Marine Technology Reporter Blogs

Did the Moon Help to Sink the Titanic?

March 9, 2012

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New studies have shed a new light on what may have contributed to sinking the Titanic. The Titanic sank in the early morning hours of April 15, 1912 with a loss of 1,517 lives. For years researchers have been stymied by the fact that the Captain of the vessel, Captain Edward Smith seemed to disregard warnings that icebergs were in the area of the ship. The Captain had sailed the North Atlantic for a number of years and was considered to be a knowledgeable seaman. A team of researchers from Texas State University recently looked into the work of the oceanographer Fergus Wood. Wood had theorized that because of an unusually close pass by the moon in January 1912…

The End of Frade

June 21, 2013

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The Brazilian National Petroleum Agency (ANP) is examining a scenario where a series of seabed leaks may occur in a 7km radius around the Frade oil field in the Campos Basin, due to sagging of the seabed in the area and fissures in the rocks surrounding the Frade oil reservoir. The Frade well is located 130km off the city of Macaé in Northeast Rio de Janeiro at a depth of 1,200 meters (3,996 ft). Although it is still unclear if Chevron, the main field operator is responsible for this due to having exceeded the pressure limits of the well, there is evidence that the super-major operator did exceed the well wall pressure limit. Transocean´s chief driller at the site…

BOEM to Hold Series of Public Meetings

March 21, 2012

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The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) recently announced that it will hold a series of public meetings and have an open comment period in which to gather information that will be used in the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement for two proposed oil and gas lease sales located in the Eastern Planning Area of the Gulf of Mexico. Recently the President mentioned in his State of the Union address BOEM’s Proposed Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2012-2017. The program would make over 75% of undiscovered oil and gas on the continental shelf available for development. “BOEM will use this information to help determine the scope of the issues to be addressed in the Environmental Impact Statement…

Scientist Create Detailed Map of Titanic Site

March 21, 2012

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Recently a team from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute created a detailed map of the wreck site of the RMS Titanic. The map was created with 130,000 photos stitched together to create a photomosaic. Remotely Operated Vehicles fitted with still cameras were used to create the mosaic. Because light does not travel far in the pitch-black depths of the deep ocean environment, cameras are installed on ROV systems and then placed close to the subject area. Because of the close proximity to the subject only small areas can be captured in the stills. Cameras are fitted to the ROV and a series of overlapping images of the same area are then combined along their common edges in order to create a much larger image.

RRC Robotics buys 2 ROVs from Schilling Robotics

June 16, 2013

two Schilling Robotics HD ROV Systems for Brazilian RRC Robotica
The Brazilian ROV pilot training company RRC Robotica Submarina, has recently acquired two work class ROVs from majorn U.S. ROV manufacturer Schilling Robotics. RRC Robotics also offers specialized services such as; Consulting and Auditing ROV systems; 3D modeling of subsea operations; Subsea engineering; ROV operations and rental, sales and maintenance of ROVs and tools from its base in the City of Macaé, located northeast of the city of Rio de Janeiro. Macaé is also the main hub for all offshore O&G companies and service providers in Brazil. Schilling Robotics was founded in 1985. Schilling is headquartered in California U.S.A. and has regional offices in Texas U.S.A., Aberdeen, Scotland, and Singapore. Schilling Robotics also operates a service and support station in Brazil.

Scientist Study Mercury Content in Oceans

March 8, 2012

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Scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute are focusing on new research in the oceans mercury content. Mercury changes between gas, liquid and solid very easily and because of this it is a unique metal. The metal exists in various forms and one type of mercury found in fish is monomethylmercury. This type of mercury is found in fish in relatively high concentrations. Its health impact on humans is neurological causing a block in the neurological development of fetuses in pregnant women who eat large amounts of fish. The path from elemental mercury, a different form of mercury released from burning coal has made its way into the ocean and into the fish that we eat.

Marine Debris: Impacts Being Seen Even at the Smallest Levels.

