World ECDIS Day Celebrates Advances in Digital Navigation


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World ECDIS Day will be held September 20, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany to bring together experts and maritime industries to celebrate and discuss issues and advances related to the Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS).

In 2009, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted a regulation under SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) chapter V that mandates new ships to carry ECDIS and existing ships to be fitted to include the system by 2018, citing the increased safety associated with real-time electronic charts.

The 2017 World ECDIS Day is focused on the World Wide Electronic Navigational Chart Data Base (WEND), a common worldwide network of ENC datasets established in 1992, based on International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) standards and designed specifically to meet the needs of international maritime traffic using ECDIS.

World ECDIS Day events include: cruise ship tours demonstrating live maneuvering on electronic charts; training workshops in auditing ECDIS skills; presentations on implementation and chart maintenance, cyber risk management and PSC and vetting issues; panels of speakers including regulators and industry representatives; awards for data-implementation, e-navigation influence and lifetime achievement; and an address from IHO Secretary General Dr. Mathias Jonas.

Learn more:

Aquabotix Wants to Deploy Technology to Assist with Surveying Hurricane Damage


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Aquabotix is an underwater robotics company that makes underwater drones called autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and remotely-operated vehicles (ROVs), as well as networked underwater cameras. The company has issued a statement that this kind of equipment could be useful for surveying underwater damage to infrastructure at ports, offshore drilling rigs and various submerged coastal structures.

They are launching a new initiative to form relationships with specialist distributors in Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, local and state governments, the U.S. Coast Guard and oil and gas industries to see if their tools can be helpful in recovery.

Underwater cameras and drones can be remotely operated or sent with pre-programmed instructions to follow autonomously, without humans driving. They could be useful for examining damaged infrastructure. NOAA has used ROVs to survey fisheries and, with the U.S. Coast Guard to survey the wreckage of USCG Cutter McCulloch. ROVs can be useful for inspecting not only ships sitting on the seabed but submerged bridge footings, damaged dams and more informed planning of new construction in changed coastal environments.

It will be interesting to see what other uses are found for high-tech underwater surveying equipment in the face of a long road to recovery for the Gulf Coast as cities and companies seek to rebuild infrastructure.

As Aquabotix points out, reconstruction will “involve substantial underwater work,” bringing companies like theirs, that specialize in subsea technologies, into the limelight in the aftermath of destructive storms along the coasts.



Tour USS Indianapolis: Live-Streaming from 18,000 Feet Under the Sea


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A research team led by Paul Allen used remotely operated equipment to survey the ruins of USS Indianapolis and record HD video on the floor of the North Pacific Ocean. Image:

Tonight, a remotely-operated vehicle (ROV) will shoot video 18,000 feet under the sea to take viewers on a live-streaming tour of the recently discovered USS Indianapolis.

Indianapolis sunk in the final days of World War II when it was hit by two Japanese torpedoes after delivering components of the “Little Boy” bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

The sunken battleship was discovered Aug. 18, 2017 by an expedition team led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, using a research ship equipped with state-of-the-art subsea technology.

The research vessel RV Petrel is equipped with two subsea vehicles (an AUV and ROV), side scan sonar, interferometric bathymetry, HD cameras, LED lights and underwater positioning and navigation systems.

RV Petrel crews will take viewers on a live tour of the ruins which have been resting at the bottom of the North Pacific Ocean for 72 years.

Watch the live-stream on, the PBS Facebook page, or at 10 p.m. EST or 7 p.m. PT.


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The EXPORTS conceptual diagram illustrates the links among the ocean’s biological pump and pelagic food web and our ability to sample these components from ships, satellites, and autonomous vehicles. Light blue waters are the euphotic zone (EZ), while the darker blue waters represent the twilight zone (TZ). Figure is adapted from Steinberg (in prep.) and the U.S. Joint Global Ocean Flux Study (JGOFS) (

Beginning in summer 2018, twelve groups of scientists will undertake field expeditions to perform robotic sampling, optical instrumentation deployments, light scattering and more as part of a NASA project to more thoroughly understand ocean carbon flux.

The project is called EXPORTS (Export Processes in the Ocean from RemoTe Sensing). Two expeditions with investigators from a wide variety of sciences will encompass science that ranges from sinking particle chemistry to the role of phytoplankton in the carbon cycle, and from dissolved-particulate carbon flux to modeling microscale dynamics of sinking material.

