Arctic Operations News

Photo: Forum Energy Technologies

Forum ROV to Support Arctic Research

be installed on board the Canadian research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen and will support the exploration of Arctic and Sub-arctic seafloor eco-systems. Equipped with 85 scientific systems, the CCGS Amundsen gives Canadian researchers and their international collaborators unprecedented access to the Arctic Ocean.Forum’s Sub-Atlantic Comanche ROV is equipped to a high specification with two seven-function manipulator arms for complex underwater procedures. It also has precision positioning and navigation systems, cameras, lighting and sonars for low visibility operations.The new asset will replace the

JFD Wins Submarine Rescue System Contract

James Fisher and Sons said its subsidiary JFD has been awarded a multimillion dollar contract for the design and build of submarine rescue equipment but no further details are yet available. The company recently completed the delivery of a range of saturation diving products rated to a depth of 500 meters for a leading offshore service provider, a world first. The products were developed as part of a saturation diving system and include environmental control systems, gas reclaim and life support products, allowing complex offshore operations to be conducted efficiently in the safest possible conditions.

Norwegian Coast Guard vessel KV Svalbard and its crew at the North Pole: the ship is the first ABB Azipod powered craft to reach the Pole. (Photo: ABB)

ABB Propulsion Takes Ship to North Pole

Norwegian Coast Guard ship KV Svalbard is the first vessel powered by an ABB Azipod propulsion system to reach the North Pole.The ship is equipped with twin 5MW Azipod icebreaking units which enabled it to sail through polar ice at speeds of up to 6 to 7 knots when it took part in an international scientific expedition, the Coordinated Arctic Acoustic Thermometry Experiment led by Norwegian research foundation The Nansen Center.The Azipod electric propulsion system is designed to make s ships highly maneuverable, being based on an electric drive motor located under the ship’s hull in a submerged

V.Ships Leisure has been appointed as ship management company for REV Ocean, the world’s largest research and expedition vessel.

(Photo: REV Ocean)

V.Ships Manages REV Ocean Expedition Ship

Norwegian ocean research organization REV Ocean has appointed V.Ships Leisure as ship management partner for the world’s largest research and expedition vessel.V.Ships Leisure, part of V.Group, will provide a tailored suite of ship management services for the new vessel, which is scheduled for completion in 2021. The ship will be equipped for conducting research that covering the whole of the marine ecosystem using advanced technology developed by Norwegian knowledge clusters and will be used for innovative research expeditions exploring issues such as the impact that carbon dioxide emissions

PhD student James Coogan will be deploying the ecoSUB on its mission into a hostile Arctic environment (Photo: SAMS)

Robotic AUV Takes on ‘Dangerous’ Arctic Mission

An underwater robotic vehicle will go on an Arctic research mission deemed too dangerous for humans in a bid to help scientists understand the true extent of melting from Arctic glaciers.A team from the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) in Oban, led by oceanographer Prof Mark Inall, will deploy a small autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) known as an ecoSUB to the foot of a melting glacier in Arctic Norway. The aim is to learn more about the effect of meltwater on a process called ‘calving’, which causes huge chunks of ice to break off the glacier edge.Less than a meter in

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lauren Steenson

#Oi2020: Subsea History

In 2003, Dr. Larry Mayer, director of the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping (and his team at the center), worked closely with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) to gain access to a platform capable of breaking and transiting through ice, while also supporting the scientific equipment needed to gather data on the extended continental shelf (ECS). The Coast Guard Cutter Healy was tasked with the job, and during Mayer’s first outing with the vessel that year he and his team discovered a 10,000-foot high seamount approximately 400 miles north of Barrow, Alaska, which they named the Healy Seamount.

Remote-Controlled Submersible Fish Farm in Arctic Ocean

Digital technology leader ABB has won a contract from Arctic Offshore Farming to power its first-ever remote controlled submersible offshore salmon farm in the Arctic Ocean.ABB will provide a comprehensive package of its leading electrical, automation, instrumentation and telecom technologies that ensure maximum efficiency and minimal environmental impact.With the global market volume of salmon expected to hit 4.5 million tons by 2023, according to a 2018 report by Research and Markets, the Arctic Offshore Farming project is looking for ways to farm fish in a more sustainable manner.The submerged fish

Photo: Seamor Marine

SEAMOR: ROV to Last Ice Project in Canada

SEAMOR Marine will provide a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) to the department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada in Manitoba. The vehicle will be deployed to the High Arctic to inspect the area which remains frozen year-round and take part in research and evaluating ways to protect this special ecological region.The High Arctic is an important area encompassing the northern regions of Canada (Arctic Basin, Baffin Bay and the Pikialasorsuaq, or North Water Polynya) and reaches to western Greenland. This area remains frozen throughout the year, for multiple years, acting as an important refuge for ice-depend

Barclays Rejects Arctic Drilling

U.K.-based international bank Barclays  announced a new energy policy that significantly restricts the bank’s financing for the exploration or extraction of oil and gas in the Arctic.The policy  rules out funding for companies seeking to drill in the Arctic Refuge as well as other climate change threats.According to the British multinational investment bank and financial services company headquartered in London, arctic oil and gas refers to new exploration and extraction of oil and gas in the area within the Arctic Circle which is subject to sea ice, and includes the Arctic National

