fuel cells and hybrid and battery technologies, and comparing them to the use of conventional fuel with scrubbers and new low-sulphur alternatives. The paper offers insights to the shipping industry in preparation for the upcoming Global Sulphur Cap, due to come into effect January 1, 2020.
For newbuilds, the sulphur cap could be a major driver for alternative fuels, and LNG is the prime contender.
Earth Challenge 2020
Encourages Citizen Science
Earth Day Network, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the U.S. Department of State, through the Eco-Capitals Forum, announced Earth Challenge 2020, a Citizen Science Initiative, a collaboration with Connect4Climate—World Bank Group, Conservation X Labs, Hult Prize, National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE), Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), Reset, SciStarter, UN Environment and others. Millions of global citizens will collect data points for air and water quality, pollution and human health.
In 2019, hackathons will be hosted around the world.
The initial data collection campaign will launch April 1, 2020, with the objective of collecting 1 billion data points by Earth Day.
Higher Bandwidth Trend
Demand for higher bandwidth is rising in the shipping industry, according to World-Link Communications. The number of ships switching to improved connectivity is also increasing. The per gigabyte cost is dropping, but the monthly spend is roughly the same because of higher bandwidth usage. Some vessels are now running 40 to 50 GB per month.
Documentary Shows How
Zebrafish Help Humans
“Zebrafish: Practically People, Transforming How We Study Disease” is a new documentary about the common aquarium fish that may be the key to solving some of the most prevalent and devastating human diseases. The film can be viewed at Zebrafishfilm.org.
In her directorial debut, Jennifer A. Manner, CEO of ZScientific LLC, shows the unprecedented benefits of zebrafish as an effective biomedical research model and calls for additional funding to support the vital work of zebrafish research. This research has advanced the understanding and treatment of cancer, diabetes, addiction, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, Parkinson’s, epilepsy, autism and rare genetic diseases.
Zebrafish have most of the same organs, tissues and cells as humans, and because they are small and transparent, they facilitate study of the behavior of cells within the context of the entire organism.
Polar Code Now Part
Of Canadian Law
Transport Canada has introduced new Arctic Shipping Safety and Pollution Prevention Regulations that incorporate the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (the Polar Code) into Canada’s domestic legislation.
The Polar Code addresses the hazards of certain vessels that operate in the Arctic and Antarctic. The Polar Code and Canada’s new regulations include a variety of safety and pollution prevention measures, including those related to vessel design and equipment, vessel operations and crew training. Canada played a key leadership role in developing the Polar Code at the International Maritime Organization.
Monitored by Satellite
Ocean food resources are most volatile in areas that hold most of the world’s marine resources, a new study has revealed. The University of Reading study provides the first ever estimate of the nutritional value of phytoplankton—organisms at the base of the food chain that allow ocean ecosystems to thrive—across the world’s oceans throughout the year. These estimates can be made using only satellite images.
The research shows that the most significant spatial and seasonal contrast in the nutritional value of phytoplankton is seen in coastal areas, represented by 22 coastal provinces, such as the North-East Atlantic Coastal Shelves and the South China Sea. Coastal areas provide most of the world’s marine economic resources, including commercial fish stocks.
The dramatic spatial and seasonal variation in the nutritional value of phytoplankton in coastal areas may make them vulnerable to future environmental changes, such as global warming.
Phytoplankton energy value was calculated using satellite images taken by the European Space Agency between 1997 and 2013 that indicate where blooms of chlorophyll-containing phytoplankton are, as the color of the ocean is altered by the light absorption.
The nutritional value of phytoplankton was found to strongly differ depending on its type, location and time of the year; at its highest in September and lowest in June. The highest annually averaged surface concentrations of nutrients are over the Northeast Atlantic Coastal Shelves, whereas the lowest concentrations were seen in the North Atlantic Tropical Gyral and in North Pacific Subtropical Gyre West.
BMT is using satellite-derived bathymetry (SDB) from TCarta as a critical data set in the selection of new fish farming sites in the Arabian Gulf. BMT is performing the site selection work on behalf of Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD).
Aquaculture development is emerging as a major market for highly accurate bathymetric data products.
As a primary input for the modeling phase of the project, BMT obtained 5-m-resolution SDB products from TCarta for the waters around Delma. BMT also used TCarta Marine Habitat Maps, which differentiate the surface compositions of the seafloor around the island in waters to approximately 10 m deep.