March 4, 2012

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If you have ever walked along the beach with family or friends, or maybe walking your dog you have encountered marine debris. It is a growing problem in oceans around the world. Defined as any man made object discarded, disposed of, or abandoned that enters the coastal or marine environment, marine debris may enter directly from a ship, or indirectly when washed out to sea via rivers, streams and storm drains. There are several types of marine debris including plastic, glass, metal, Styrofoam, rubber, derelict fishing gear, and derelict vessels. The main sources are ocean-based or land- based. Ocean-based sources includes fishing vessels who lose gear as well as recreational boats…

Australia Experiencing Shortage of Workers in Oil and Gas Industry

March 4, 2012

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Australia is experiencing a shortage of workers in the energy sector. Due to construction of LNG export projects there has been a demand for workers. Chevron is attempting to hold information sessions in an effort to recruit workers. The high demand for engineers include subsea, civil, structural, pipeline design and construction as well as marine engineers. Bechtel is one of the leading companies in the area having built more than one third of the LNG projects in Australia. In Queensland, where they are responsible for construction on Curtis Island, 6,000 workers had to be moved back and forthacross the harbor for work. The company has attempted to modularize the job process by farming out some parts of the projects to shipyards in South East Asia.

Giant Ocean Whirlpools off South Americas Atlantic Coast

June 16, 2013

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Two scientists, William Jones and Guilherme Castellane discovered two giant whirlpools in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Guyana and Suriname. No can really explain exactly how these whirlpools were formed even though the area in question had previously been comprehensively mapped. The two funnels are approximately 400 kilometers in diameter. Until now whirlpools of this size were not known on Earth. The funnels may exert a strong influence on climate changes that have been registered during the recent years. “Funnels rotate clockwise. They are moving in the ocean like giant frisbees, two discs thrown into the air. Rotation occurs at a rate of one meter per second…

The Legacy of the Gulf Oil Spill

February 22, 2012

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It is estimated that the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that took place in April of 2010 could have an $8.7 billion dollar impact on the Gulf of Mexico. The losses include revenue, profits and wages, as well as job losses. MOEX Offshore has now agreed to a $90 M partial settlement of liability with $45M going to the Gulf of Mexico in the form of penalties and expedited environmental projects. According to the terms of the settlement, MOEX will pay $70M in civil penalties to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Water Act resulting from the spill and agreed to spend $20M to facilitate land acquisition projects in several Gulf states that will preserve and protect in perpetuity habitat and resources important to water quality and other environmental features of the Gulf of Mexico region.

Dynamic Positioning Marks 50 Year Anniversary

February 20, 2012

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This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of dynamic positioning. Wikipedia defines DP as “a computer controlled system to automatically maintain a vessel's position and heading by using its own propellers and thrusters. Position reference sensors, combined with wind sensors, motion sensors and gyro compasses, provide information to the computer pertaining to the vessel's position and the magnitude and direction of environmental forces affecting its position". There is a segment of the Marine Technology Society that is dedicated to furthering the knowledge and understanding of this technology. The first DP system was built in the early sixties. During this time the first system was built by  the CUSS group, a consortium of Continental, Union, Shell and Superior oil companies.

Shallow Water Pre-salt Discovery to Spark More Driiling

June 18, 2013

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The recente Discovery of a shallow water pre-salt reservoir by Brazilian private operator OGX has definitely raised a few eye brows. This novelty is a first in Brazil as up to now all other pre-salt reservoirs have been found in ultradeep waters off the Brazilian coast and usually very far from the coast. This new discovery which is located in BM-S-57 Block, in the Santos Basin and is less than half the distance from the mainland as other pre-salt finds in the Santos Basin, exactly 102 km from the coast of Rio de Janeiro. The wellhead is only 155 meters deep and the well was drilled down to 6,135 meters, which is the normal depth where pre-salt reservoirs are expected to be found.

Oceanology International Expected to Draw Large Audience

February 17, 2012

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Oceanology International will be held in London, England March 13 – 15 and will bring together individuals and companies from the marine technology and ocean sciences fields. Ocean Observation & Forecasting: This session will cover all aspects of ocean observation and monitoring using remote sensing and in-situ technologies as well as tools and techniques for ocean forecasting. Navigating & Positioning: This session will be themed “Putting Technology to Work” and will cover all aspects of precise navigation, surface and sub-surface positioning. Oil & Gas: With he demand for oil and gas is expected to increase steadily in the coming years. Increasingly the reserves to meet this demand are located in frontier locations such as deepwater and arctic regions.