Arctic Sea Ice is Youngest and Thinnest Now

The Arctic Ocean's blanket of sea ice has changed since 1958 from predominantly older, thicker ice to mostly younger, thinner ice, according to new research published by NASA scientist Ron Kwok of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.With so little thick, old ice left, the rate of decrease in ice thickness has slowed. New ice grows faster but is more vulnerable to weather and wind, so ice thickness is now more variable, rather than dominated by the effect of global warming, according to NASA's Earth Science News Team.Working from a combination of satellite records and declassified

(Photo: Damen)

Damen Floats Out Australian Icebreaker

Shipbuilder Damen said it has floated out the Antarctic Supply Research Vessel (ASRV) RSV Nuyina currently under construction at Damen Shipyards Galati in Romania.The carefully executed procedure was achieved by raising the water level in the yard’s dry dock by six meters; a process taking two days to complete. Once afloat, the vessel was maneuvered 250 meters to a quayside berth where the ongoing construction and outfitting process will take place.Damen is building the 160-meter-long icebreaking vessel for Serco subsidiary DMS Maritime on behalf of the Australian Department of the Environment

BEN independently follows programmed lines (Photo: NOAA)

Autonomous Vehicle Maps the Arctic Seafloor

Far above the Arctic Circle, an autonomous surface vehicle set out to map the seafloor in an effort to improve nautical charts in areas where there is scarce data and vessel traffic is increasing.A team of engineers and students from the University of New Hampshire’s (UNH) Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping, together with personnel from NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey, recently returned from an Arctic voyage that deployed an unmanned surface vehicle (USV) from the NOAA hydrographic ship Fairweather, a first from a NOAA vessel in the region.The Fairweather spends each summer surveying the

Photo: OSIL

OSIL Supply US Antarctic Program with Multi Corer

Global seabed sampling experts Ocean Scientific International Ltd delivered a 12-station Multiple Corer to Colorado-based ASC, the support contractor to the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), for use in Antarctic waters.The corer will be deployed by upcoming projects in the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration, a joint project of the U.K.’s Natural Environment Research Council and NSF’s Office of Polar Programs, which manages the U.S. Antarctic Program.The corer will be used to investigate the role of the Southern Ocean biological pump in regulating atmospheric carbon dioxide

© Michael Valos / Adobe Stock

Drifting Iceberg Puts Greenland on High Alert

An iceberg the size of a hill has drifted close to a tiny village on the western coast of Greenland, causing fear that it could swamp the settlement with a tsunami if it calves.The iceberg towers over houses on a promontory in the village of Innaarsuit but it is grounded and has not moved overnight, state broadcaster KNR reported.A danger zone close to the coast has been evacuated and people have been moved further up a steep slope where the settlement lies, a Greenland police spokesman told Reuters.“We can feel the concern among the residents. We are used to big icebergs, but we haven’t

The 10,000-metric-ton hull of the RRS Sir David Attenborough glides into the water (Photo: BAS)

RRS Sir David Attenborough Launched

forefront of Arctic and Antarctic research. It represents the U.K. government’s largest investment in polar science since the 1980s.“The RSS Sir David Attenborough will use sophisticated technology to monitor polar activity and will help strengthen our position at the forefront of climate and ocean research,” said keynote speaker the Rt Hon Claire Perry MP, Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth. “The government’s £200 million investment in polar research will allow us to gain a crucial insight into polar oceans to combat the devastating effects of climate change

Soundnine XTP Sensors Deployed on Polar Buoy

equipped with eXpendable Temperature and Pressure (XTP) sensors from Soundnine Inc. was deployed for the UpTempo project.  The UpTempO project, headed by Dr. Mike Steele of the University of Washington, Polar Science Center, uses inexpensive buoys to measure the Upper layer Temperature of the Polar Oceans. The buoy was deployed in northern Hudson bay on June 14, 2018 by Canadian research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen. It transmits real-time temperature and conductivity data to 25 meters deep, enabling scientists to measure the rate of surface warming as Arctic sea ice increasingly thins and retreats each

Photo: Houlder

Houlder Joins Sir David Attenborough Celebrations

Naval architect and marine engineering firm Houlder has played a key role in the development of the U.K.’s new polar research vessel, RRS Sir David Attenborough, since it was first conceived by the British Antarctic Survey.CEO Rupert Hare will join members of the project team as hull number 1390, comprising 10,000t of steel, is launched at Cammell Laird Shipyard on July 14.As experts in ship construction, and ice class design in particular, Houlder worked with the British Antarctic Survey and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) initially through the vessel’s concept design and

The West Hercules drilling rig in the Barents Sea. (Photo: Ole Jørgen Bratland / Equinor)

Norway Awards Oil Permits to 11 Firms in Arctic Licensing Round

Norway has awarded 12 oil and gas exploration licences to Equinor and 10 other companies focused mostly on the Arctic, where Oslo believes it has the greatest potential for significant new discoveries.Nine of the licences are located in the Barents Sea and three in the Norwegian Sea off central Norway, the Ministry of Oil and Energy said on Monday."This licensing round confirms that the oil companies see opportunities for further profitable petroleum activity in the north," Oil and Energy Minister Terje Soeviknes said in a statement.Equinor, formerly known as Statoil, was awarded five

