The fourth largest city in the U.S., Houston, Texas is experiencing disastrous rains from category 4 hurricane Harvey, which made landfall Friday Aug. 25, stalled over the city, and has poured unprecedented amounts of rain throughout the weekend.
With over 40 inches of rain in some areas, the total could rise to more than 50 inches before the storm subsides. The U.S. Coast Guard urges anyone in need of rescue to call the numbers listed on its Twitter page: https://twitter.com/USCG
The Coast Guard has rescued at least 3,600 people, and at least ten people are dead, but accurate totals are impossible to gauge at this point. Further rain is expected throughout the week as Harvey returns to an already inundated Houston area, and at least one foot of water is expected to accumulate and cause some flooding on the Louisiana coast as the storm moves east.
Early this morning the storm intensity was estimated at 40 kt, but it is not expected to strengthen again before making its second landfall within the next two days. NOAA predicts “ongoing catastrophic and life-threatening flooding will continue across southeastern Texas.”
Coast Guard non-stop rescue operations continue with 20 helicopters and other teams from around the country including Florida and the Pacific Northwest, sending more members to the area.
See the latest forecasts at the National Hurricane Center: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/
Ten sailors lost their lives last week when USS John S. McCain collided with a Liberian chemical tanker near Singapore. Early reports blamed a possible steering failure in the McCain vessel, and the question of cyber attack is still under investigation by the Navy.
While the problem may have been related to the ship’s integrated bridge navigation system (IBNS), the recipe for disastrous collisions at sea is more complicated than a single technological failure.
As Ars Technica reports, human error or a lack of “situational awareness” may be equally at fault: Extreme traffic congestion on marine highways like the Strait of Malacca where the collision occurred makes it hard to maintain comprehensive awareness, while complicated navigation and propulsion systems—often a mix of digital, analog and human effort—make quick adjustments difficult to execute when a navigational threat arises.
Questions are also surfacing about fatigue in sailors who work long hours under the pressure of steering in crowded waters in the employ of an American military dealing with funding uncertainty. Another stop-gap budget measure may be on the table this fall, and naval experts are asking if defense spending might be to blame for a summer of disaster on the water (see the Washington Examiner article: Deadly military crashes, collisions raise fears ahead of possible stop-gap budget).
Image: 170823-N-OU129-002 SINGAPORE (Aug. 23, 2017) U.S. Navy and Marine Corps divers provide support to the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) at Changi Naval Base in Singapore Aug. 23, 2017. John S. McCain sustained significant damage following a collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC while underway east of the Strait of Malacca and Singapore on Aug. 21, 2017.
On Aug. 18, 2017 an expedition crew aboard RV Petrel, a research vessel owned by Paul Allen, located the remains of USS Indianapolis at a depth of 5,500 m in the North Pacific Ocean.
Indianapolis suffered an attack by Japanese submarine torpedoes in the final days of World War II after making a secret delivery to the island of Tinian with components of the nuclear weapons the U.S. dropped on Japan. The ship sunk within 12 minutes in the Philippine Sea on Jul. 30, 1945. Only 316 of the 1,196 men on board survived, including Captain Charles Butler McVay III.
The ship’s discovery this August follows a number of previous unsuccessful efforts in the decades since the war. Successful discovery was aided by information from a naval landing craft sighting on the night the ship sank, information gained from a Naval History and Heritage Command historian last year, and the use of RV Petrel’s subsea equipment capable of diving to 6,000 m.
Panama’s largest manatee population is thought to live in the San San Pond Sak in the province of Bocas Del Toro, but, like all the world’s manatee species, the Panama population is disappearing fast and at risk of extinction. Researchers who want to keep track have historically relied upon interviews, historical records and sightings from boats and airplanes. But sonar provides a new way to count.
Hector M. Guzman, a marine biologist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), Panama City, Panama, used side-scan sonar to scan almost 2,000 km of river in the San San estuary. Using their data from nearly 100 repeated sweeps of the 18 km of protected river, his team converted more than 1,000 detections into seasonal manatee population estimates. Their goal was to provide better data to inform decisions about the next steps for manatee conservation. Read more at STRI.
Image: Hector M. Guzman in Panama. Credit: http://www.stri.si.edu/
On Monday, the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker off Singapore, resulting in 10 sailors missing. In the wake of the accident, some remains have been found, and VAdm. Joseph Aucoin, the three-star commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet, was relieved of command.
The Navy said it had lost “confidence” in the commander.
Aucoin’s removal follows four accidents involving Navy ships in the Pacific this year.
Read the NPR story here.
Photo Credit: U.S. Navy
Ten sailors are missing and five injured after a collision between the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain and an oil and chemical tanker in the Straits of Malacca in the South China Sea near Singapore. The collision occurred Sunday, August 20 at 5:24 p.m. EST (6:24 a.m. Japan Standard Time). No cargo spillage has been reported.
Search and rescue operations continue with local law enforcement Singapore, RSN Fearless-class patrol ships RSS Gallant, RSS Resilience, RSN helicopters and Singaporean Police Coast Guard vessel Basking Shark, as well as MH-60S helicopters and MV-22 Ospreys from the amphibious assault ship USS America, according to the website of the Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet.