They will combine technologies like satellite imagery, underwater vision profiling (UVP) and laser diffraction (LISST), along with other remote sensing techniques. Their goal: to create a complete picture of the ocean carbon cycle.

Ocean carbon flux is the interconnected cycle of movement of carbon from the air to the sea through a variety of physical and biological processes: surface mixing, wind speed, temperature, alkalinity, salinity, plant photosynthesis and animal respiration.

Project leader Dave Siegel says the project will study in-detail every single component of “the biological pump” — the name for the handy service oceans provide of sinking carbon to be stored on the ocean bed, removing it from the air via biomass.

Studying how carbon moves through the ocean food chain, in particles, processes and different kinds of dissolved organic matter will allow scientists to more accurately model the big picture of carbon and gauge the needed solutions for a return to balance between carbon sinks and sources.

Read more about the EXPORTS project:

Diagram from The EXPORTS Science Plan

Norm Nelson, Uta Passow and Dave Siegel
Photo Credit: Sonia Fernandez

Registration is Open for the Teledyne Marine Technology Workshop


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This three-day workshop held October 15-18, 2017 at Catamaran Resort in San Diego, California is preceded by a full day of networking opportunities and includes customer presentations, product and software training, field service meetings, networking opportunities and on-water demonstrations provided by Teledyne Marine’s top-tier oceanographic manufacturers.

Products include ADCPs, CTDs, DVLs, imaging and mapping sonar and software, motion sensors, navigation systems, AUVs, ROVs, lights, cameras, modems, gliders, surface vehicles, interconnect solutions and other marine technologies.

Morning sessions are comprised of four concurrent tracks dedicated to presentations given by Teledyne users from around the globe sharing their experiences, challenges and solutions using Teledyne products in a wide array of application areas including offshore energy, oceanographic research, hydrography, security and defense, civil engineering, river and stream monitoring and aquaculture and fisheries.

Learn more and register for the event online:

Read Teledyne’s “13 Reasons Why You Should Attend the Teledyne Marine Technology Workshop.”



New Ocean Technology Group Promises a Fresh Voice on Capitol Hill


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The International Ocean Science and Technology Industry Association (IOSTIA) officially launched Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017. Located in Washington, D.C., IOSTIA is geared toward providing a trade organization for marine companies who don’t fit into existing associations, which are often geared toward offshore oil and gas industries.

A 501(c)(6) organization, IOSTIA has the ability to lobby on Capitol Hill, and its leaders hope to provide members a unified voice on issues and broaden the conversation on marine science and technology.

IOSTIA is geared toward the following technology service sectors: renewable ocean energy; environmental monitoring protection; fisheries and aquaculture; marine science; maritime security; ocean mining; marine telecommunications; autonomous vehicles; offshore wind energy; oceanography; subsea mining; sensors; arctic change; marine archaeology; ocean observations; hydrography; ports and infrastructure; diving and manned exploration.

An ocean technology company, with no serious connection with oil and gas, may find itself uncomfortably jammed into a petroleum-related association because it is the closest option. Companies like this shouldn’t have to settle… IOSTIA fits that need.

—CEO Rich Lawson

As an international organization, IOSTIA appeals to global “blue-tech” companies and plans to engage with foreign embassies in Washington D.C. and assist international companies who are entering the U.S. market. IOSTIA CEO Richard Lawson says the organization is open to companies of all sizes, from one-man consultancies to multi-national corporations.

The organization also offers forums where members can engage with topics such as emerging technologies, grants and contracting, international business and development for young professionals. There is also a commercial service program and business savings program.

IOSTIA plans to put marine technologies in front of members of congress through fairs on capitol hill (the first to be held June 4, 2018) as well as bringing companies into contact with agencies like DOE, NOAA and NASA, says IOSTIA Public Policy VP Jeffrey Taylor, “so that they are always up-to-speed on the cutting edge in the areas of ocean science, technology and energy.”

Watch a Maritime TV interview with Taylor and IOSTIA CEO Rich Lawson about the launch or learn more about the organization at

USGS Installs Sensors to Gain Data from Irma


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Along the northeast coast of Puerto Rico, USGS hydrologic technician Francisco Almanzar surveys reference elevation points to ensure the accuracy of water level data. (USGS)

The U.S. Geological Survey is installing storm-tide sensors today in the Florida Keys to assist with data collection as Hurricane Irma approaches. Nine other sensors were installed in Puerto Rico on Labor Day, Sept. 4, and USGS plans to make further installations on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of Florida Thursday and Friday.