Crevasses near the grounding line of Pine Island Glacier, Antarctica. (Credits: University of Washington/I. Joughin)

Accelerating Antarctic Thaw Speeds Sea Level Rise

islands to Florida, an international team of scientists said on Thursday.Antarctica has enough ice to raise seas by 58 meters (190 ft) if it ever all melted, dwarfing frozen stores in places from Greenland to the Himalayas and making its future the biggest uncertainty in understanding global warming and ocean levels.The frozen continent lost almost three trillion tonnes of ice between 1992 and 2017, the 84 scientists said in what they called the most complete overview of Antarctic ice to date.The thaw, tracked by satellite data and other measurements, contributed 0.76 cm to sea level rise since 1992,

(Source: NOAA Climate.gov, Data: Mark Tschudi)

Old Sea Ice is Disappearing from the Arctic Ocean

(NSIDC) reported that only 2 percent of the Arctic's sea ice was at least five years old. That is the lowest percentage of such old ice during wintertime in the satellite record.These maps show multiyear and first-year ice in the ninth week of 1984 (left) and 2018 (right). Land areas are light gray. Ocean water is dark gray. Sea ice appears in shades of blue to white, with darker shades indicating younger, thinner ice, and white indicating the oldest ice (7 or more years old). The small amount of multiyear ice in early 2018 continued a decades-long trend of Arctic sea ice decline.Replacing thick,

Photo: Ole Jørgen Bratland / Statoil

Arctic Oil 'Undrillable' amid Global Warming -UN's Ex-climate Chief

An architect of the Paris climate agreement urged governments on Tuesday to halt oil exploration in the Arctic, saying drilling was not economical and warming threatened the environmentally fragile region.Christiana Figueres, formerly head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat when the Paris accord was reached by almost 200 nations in 2015, told Reuters by telephone "the Arctic has been rendered undrillable."The past three years have been the hottest since records began in the 19th century, and Figueres said the heat was a threat to everything from Australia's Great Barrier Reef to ice

(Image: Project Trumpmore)

Finns Want to Carve Trump’s Face on a Glacier

President Donald Trump reportedly told South Dakota Representative Kristi Noem it is his dream to be added to Mount Rushmore.There might not be space for the 45th American president’s likeness alongside some of his most immortal predecessors on Mount Rushmore, but a group of Finnish environmentalists say they want to fulfill Trump’s dream in a different way.Members of a Finnish NGO say they want to commission Project Trumpmore, a 115-foot-tall ice sculpture of Donald Trump’s face onto an arctic glacier inspired by the iconic South Dakota monument and Trump’s rejection of

© kavring / Adobe Stock

Icebergs Could Float to the Rescue of Cape Town Water Crisis

are floating a plan to tug icebergs from Antarctica to South Africa's drought-hit Cape Town to help solve the region's worst water shortage in a century.Salvage master Nick Sloane told Reuters he was looking for government and private investors for a scheme to guide huge chunks of ice across the ocean, chop them into a slury and melt them down into millions of liters of drinking water."We want to show that if there is no other source to solve the water crisis, we have another idea no one else has thought of yet," said Sloane, who led the refloating of the capsized Italian passenger liner

Autonomous underwater vehicle Boaty McBoatface (Photo: NOC)

Boaty McBoatface Completes First Antarctic Mission

The National Oceanography Center’s (NOC) autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) Autosub Long Range (ALR), known affectionately around the world as ‘Boaty McBoatface’, was recovered last month following its first under-ice mission beneath the Filchner Ice Shelf in West Antarctica.From January to February 2018, the AUV was deployed in the southern Weddell Sea during RV Polarstern cruise PS111 as part of the Filchner Ice Shelf System (FISS) Project – a collaboration involving leading U.K. research institutions including the NOC, British Antarctic Survey (BAS), Met Office Hadley Center

Statoil Awards $1.5 Bln Drilling Contracts

 Statoil has awarded drilling contracts to Archer, KCA Deutag and Odfjell Drilling for drilling, completion, intervention services, plugging, maintenance and modifications on 18 of Statoil’s fixed platforms. The contracts take effect from October 1, 2018, initially for a period of four years. The total value is estimated at more than NOK 12 billion ($1.5 billion). The contracts include three two-year extension options. The work will employ around 2,000 people per year.   “Safe and efficient operations are our number one priority. These contract awards will help ensure safe and

Decom North Sea Sheds Light on Supply Chain Capability

Decom North Sea has published aDecom Directory in conjunction with Scottish Enterprise and the Oil & Gas Authority, which provides details of companies which have the capability to service the UK/UKCS decommissioning sector.   Supported by EEEGR, FPAL, EIC, FEDF and NOF, the directory captures the capabilities of almost 300 supply chain companies which can service the UK/UKCS across17 newly-defined supply chain activities within a decommissioning work break down structure (WBS); from planning stages through to site remediation and long-term monitoring. Created with the assistance of EEEGR