At Texas A&M, Galveston
Bouchard Transportation Co. Inc. of Melville, New York, is giving a new scholarship to Texas A&M University at Galveston: the Morton S. Bouchard Jr. Memorial Scholarship, named in honor of Bouchard Transportation’s former president and CEO, father of Bouchard Transportation’s current president and CEO, Morton S. Bouchard III.
“The scholarship is in memory of Mort Bouchard Jr.’s passion for the maritime industry, and his belief to always give back and support others,” said Bouchard III.
Four scholarships are available per year for a period of five years.
The scholarships are offered to full-time marine transportation students in good standing, with demonstrated leadership skills.
The recipient students also should be in pursuit of a deck officer’s license and a Towing Officers Assessment Record for a career aboard tugboats and/or petroleum barges.
Bouchard Transportation Co. Inc. was incorporated in 1918 in New York Harbor.
The company has remained family owned and operated for the last 100 years.
It is the largest privately owned petroleum barge company in the U.S.
Canada Protects Critical
Habitat for Eight Species
The government of Canada has signed eight Critical Habitat Orders under the Species at Risk Act. The approved orders will allow for further protection of eight at-risk species, including two whales (the North Atlantic right whale and beluga whale of the St. Lawrence Estuary), three fish species (spotted gar, eastern sand darter, Rocky Mountain sculpin), and one mollusc species (northern abalone). Also approved is the Proposed Critical Habitat Orders of the northern bottlenose whale and the lake chubsucker fish species.
A Critical Habitat Order focuses on protecting specific geographic locations and conditions essential for the survival and recovery of the species, such as where they give birth, hatch, feed or raise their young. Fisheries and Oceans Canada is especially concerned about the plight of the North Atlantic right whale following multiple mortalities in the Gulf of St. Lawrence during the summer of 2017.
The Critical Habitat Order approved for the North Atlantic right whale will provide protection for the whale’s critical habitat in the Grand Manan Basin (Bay of Fundy) and the Roseway Basin (off southwestern Nova Scotia).
Open Ocean, VORTEX Partner
On Offshore Metocean
Open Ocean, which launched Metocean Analytics in 2015 to offer metocean studies on demand, teamed up with Spanish wind expert VORTEX to make Metocean Analytics a complete online solution for site analysis during offshore project development. Metocean Analytics is upgraded by including the SERIES and FARM solutions from VORTEX.
VORTEX is an independent private company that has been providing wind data and analysis to the wind energy sector since 2005.
Metocean Analytics simplifies and accelerates the analysis process for offshore development sites, providing average metocean conditions, extreme value analysis and operating weather windows.
UK Pledges Funds
To Fight Plastic Pollution
The U.K. will use funds from its foreign aid budget to fight plastic pollution in developing countries.
“We’ve all been very concerned by the pictures we’ve seen in recent months of the impact of pollution on marine life, the impact of plastic pollution,” U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said, according to UN Environment.
“We are looking at what more we can do and how we can use overseas aid money to ensure we’re… reducing this terrible pollution that is taking place and affecting marine life so devastatingly.”
The details of the U.K.’s pledge have not been announced yet. There are suggestions that the funds should be used on engineering, waste management strategies and innovative technology.
A new study by the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Leipzig, Germany, revealed that 90 percent of plastic waste entering the oceans comes from just 10 rivers, all in Africa and Asia.
Real-Time Data Reveal
Cause of Algal Bloom
Aptly described as “guacamole soup,” the 2016 algal bloom in Florida’s St. Lucie Estuary prompted a state of emergency in response to mounting health, environmental and economic concerns.
Sea-Bird Scientific’s Dr. Ian Walsh worked alongside scientists from Florida Atlantic University to study the bloom. Using real-time data from a network of land/ocean biogeochemical observatory (LOBO) systems, the scientists were able to determine probable causes of the algal bloom by utilizing real-time broadcasts of salinity, dissolved organic matter and nutrient data to trace the movement of water.
The result: high freshwater discharge from Lake Okeechobee into St. Lucie appeared to be “clogging” the natural exchange of freshwater and seawater, allowing blue-green algae to flourish in the trapped high-phosphate freshwater.