USS John S. McCain sustained hull damage port aft side that flooded communications and machinery rooms and crew quarters, but with flooding under control the vessel was able to sail under its own power and has arrived at Changi Naval Base.
The Liberian-flagged tanker involved in the collision, Alnic MC, is a 600-ft. tanker with a gross tonnage of 30,000 that was carrying 11,987 tons of fuel oil at the time of the collision. The vessel is expected to arrive at the Port of Singapore today.
View the www.vesselfinder.com animation of the collision at:
“Marine Megatropolis 1974-1981,” featuring photos by Bob Evans, will be on display at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum in California November 16, 2017 through April 2018.
The exhibit includes 26 images selected from expeditions by Bob Evans and Andrew J. McMullen of La Mer Bleu Productions in Santa Barbara. Bob and Andy photo-documented the marine life as it developed beneath the offshore oil platforms of the Santa Barbara Channel between 1974 and 1981.
Evans told us that the legendary scientist and explorer Willard Bascom introduced him to Sea Technology magazine in the 1970s and that one of Evans’s images of offshore oil platforms was used as a cover shot for ST.
RAdm. Mark H. Buzby, U.S. Navy (retired), was sworn in as the administrator of the U.S. Maritime Administration. Prior to his appointment, Buzby served as president of the National Defense Transportation Association (NDTA). As Maritime Administrator, Buzby will lead an agency tasked with promoting the use of waterborne transportation and its seamless integration with other segments of the transportation system; and the development and maintenance of an adequate, well-balanced U.S. Merchant Marine, sufficient to carry a substantial portion of the nation’s waterborne commerce and capable of service in time of war or national emergency. The Maritime Administration also oversees the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.
A career Naval officer with more than 34 years of service, Buzby has an extensive background in maritime transportation and leadership, having served on the staffs of the Sixth Fleet, the U.S. Fleet Forces Command, the Navy staff and the Joint Staff. Prior to his retirement from the U.S. Navy in 2013, Buzby served as the commander of the Military Sealift Command (MSC) from October 2009 to March 2013. MSC is the provider of ocean transportation for the Department of Defense, operating approximately 120 ships daily around the globe.
Plan B Energy Storage (PBES) has been awarded a contract for energy storage aboard the electric fish farm vessel Elfrida, underscoring the ongoing trend toward adoption of green technology in Norway.
In operation since February 2017, the vessel provides up to 12 kt. speed and a full 8-hour shift per charge. The system eliminates emissions, noise, vibration and the need for diesel.
Nearly every coastal country has the potential to meet its own domestic seafood needs through aquaculture, according to a study led by scientists from UC Santa Barbara that includes researchers from the Nature Conservancy, UCLA and NOAA. In fact, each country could do so using a tiny fraction of its ocean territory.
The research, published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, demonstrates the oceans’ potential to support aquaculture, which is the fastest-growing food sector and is poised to address increasing issues of food insecurity around the world.
“There is a lot of space that is suitable for aquaculture, and that is not what’s going to limit its development,” said lead author Rebecca Gentry. “It’s going to be other things, such as governance and economics.”
Caption: Salmon aquaculture in Norway along the coast. (Photo Credit: Brataffe/Wikimedia Commons)
The Montreal Protocol, the international treaty adopted to restore Earth’s protective ozone layer in 1989, has significantly reduced emissions of ozone-depleting chemicals from the U.S. In a twist, a new study shows the 30-year old treaty has had a major side benefit of reducing climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions from the U.S.
That’s because the ozone-depleting substances controlled by the treaty are also potent greenhouse gases, with heat-trapping abilities up to 10,000 times greater than carbon dioxide over 100 years.
The new study is the first to quantify the impact of the Montreal Protocol on U.S. greenhouse gas emissions with atmospheric observations. The study’s results show that reducing the use of ozone-depleting substances from 2008 to 2014 eliminated the equivalent of 170 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year. That’s roughly the equivalent of 50 percent of the reductions achieved by the U.S. for carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases over the same period. The study was published today in Geophysical Research Letters.
The U.S. Research Platform FLIP (Floating Instrument Platform) is a large ship literally flipped at 90° by submerging 300 ft. of its hull and leaving just 55 ft. of bow above the water. The result is a quiet, stable platform for precise scientific measurements at sea. Check out Atlas Obscura’s feature on FLIP here.
AUVSI Novus Unmanned is calling all start-ups (seed, Series-A, B, C or restart) in the unmanned systems and autonomous technologies space who are seeking new investment to start or grow to the next level.
Apply now for a chance to pitch to top investors to raise institutional investment of up to $20 million.
The deadline is September 1.
Learn more here.
Tommy Riparetti hopes to captivate Web viewers with lively commentary from a media control room on the EV Nautilus research ship as the ROVs Hercules and Argus explore new ocean depths of the Cordell Bank, a marine sanctuary off the coast of San Francisco.