Threat from wandering greenhouse gas

regions north of Siberia, microorganisms produce methane when they break down plant remains. If this greenhouse gas finds its way into the water, it can also become trapped in the sea ice that forms in these coastal waters. As a result, the gas can be transported thousands of kilometres across the Arctic Ocean and released in a completely different region months later. This phenomenon is the subject of an article by researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute, published in the current issue of the online journal Scientific Reports. Although this interaction between methane, ocean and ice has a significant

US Navy Submarines Surface in the Arctic Circle

, as well the UK Royal Navy submarine HMS Trenchant (S91), are participating in the biennial exercise in the Arctic to train and validate the warfighting capabilities of submarines in extreme cold-water conditions.    "From a military, geographic and scientific perspective, the Arctic Ocean is truly unique, and remains one of the most challenging ocean environments on earth," said Rear Admiral James Pitts, commander, Undersea Warfighting Development Center (UWDC).   ICEX provides the U.S. Submarine Force and partners from the Royal Navy an opportunity to test combat and

West Phoenix to Drill in UK and Norway

 Statoil and its partners have contracted the West Phoenix rig for exploration drilling on the U.K. and Norwegian continental shelves from the summer of 2018. The contract is awarded to the two Seadrill companies North Atlantic Drilling UK Ltd. and North Atlantic Norway Ltd. The semi-submersible rig West Phoenix will first drill an exploration well for the Ragnfrid North license on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS), followed by three wells on the U.K. Continental Shelf (UKCS). The rig has been approved by authorities for use both on the NCS and UKCS.   “We needed a high capacity

Bibby Offshore: BP North Sea Projects completed

 Bibby Offshore has completed a contract worth more than £2million for BP in the North Sea.  The project, completed in December 2017, utilised Bibby Offshore’s diving support vessel Bibby Topaz to carry out inspection, repair and maintenance operations in the Rhum gas field, approximately 380 kilometres north-east of Aberdeen.   The scope included control system low insulation resistance diagnostics and component replacements, manual valve operations and ROV inspection works at BP’s Bruce platform, which is located 44 kilometres south of Rhum.   The project

The Sentinel HR high-resolution seismic streamer (Image: Sercel)

Sercel Sells High-res Streamer System to AWI Research Institute

all types of marine seismic surveys while QuietSea complies with international marine mammal monitoring regulations to offer the most advanced detection tool in the industry.   Pascal Rouiller, Sercel CEO, said, “We are delighted that AWI has again selected Sercel systems to conduct its next oceanographic surveys in polar regions. By adding the Sentinel HR to its portfolio of Sercel marine seismic acquisition equipment, which includes the Sentinel, Seal 428, SeaPro Nav and QuietSea, AWI will benefit from highly detailed images of the shallow sediment layers in the most challenging environments

Photo: WFN Strategies

WFN: Cable Route Survey Support for Kativik

WFN Strategies has been awarded a contract by Kativik Regional Government, a supramunicipal body with jurisdiction over the territory of Québec situated north of the 55th parallel of Canada, to provide cable route survey support for the proposed Eastern Arctic Undersea Fiber Optic Network (EAUFON) submarine telecoms cable system.   EAUFON is a planned submarine cable with landing points at multiple communities in Canada’s Nunavik region.  The EAUFON submarine cable system has an initial Ready For Service date of 2020 with multiple extensions planned subsequently. Although

© eqroy / Adobe Stock

Alaska Requests Limits on US Offshore Drilling

Alaska Governor Bill Walker said on Tuesday he has asked U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to pare back a Trump administration plan for oil and gas leasing off the state's coast.   While Walker supports offshore oil development, he said the Interior Department should focus on the most prospective areas off Alaska – the Beaufort and Chukchi seas in the Arctic and Cook Inlet in southern Alaska – and drop all others from the leasing plan.   In asking for proposed lease sales to be dropped, Walker, an independent, joins governors of several other coastal states after Zinke's

The front of Antarctica's Getz Ice Shelf. (Photo: Jeremy Harbeck/NASA)

Strong El Niño Events Cause Large Antarctic Ice Loss -Study

Oscillations of water temperature in the tropical Pacific Ocean can induce rapid melting of Antarctic ice shelves   Strong El Niño events can cause significant ice loss in some Antarctic ice shelves while the opposite may occur during strong La Niña events, according to a new study published January 8 in the journal Nature Geoscience.   El Niño and La Niña are two distinct phases of the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO), a naturally occurring phenomenon characterized by how water temperatures in the tropical Pacific periodically oscillate between

© wanfahmy / Adobe Stock

Trump Aims to Open Nearly All US Offshore to Oil Drilling

opening nearly all U.S. offshore waters to oil and gas drilling, a move aimed at boosting domestic energy production that sparked protests from coastal states, environmentalists and the tourism industry.   The effort to open previously off-limits acreage in the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific oceans comes less than eight years after BP Plc's Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico - the largest in American history. The disaster caused billions of dollars in economic damage and led former President Barack Obama's to increase regulation of the industry.   Interior Secretary Ryan

(Photo: BSEE)