Real-time data can act as a lens to dynamic systems; as conditions change and variables interact with one another, up-to-date access to data is crucial for creating accurate models and making a timely response in a state of emergency. Access to a diverse array of sensors is crucial for piecing together a data-driven story.
Survey on LNG
As Marine Fuel
Over the last 12 months, the ECA regulations have continued to drive many decisions in the LNG market. As new LNG infrastructure became operational, and with further projects in the pipeline, LNG as a marine fuel has seen more traction with new LNG vessels on order.
Oil & Gas IQ surveyed more than 500 LNG specialists involved in the LNG bunkering supply chain to gain a deeper understanding of how the sector is continuing to move forward in challenging market conditions; as well as new opportunities and trends for the coming years.
This survey revealed that while the industry is on the cusp of dramatic change, it isn’t moving forward as fast as original predictions suggested. Slow infrastructure development, the regulatory landscape and competition from alternative fuels are all contributing to the challenges in the sector.
Respondents highlighted that alongside lower costs, technological innovation and partnerships are critical to driving LNG forward as the fuel of the future.
Canada Funds Study of Human Impact on Ocean
Canada is implementing a $50.8 million Coastal Environmental Baseline Program to help assess the impacts of human activities on the country’s marine ecosystems.
During the coming years, scientists from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and community partners will collect comprehensive baseline data in six areas of the country where there is existing or potential increasing vessel traffic: Port of Vancouver, BC; Port of Prince Rupert, BC; Lower St. Lawrence Estuary, QC; Port of Saint John, NB; and Placentia Bay, NL. The sixth area will be located in the Arctic.
Studying the current state of these areas will enable better detection of changes in the environment and improvement of understanding of the effects of human activity on the marine environment over time. The data collected from this program will be used when making decisions that could impact sensitive marine habitat and species.
$2.1 Million for Tech To Monitor Giant Kelp Farms
One of the most productive organisms on Earth, giant kelp depends on nutrients from the surrounding water column to maintain its photosynthetic apparatus and maximize growth rates, which can reach 1.5 ft. a day. Such prolific growth makes giant kelp an excellent candidate to replace corn as a biofuel. While this species naturally grows close to shore, it easily could be farmed in deeper waters. This is the focus of a new $22 million U.S. Department of Energy project called Macroalgae Research Inspiring Novel Energy Resources (MARINER), which seeks to develop offshore kelp farms to produce kelp biomass as a novel energy source.
A team of UC Santa Barbara scientists will receive $2.1 million over three years from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy to develop and test technologies that monitor large-scale giant kelp farms. The team will combine and refine existing technology to enable farm managers to carefully monitor kelp beds and maximize yields.
Catalina Sea Ranch has also received MARINER funding of $450,000 as a prime contractor. The company is also the subcontractor on an additional $1,815,529 award to conduct research at its offshore aquaculture facility for developing a seaweed industry for the U.S. The global commercial seaweeds market was valued at more than $10 billion in 2015 and is expected to exceed $22 billion by 2024.
Underwater Metal Detectors For Multiple Applications
Every day, bodies of water are used for recreational purposes, to supply food and drinking water, to help stock natural resource supplies, and to provide a natural habitat for marine life. Sometimes valued possessions from people become lost in these waters, or these waters are used to discard evidence from a crime scene.
An example of a multipurpose underwater metal detector is JW Fishers SAR-1, designed for use by public safety dive teams, law enforcement agencies and military units that need to locate metal objects in underwater environments with poor visibility. The Miramar Police Department Dive Recovery Team utilizes the JW Fishers Pulse 8X with a 10-in. coil. TerraAquatic Inc., specializing in hydrographic surveying, also recently purchased a handheld underwater metal detector from JW Fishers.
QARTOD Updates Manual for Ocean Optics Observations QC
The U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) Quality Assurance/Quality Control of Real-Time Oceanographic Data (QARTOD) Project has updated the “Manual for Real-Time Quality Control of Ocean Optics Observations,” which includes variables such as in-water and above-water radiance and irradiance, beam attenuation, PAR (photosynthetically available radiation) and CDOM (colored dissolved organic matter).
The content for this and other QARTOD data quality control manuals originates with a diverse community of ocean-observing experts with extensive knowledge of the variable being addressed.