First Pre-salt Spill Highlights Deepwater Challenges

June 16, 2013

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The accident that occurred on Tuesday, January 31 on the Dynamic Producer FPSO owned by Brazilian company Petroserv at the Carioca Nordeste field in the Santos Basin is a good example of the hard challenges found when drilling and producing in deepwater wells. During an extended well test a production column broke causing the spilling of approximately 160 barrels of oil (equivalent to 25 thousand liters). Although this can be considered a small spill, as compared to the 2,400 barrels spilled by Chevron at the Frade field in the Campos Basin in November 2011, it still a serious problem that needs to be addressed, the media didn´t pick…

Global Underwater Observatories: The New Frontier

February 10, 2012

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The OOI of Ocean Observatory Initiative is a project funded by the National Science Foundation, and “is planned as a networked infrastructure of science-driven sensor systems to measure the physical, chemical, geological and biological variables in the ocean and seafloor”. It is a fully integrated network used for collecting data on a regional, coastal and global scale. The OOI is making real time ocean-observing data available to oceanographers, scientists and researchers, educators and the public. The first OOI data streams will be from coastal gliders and are expected to be available in 2012. All core infrastructure and instruments will be online by late 2014.

The Acoustics of Fish

February 10, 2012

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Recent research conducted at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is proving that not only do fish make sounds to communicate with one another, but in the deepest depths of the ocean where no light penetrates this may be more important than we think. Researchers, Francis Juanes a professor at the School of Marine Science, and Rodney Roundtree an adjunct assistant professor also at UMASS Amherst have been conducting research into this area and say their pilot study suggests that man made noise in the oceans can be a problem for some important species. During an experiment just south of Georges Bank hydrophones were deployed by local fishermen over a 24-hour period the scientists were able to collect numerous biological sounds including those from several species of whales…

Changing The Game in Underwater Exploration

February 2, 2012

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The Laboratory for Autonomous Marine Sensing Systems or LAMSS at MIT is working on some of the most cutting edge technology in the industry. It is a collaboration between Scripps, the University of California in San Diego and MIT. Their research focuses on “the development of distributed ocean sensing concepts based on fully integrated Sensing, Modeling and Control, taking advantage of the environment and situational adaptation and collaboration with clusters of sensing nodes, without the direct need for operator control”. Sounds like a mouth full, but the technology they have been working on and continue to develop is astounding. Developing technology like SWAMSI or Shallow Water Autonomous Mine Search Initiative…

USS Monitor Celebrates 150th Anniversary

January 31, 2012

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This year marks the 150 anniversary of the USS Monitor. The Monitors was launched on January 30 1862 and sunk on December 31, 1862. Although the Monitor would last less than a year it became one of Americas most prized warships and changed the evolution of naval architecture. During the Civil War both the north and south realized the importance of the sea for trade and supplies. This was particularly important in the southern states that depended on open lines of trade from the sea to compensate for the lack of industrial facilities. Knowing this weakness President Lincoln devised the “Anaconda Plan”, a plan meant to halt trade to the Confederates therefore crippling them into submission. During this time the Union destroyed any materials or facilities that would benefit the Confederates.

Laje Viva Institute - Divers take a stand

June 16, 2013

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The Laje Viva Institute was born from the indignation of a group of divers towards illegal fishing that, unfortunately, is a reality in the Laje de Santos Marine State Park. Divers spotted fishing vessels at the park and became indignant and irate with this practice, leading them to take action. From this point on, a few divers decided to meet and start to take action having a clear objective: "Protect Laje de Santos from fishing and hunting". On July 1st, 1993, these divers founded the Laje Viva Institute, a non-profit organization with the objective of implementing actions to guarantee the preservation and protection of the Laje de Santos Marine State Park (PEMLS).

Using AUV Technology to Map Underwater Volcanic Activity

January 25, 2012

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Scientists at Monterey Bay Research Institute have spent the last year using AUV technology to map the ocean floor. There work has taken them into a number of environments on the west coast including the northern coast of California where they have been studying three-kilometer wide scour marks on the seafloor. They have been documenting lava flow from a volcanic eruption off the coast of Oregon, and are developing new theories regarding one of the largest offshore faults in central California. The AUV has been flying 165 feet above the ocean floor using sonar to map the bathymetry, bathymetry so detailed it is programmed to chart features as small as 5 inches in height. The AUV used by MBARI, the D. Allan B.
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