Eni Begins Drilling Oil Well in Alaska's Beaufort Sea

this week began drilling a new well in U.S. waters off the north coast of Alaska, becoming the first company to do so since 2015, federal regulators said on Wednesday.   The oil and gas firm is working from an artificial island in the Beaufort Sea about three miles off Oliktok Point in the Arctic Ocean. The well is expected to run more than 6 miles (10 km) long.   The project could result in 20,000 barrels a day of oil production, according to regulator U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), which said it sent employees to the site to ensure compliance with federal regulation

© Ivan Kurmyshov / Adobe Stock

Statoil to Drill 5-6 Wells in Arctic Barents Sea in 2018

Norway's Statoil will continue to drill for oil in the Arctic Barents Sea next year even though its 2017 campaign was mostly disappointing, the company's head of exploration told Reuters on Tuesday.   Statoil plans to drill between 25 and 30 wells in Norwegian waters in 2018, of which five or six are expected in the Barents and the rest will be split between the North Sea and the Norwegian Sea, which are both located further south.   "We have tested a lot of potential there (in 2017), and that potential is gone, but we still believe in the overall potential of the Barents Sea

Dr. Miguel Morales Maqueda (center) with Alicia Mountford and Liam Rogerson, the group from Newcastle University carrying out research in Antarctica as part of the ORCHESTRA project. (Photo: Newcastle University)

Researchers Set out to Study the Southern Ocean

A team from Newcastle University has arrived in Antarctica this week as part of a major new research project to measure the rate of uptake of heat and CO2 in the Southern Ocean.   Dr. Miguel Morales Maqueda, Alicia Mountford and Liam Rogerson from Newcastle University have joined the ORCHESTRA research project (Ocean Regulation of Climate by Heat and Carbon Sequestration and Transports) to carry out sea surface measurements using a Wave Glider.   Fitted with a GBS antennae – a highly accurate GPS system – the glider will survey the ocean surface, measuring properties such as

© h368k742 / Adobe Stock

Norway's Arctic Oil Plan Violates Constitution, Lawsuit Says

Norway's plan for Arctic oil exploration is unconstitutional because it violates the right to a healthy environment, a lawyer for Greenpeace and the Nature and Youth environmental group told an Oslo court on Tuesday. The case is the first of its kind in Norway and says a 2015 oil licensing round in the Arctic that gave awards to Statoil , Chevron and others violates the constitution. Norway signed the 2016 Paris accord, which aims to end the fossil fuel era this century. The country is Western Europe's largest oil producer and oil and gas are its most important exports. Government lawyers say

Meet MUM: Large Modifiable Underwater Mothership. Image: thyssenkrupp

MUM's the Word: New UUV Takes Shape in Germany

, all working together to develop a new type of unmanned underwater vehicle.    MUM will receive funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy over three years, and its aim is to open up new ways to explore and harness the potential of the world’s oceans. Meet MUM According to the partners, MUM is breaking with old conventions: The modular, unmanned underwater vehicle performs its tasks largely autonomously, with an innovative modular design enabling the new vehicle class to be customized cost-efficiently for each mission. Individual base

(Credit: U.S. Coast Guard)

'Roomba' in the Arctic

The pace and quality of oil spill research in the United States typically ebbs and flows as a function of two, if not three important variables. First, after the 1989 Exxon Valdez grounding, there was a flurry of activity to ramp up oil spill research because it had been dormant for so long. The need was recognized, with plenty of money made available. Primarily, this research centered on conventional spill remediation techniques – for example, a tanker or barge spilling oil – and not much else. Predictably, when memory of the spill faded, so did interest in research and funding.  &nbs

(Photo: Blueye Robotics)

Hurtigruten Brings Underwater Drones to Exploration Cruising

of the ship even joined the Blueye team as they used the Pioneer to inspect the vessel’s hull. The Blueye Pioneer will be available for purchase from 2018, with pricing starting at $3,550.   Blueye Pioneer Hull design: Hydrodynamic and hydrobalanced hull for stability and performance in ocean conditions. Engineering plastic and rubber protections that withstand impact Pressure rating: 150 m Weight: Less than 8 kg Speed: At least 2 m/s (4 knots) Run-time: At least 2 hrs normal operation Thrusters: 4 x 350 W; plus 2 rear, 1 vertical center, 1 lateral Automation: Auto heading, auto

Marine Technology Reporter - October 2017 Edition

The October 2017 edition of Marine Technology Reporter is now available – in print, and online.   This edition includes features on: The sophisticated technology used to find and explore the long-lost USS Indianapolis Deep-sea mining: the promises of subsea riches pose a threat to subsea environments   Unmanned forces: building a multi-domain autonomous fleet   Aerial drones improve safety and performance offshore   The Arctic “Roomba”: new technologies for recovering oil spills in icy waters   Read

(Credit: Rolls-Royce)

Research Vessels: The Fleet is In

A wave of new and innovative research vessels are set to help scientists enhance their understanding of the oceans. MTR profiles several of these ships currently in designe and construction across the globe.   RRS Sir David Attenborough The U.K.’s new polar research ship rose to fame when Boaty McBoatface took the internet by storm as the leading vote getter in an online naming contest. The U.K.’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) eventually chose to call the ship RRS Sir David Attenborough, a name better fit for a $256 million high-tech research ship (though the Boaty