Crews stand ready to install as many as 100 additional sensors in Florida. The sensors can collect data on the height and intensity of the storm surge before high winds and water arrive.

USGS says the new measurements of storm surge will help with forecasting surge-related flooding, help engineers design better storm-resistant structures and increase the efficacy and safety of emergency responders. To monitor water levels of inland rivers and streams, USGS will use instruments called streamgages to forecast flooding.

USGS maintains a Streamgaging Network of operating sensors to record water levels on inland streams and rivers throughout the U.S., which provides real-time data to the National Weather Service, FEMA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and others. Normally used for non-emergency activities like managing water supplies and planning roads, bridges and recreational activities, during a storm threat the nation-wide network helps inform evacuation decisions and emergency response, as well as capturing landfall, time, depth, duration and retreat of storm-surge.

Crews are also preparing to forecast coastal change—the overwashing of dunes by high waters that relocates shorelines and changes the shape of islands—both at the local level and along the entire coastal zone in the hurricane’s path. Forty-eight hours after the storm, the USGS Coastal Change Hazards Portal will contain information about forecasted coastal change.

Those potentially in the path of the storm can visit (English) or (Spanish) for information on creating emergency plans and further information.

Further information on the storm can be found at he National Hurricane Center.

Storm Data:

USGS Flood Event Viewer

USGS Event Support—IRMA

This U.S. Geological Survey Storm-Tide Sensor was one of nine sensors deployed around Puerto Rico prior to Hurricane Irma. (USGS)

Hurricane Watch: Irma Approaching Virgin Islands


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The National Hurricane Center has issued a public advisory stating that Hurricane Irma will move over portions of the Virgin Islands soon, pass near or north of Puerto Rico this afternoon or tonight, pass near or north of the Dominican Republic Thursday and be near the Turks and Caicos and southeastern Bahamas late Thursday.

Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued in several counties in Florida, with further evacuation orders expected throughout today. Non-essential personnel and their families at the Naval Air Station Key West have been ordered to evacuate, while the Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba will remain open (Military Times).

Florida governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency Monday, and 7,000 national guard have been called to report by Friday, with all Florida members who reported to Texas to return to Florida (

Irma is a potentially catastrophic Category 5 storm with hurricane-force winds that extend outward up to 50 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds that extend outward up to 185 miles, with storm surge of up to 20 feet expected in some areas.

U.S. Coast Guard has set port condition Whiskey for Puerto Rico and Virgin Island ports including Port Miami, Miami River, Port Everglades, Port of Palm Beach and the Port of Fort Pierce.

For more information, visit the National Hurricane Center’s hurricane advisories, the NHC Marine Forecasts or the U.S. Coast Guard Storm Center.

Image: Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Update: Offshore Oil and Port Infrastructure

The U.S. Coast Guard reported ships entering and exiting the Houston Ship Channel on Labor Day and the Port of Houston is open just past the ExxonMobil Baytown facility for vessels up to a 40’ draft. Nearly a dozen other area ports are closed or open with restrictions.

According to the latest report from the offshore resources organization Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, 6.94% of offshore oil and 8.05% of natural gas production remains shut-in.

Fourteen of the total 737 offshore manned platforms in the Gulf of Mexico remain evacuated, while personnel have returned to the five previously evacuated drilling rigs including offshore drilling jackup rigs, platform rigs, submersibles and moored semisubmersibles.

You can follow offshore shut-ins and updates at the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

The Port of Houston reported no visible damage to containers, cranes or other terminal equipment, but eight refineries in the Gulf Coast region are still shut down, equal to 11.4% of total U.S. refining capacity. (See DOE’s Infrastructure Security and Energy Restoration situation reports for more information on infrastructure affected by the storm.)

Image: Hurricane Harvey headed for area with significant oil, natural gas infrastructure

International Ocean Film Festival Submissions Open


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The 15th Annual International Ocean Film Festival (IOFF) is now accepting film submissions. IOFF is the biggest festival of its kind in North America, featuring dozens of ocean-themed films by independent filmmakers from around the world.

Films can be be documentaries, narratives, shorts, animation or full-length films on topics including but not limited to marine wildlife, conservation, ocean environments, coastal cultures, ocean sports and exploration, ocean heroes and innovative technology designed to help protect the ocean.

The festival is held March 8-11, 2018 at Cowell Theater in Fort Mason, along the northern waterfront of San Francisco.

Student submissions opened today, and the early submission deadline for all films is October 1, 2017. Learn more.