A science communication fellow for the Nautilus Exploration Program, Riparetti will be sitting next to scientists and ROV pilots as they conduct research and exploration. Riparetti’s job is to follow the deep-sea footage, ask the team questions and explain what’s happening to people watching live-streaming video on the Nautilus Live website.
On August 12, NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries is hosting its third National “Get into Your Sanctuary” celebration. This event will raise awareness about the value of sanctuaries as iconic destinations for responsible recreation through a series of special activities.
A photo contest will provide an opportunity to share your sanctuary experiences.
SUBSALVE USA has been acquired by Performance Inflatables Co. The business will continue to operate, with its current staff, at its current location, as a subsidiary of Performance Inflatables Co. Details of the transaction remain private.
“The additional support, resources, and knowledge of Performance Inflatables Company, will provide a force multiplier to SUBSALVE USA to continue and further accelerate its leading position and enhance its new products growth across the world” said Richard Fryburg, who founded Subsalve USA in 1977 and has assumed the role of chief growth officer. “My entire management staff and I are truly excited about this new joint prospect and the vision that Performance Inflatables Company has for the industry.”
“We have been impressed with SUBSALVE USA’s commitment to customers, its innovation, top-quality reputation and dedicated staff throughout this process, and we plan to support this great foundation in the years to come,” said Richard Heath, who has joined the company as CEO. “SUBSALVE USA has been at the forefront of this industry working with the most demanding clients including the US military, Oceaneering International Inc., McDermott Caspian Contractors Inc., Ardent and many other industry leaders across many sectors around the world. In addition, we look forward to adding to the capabilities of the business, and to expanding its impact regionally, globally and into adjacent product areas.”
A sponge bearing the compound leiodermatolide was collected off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at 401 m via manned submersible several years ago, and the compound is now being studied for its cancer-fighting properties.
Dr. Esther A. Guzmán, an associate research professor of marine biomedical and biotechnology research at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at FAU, is part of the team examining leiodermatolide as a potential treatment for pancreatic cancer. Sea Technology spoke with her about her research.
When did you start this research?
For many years, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute (HBOI) had a ship and a submersible that allowed us to collect deep-sea organisms. Back in the ’80s, J. Seaward Johnson Jr.—the director of HBOI at the time—thought we should investigate the marine creatures collected for their cancer-fighting properties.
Pancreatic cancer is one of the few cancers for which we don’t currently have effective treatments. The fiver-year survival rate is about eight percent. We have been testing to see if marine compounds can fight pancreatic cancer. Leiodermatolide is one of the many marine natural compounds that we have identified with anti-cancer properties. This particular compound is highly toxic to cancer cells. It also shows selectivity, meaning it kills more cancer cells than normal cells. In chemotherapy, people lose normal cells. We’re trying to get chemo with selectivity to minimize side effects.
When did you start researching this particular sponge?
We’ve been working on it for a few years. We first found that the compound could kill cancer cells using very little of the compound, meaning it is very potent. This compound causes cell-cycle arrest, or stops cancer cells from dividing. This is the mechanism that many approved drugs such as taxol use to treat cancers. We were trying to figure out how it did it. Leiodermatolide does it through a unique mechanism.
We are very excited about this particular compound. In animals with pancreatic tumors, this compound reduced the size of those tumors.
When did you start isolating the compound?
The compound was isolated by our chemistry group, Dr. Amy Wright and her team. Around 2011, we [Guzmán’s group at Harbor Branch] got the compound itself. We tested it on cancer cells first. It was only recently we put it in an animal study.
What are the next steps?
We would like to do a little more testing. We showed a reduction of the tumor, but we didn’t get the prolongation of life we wanted. We only used a single dose of treatment. We want to set up more treatment, more steady, to see if we can reduce the amount of treatment and prolong life. Then, we are hoping we can partner with a pharmaceutical company for clinical trials. Finding a partner and starting clinical trials could take a few years, and the whole process to go from where we are to the clinic may take anywhere from ten to twenty years.
Right now we’re trying to secure the funding for the next steps in the lab. Once we get the funding, we will do further testing in tumor to optimize the dose at which the treatment confers the most benefits.
Could this apply to other types of cancer?
This could apply to other types of cancer—colon, breast cancers. We do wish to explore it more. We’re trying to get the funding.
Legislation has been introduced in both the U.S. House and the Senate to reauthorize the Integrated Coastal Ocean Observing System Act (ICOOS) of 2009. The act established the framework for the IOOS (U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System) program: the 17 federal agencies and the national network of 11 Regional Associations.
Representative Donald Young (R-Alaska) introduced H.R. 237, the “Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act Amendment of 2017.” Click here for House legislation.
Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) introduced S. 1425, “A bill to reauthorize the Integrated Ocean Observing System Act of 2017. The Senate is expected to mark up its bill in early August. Click here for Senate legislation.
NOAA has reopened the public comment period on national marine sanctuaries and marine national monuments until August 15.
If you want the Trump Administration to hear your thoughts on the importance of marine protected areas, you can sign this letter electronically: www.marinesanctuary.org/advocate/standupformarinesanctuaries.