Aker BP recently awarded a contract worth up to $68 million to Odfjell Drilling for the lease of the semi-submersible drilling rig Deepsea Stavanger in the Norwegian Sea and the Barnts Sea (Photo: Aker BP)

Offshore Rig Firms See End to Historic Downturn

are now seeking to replenish their hydrocarbon reserves.   The nascent demand for harsh-environment rigs, particularly for North Sea drilling, could lead to increased rates for these units as soon as 2018, and other categories may follow in 2019 or 2020, companies and analysts say.   Transocean Chief Executive Jeremy Thighpen told UBS analysts he would not be surprised to see next fixtures for such rigs to rise to $300,000 from current levels of around $200,000.   Oslo-based Pareto Securities also said it expected day rates for modern harsh-environment rigs to rise to $250,000-$300

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce

Another Milestone for RRS Sir David Attenborough Build

(NERC) for operation by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).This £200 million ($268 mln) Government investment secures the UK’s position as a world leader in polar research and provides a major boost to shipbuilding in the North West. When it enters service in 2019, the ship will carry out oceanographic and other scientific work in both the Antarctic and Arctic as well as transporting supplies to Antarctic research stations.   The project is the biggest commercial shipbuilding contract currently underway in Britain and one of the biggest for more than a generation.   Rolls

US Navy Buoys into the Arctic Ocean

 The U.S National Ice Center (USNIC) in coordination with the Office of Naval Research, Office of the Oceanographer of the Navy, the Danish Joint Arctic Command, Environmental and Climate Change Canada and University of Washington deployed buoys into the Arctic Ocean during a joint mission.  The joint mission was conducted to collect weather and oceanographic data to enhance forecasting and environmental models thereby reducing operational risk for assets in the Arctic.   "Polar lows are like hurricanes of the north and the data collected from these buoys will help us with

(Photo: Aker Arctic)

Aker Arctic’s Ice Lab is Back in Acton

 The Finnish icebreaking season typically ends in May. Around the same time, the cooling system in Aker Arctic’s ice laboratory in Helsinki, Finland, is turned off and the model basin is allowed to warm up for the annual summer maintenance break.   Aker Arctic operates its own ice model testing facility at the company’s main office in Helsinki, Finland. Using the in-house developed FGX model ice, the 75-meter ice tank can be used to get reliable icebreaking performance predictions for ice-going ships and study other ice-related phenomena in model scale. Aker Arctic and its

(Photo: Sea Shepherd)

Japan Won't Lower Guard of Whaling as Sea Shepherd Changes Tactics

said on Tuesday.   Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, said in a statement on Monday the group’s limited resources made it difficult to compete with the military technology Japan employs to guard its whaling fleet and it would not send ships to the Southern Ocean this year.   But an official at Japan’s Fisheries Agency was skeptical.   “It’s not clear what the real intention of their statement is and we don’t know whether the organization will stop its anti-whaling actions this year,” the official, who declined

The submarine cargo transportation system is designed to transport LNG beneath the Arctic Ocean's ice cap and elsewhere. It only has to be submerged deep enough to avoid striking the ice above. Since the sea ice cap is not that thick the sub only has to be strong enough to withstand relatively low depth pressure. (Image: Novan Research)

Subsea Commerce in the Arctic Ocean

Recent years have seen a rapid increase in surface shipping operations in Arctic regions but nothing has been done for the subsea commercial shipping. New submarine technology to open up the Arctic Ocean's northern passage for year-round commerce is now technically feasible.   The voyage above the ice is extremely difficult exacerbated by extreme low temperatures, short warm season, thick icing of exposed topside equipment, changing ice cap movements, and a lack of suitable rescue search operations.   Faster cargo submarines, using direct routes across the Arctic Ocean would require less

(Photo: Damen)

Keel Laid for Australia's New Antarctic Supply/Research Vessel

Island with cargo, equipment and personnel. This will be facilitated by the ability to stow more than 100 TEU.   In terms of research, the ASRV signifies the Australian government’s commitment to a long term scientific programme focused on the understanding and stewardship of the Southern Ocean. With laboratory and office spaces totalling 500 m2, up to 116 scientific staff will be able to perform a huge range of cross-disciplinary studies of the biological, physical, chemical and geological systems of the region. Placing a coin under the keel of a ship at the start of construction is

Sonardyne’s Ranger 2 will support the RRS Sir David Attenborough’s work by enabling science teams to precisely monitor the position of underwater systems including Boaty McBoatface. (Image: Sonardyne)

Sonardyne Ranger 2 for RRS Sir David Attenborough

Sonardyne acoustic positioning technology selected for Royal Research Ship Sir David Attenborough   Ocean science technology company Sonardyne International Ltd said it has been awarded the contract to supply subsea acoustic tracking and position reference equipment for Britain’s new polar research vessel, RRS Sir David Attenborough.   The Ranger 2 Ultra-Short BaseLine (USBL) system will be used by scientists to precisely track the position of, and communicate with, scientific instruments and robotic vehicles deployed from the vessel, including the now famous Boaty McBoatface AUV.

NASA, Norway to Develop Arctic Laser-Ranging Station

 NASA and the Norwegian Mapping Authority are partnering to develop a state-of-the-art satellite laser ranging station 650 miles from the North Pole that will produce high-precision locations of orbiting satellites, help track changes in the ice sheets and improve the efficiency of marine transportation and agriculture.   The Arctic station will be the latest addition to a global network of space geodetic stations, which measure and monitor the size and shape of Earth, its orientation in space, the exact location of points on its surface and how these locations change over time. Space

File photo: Jamie Baikie / Statoil

Statoil Set to Drill Its Biggest Arctic Hope

Norway's Statoil will soon start drilling this season's most promising Arctic prospect, Korpfjell, after several disappointing wells in the Barents Sea, the company said on Monday.   The majority state-owned company has stepped up drilling in the Barents Sea this year as the government seeks to attract more explorers to its Arctic waters to make up for declining North Sea output.   The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said on Monday Statoil's latest well in the Barents Sea, Gemini North, had found only minor volumes of gas and oil.   "The well was drilled with the ambition of

(Photo: MetOcean Telematics)

MetOcean Telematics Wins Canada Satcom Contract

MetOcean Telematics said it has been awarded a multi-year contract to provide global satellite communications to the Canadian Government, exclusively through the Iridium network.   The agreement will feature MetOcean Telematics hardware products and services, deployed for use by more than 150 Canadian Government agencies. The Iridium network satellite constellation offers 100 percent global coverage, including the polar regions, such as the remote Arctic territory of northern Canada.   MetOcean Telematics notes it has significant experience providing remote monitoring technology for

Artist’s impression of RRS Sir David Attenborough (Image: Cammell Laird and British Antarctic Survey)

FarSounder Sonar for RRS Sir David Attenborough

The new $180 million polar research vessel RRS Sir David Attenborough currently under construction at the Cammell Laird Birkenhead shipyard in the Port of Liverpool City Region, U.K. is slated to be equipped with FarSounder's longest range sonar system, the FarSounder-1000.   The new, state-of-the-art ship, owned by Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), will enable scientists to explore and undertake science in new areas of the Antarctic and Arctic seas.   With the vessel’s ability to embark on longer voyages and explore some of the most remote aquatic regions of the world

Artist impression Antarctic Supply Research Vessel (ASRV) for the Australian Antarctic Division.  (Photo: Radio Holland)

IT Package Ordered for Australian Arctic Research Ship

Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS, Vlissingen) has awarded Radio Holland a contract to supply the IT systems on board the state-of-the-art Antarctic Supply Research Vessel (ASRV) newbuild for the Australian Antarctic Division.   The 160m ASRV is a survey vessel which combines icebreaking, survey and supply activities. The vessel will be able to break ice up to 1.65 meters at a speed of 3 knots and will supply Australia’s permanent research stations in Antarctica and Macquarie Island with cargo, equipment and personnel.   Radio Holland said it will deliver a large IT infrastructu

Image of sea ice in the Beaufort Sea, acquired on 3 June 2017 by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument, on board the Aqua satellite. (Photo: NASA)

Trump Administration Approves Eni Plan to Drill Offshore Alaska

Eni US will become the first energy company allowed to explore for oil in federal waters off Alaska since 2015 after the Trump administration this week approved a drilling plan on leases the company has been sitting on for 10 years.   The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management approved the drilling plan of Eni US, a unit of Italy's Eni on Wednesday as part of President Donald Trump's plan to boost oil and gas drilling and make the country "energy dominant."   The approval is conditional on Eni getting other state and federal permits, which in past cases are generally granted once

Giant Iceberg Breaks off Antarctica

in area by more than 12 percent.   The Larsen A and B ice shelves, which were situated further north on the Antarctic Peninsula, collapsed in 1995 and 2002, respectively.   "This resulted in the dramatic acceleration of the glaciers behind them, with larger volumes of ice entering the ocean and contributing to sea-level rise," said David Vaughan, glaciologist and director of science at British Antarctic Survey.   "If Larsen C now starts to retreat significantly and eventually collapses, then we will see another contribution to sea level rise," he added.  

© André Gilden / Adobe Stock

Melting Sea Ice: A Canary in the Coal Mine

, thus serving as early warning systems. The environment itself can also serve as a sentinel, with small or remote changes warning that changes of greater magnitude are developing.   Currently, the extent and condition of Arctic sea ice is in the midst of rapid change. Ice coverage in the Arctic Ocean seems to set new lower maximums every winter lately. In addition, the sea ice is getting thinner. Estimates are that, over the past 30 years, the Arctic area has lost 50 percent of its prior coverage and 75 percent of its volume. Previously, scientists calculate that the Arctic Ocean might be virtually

Statoil Decision on Castberg Field in late 2017

Plans final investment decision regarding the Arctic Johan Castberg oilfield to be made towards end of 2017   * In January Statoil said Castberg decision would come during the second half of 2017   * Investment seen at NOK 49 billion ($5.78 billion) between 2017 and 2024   * Field size estimated at 450-650 mln barrels of oil equivalent   * Says Castberg operation will be supported by a supply and helicopter base in Hammerfest and an operations organisation in Harstad   * Says recruitment of offshore personnel from Finnmark county is also prioritised   *

Polar Pioneer in the Barents Sea - Statoil - Photo Harald Pettersen

Statoil Cleared to Use Cap-X Drilling Technology – for Now

A ban on Norway's Statoil using a pioneering drilling technology in the Barents Sea was lifted after a plaintiff failed to post security in a patent dispute, a lawyer said on Thursday. A Stavanger court earlier in June upheld an injunction on the technology's use, pending payment of a 20 million Norwegian crown ($2.35 million) security by privately owned NeoDrill. NeoDrill was unable to post the security due to its "very limited economic position". But it was open to finding a commercial solution with Statoil, Kyrre Tangen Andersen, a lawyer representing NeoDrill, told Reuters in an

Barents Sea (Image: Statoil)

Statoil Denies Patent Infringement, Keeps Drilling in the Barents Sea

Norway's Statoil said on Monday it would keep drilling exploration wells in the Barents Sea using what it called "regular equipment" after a court upheld an injunction in a patent dispute over specialised drilling technology.   Statoil said the Stavanger court had lifted an injunction on the use of its Cap-X technology in the Blaaman well, where drilling was suspended earlier, but had upheld a ban on the four other Arctic wells planned to be drilled this year.   When presenting Cap-X last year, Statoil said it would help reduce drilling costs. Small Norwegian firm NeoDrill said

Photo: Damen

First Steel Cut for Australia's New Polar Research Ship

the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD). “The new vessel is a multi-mission ship designed to sustain our geographically dispersed stations, support helicopter operations, sustain shore parties on remote islands, map the seafloor and undertake a variety of scientific activities across the Southern Ocean,” said AAD Modernization Program Manager Rob Bryson.   To fulfil these diverse roles, the ASRV boasts considerable cargo capacity: up to 96 TEU below decks and 14 TEU and six 10-foot containers on the aft deck, as well as more above the helicopter hanger and in front of the helideck

(Photo: Cammell Laird)

RRS Sir David Attenborough: Construction Progressing

Cammell Laird shipyard informs it has reached the nine-month milestone in its project to build the U.K.’s new polar research ship the RRS Sir David Attenborough.    The Merseyside-based engineering services giant beat off competition from around the world to be appointed to build the £15 0million vessel. The ship, which is the biggest commercial shipbuilding project in Britain for 30 years, has been commissioned by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and it will be operated by British Antarctic Survey (BAS), transforming the U.K.’s polar research capability.

Photo credit: Arctic Council Secretariat / Linnea Nordström

Arctic Council Meeting Stirs Hidden Tensions

As foreign ministers from countries with territory in the far North celebrated an agreement on fighting climate change this week, one topic seethed below the surface: growing competition for Arctic resources and sea lanes as the ice melts.   Russia, one of eight members of the Arctic Council which includes the United States, Canada and the Nordic countries, has been pouring money and missiles into the Arctic as well as reopening and building bases there. This is bringing its Arctic military presence to the highest level since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union.   Although the Arctic

ICEHORSE Submersible Skimmer recovering oil during prototype testing at BSEE’s Ohmsett Facility. This BSEE-funded research project is part of an effort to improve oil recovery in icy Arctic waters. (Photo: BSEE)

Partners Advance Arctic Oil Spill Response Technology

Continually working to help improve oil spill response technologies, the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) presented details on its latest efforts at the Arctic Oil Spill Response Research and Technology Workshop on April 26.   There, Bureau staff presented results of several BSEE-funded projects including the development of a submersible skimmer prototype for oil recovery in and around broken ice.   “At the workshop, we all worked together to collectively understand the suite of response technology possibilities that are available today as well as

Arctic drilling: the Polar Pioneer in Norway’s arctic waters (Photo: Harald Pettersen, Statoil)

Norway's Heavyweights & Entrepreneurs

. Nearly all were infield drilling (production wells).    New Rig Company New rig entity Borr Drilling — formed by Tor Olav Troim, a former business associate of ship and rig mogul, billionaire John Fredriksen — is extra bullish on Onshore. Borr will pay $1.35 billion to buy Transocean’s 15 jack-up rigs, including associated debt, five newbuilds and their drilling order book. The new company will own 17 rigs. Earlier in 2016, Borr agreed to buy two Hercules Offshore jack-ups.    The Petoro document that confirms there’s been lots of drilling off Norway lately

File photo: Ole Jørgen Bratland / Statoil

Statoil Downplays Risks Ahead of Arctic Drilling

, 26 kilometers from Eni's Goliat field, the world's northernmost field in production, shipping data showed.   Gulowsen said Greenpeace planned to send its vessel to observe Statoil's Arctic drilling.   In 2014, Greenpeace activists tried to stop Arctic exploration by boarding the Transocean Spitsbergen rig headed to drill for Statoil near Bjoernoeya.   Greenpeace declined to comment on whether it planned any similar protests this year.     (Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis

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