The Director of the Icelandic Marine Research Institute Johann Sigurdsson is confident that the institute’s recommendations to limit the fishing allowances for cod, resulting in a quota cut by one third in 2007, were successful. Last week, Sigurdsson told Icelandic news that they definitely believe the reduction is delivering results.
The institute’s latest conclusions on the condition of the cod stock are positive. The cod stock’s overall index is slightly higher than last year. In 2008 the index hadn’t been higher since the annual measuring of the size of the cod stock began in the autumn of 1996.
This growth is traced directly back to the quota cut of 2007, a controversial decision at the time. Furthermore, the measuring of the length of the fish shows that the number of cod longer than 70 centimetres is higher this year than in 2008. Last year, such long fish hadn’t been seen in such quantities since the measuring first began. In addition to length, the cod’s weight is also above average.
Marport and General Dynamics Canada staff will attend the ASW 2009 conference being held in London, England on December 1st and 2nd.
The conference will focus on the changing environment in which anti-submarine warfare operations are likely to be conducted in future, a look at existing capability versus what is needed and an in-depth analysis into the individual practices of ASW and how they are changing. The goal of the conference is to allow delegates to develop a holistic approach in achieving a more capable yet affordable ASW capability. This will be delivered through a variety of presentations, keynote discussions, practical workshops, focus groups, streamed panels and informal breakouts.
This is a must attend event for anyone concerned about the current capability and skill fade in ASW operations. Delegates will hear the latest news, innovations and ambitions from the world leaders in ASW. The event will be attended by personnel from ASW Commands, ASW Centres of Excellence, Concepts and Doctrine staff, Commanders of Surface Ships, Submarines, Maritime Patrol Aircraft, ASW Helicopters and Mine Warfare along with technical and scientific advisors involved in the development of weapons, sensors and acoustics.
ASW 2009 will be the definitive ASW event this year. We welcome you to visit our stand in London at the Royal Horseguards Hotel
Last week, the U.S. Navy announced its decision to install a swimmer interdiction security system at Naval Base Kitsap in Bangor, Washington, that will employ teams of security personnel and specially-trained marine mammals to protect waterside assets and sailors. This action will enhance security capabilities to counter intruder threats from swimmers or divers and will be implemented in 2010.
The use of marine mammals to protect sensitive waterside areas has been proven to be reliable and effective. The Navy’s bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions are uniquely qualified for underwater sentry duty, mine clearance, and object recovery because of their exceptional sensory and diving capabilities.
An environmental impact statement (EIS) evaluated potential effects of several factors on the Navy’s dolphins and sea lions, including temperature, noise, water quality, toxins and the presence of other marine mammals in the NBK-Bangor environment. The EIS concluded that the Navy’s dolphins and sea lions are not expected to experience adverse environmentally-related effects from transfer to, and residence at Bangor.
The Navy’s decision concludes a multi-year process involving operational assessments, technical analysis, and environmental analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act. In addition to addressing public concerns, the Navy also consulted with state and federal regulatory agencies, including U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, Army Corps of Engineers, Washington State Department of Ecology, and the Washington Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation.
China has now surpassed South Korea as the world’s largest shipbuilder. China has 34.7 percent of the world market. Since 2000, South Korea has had the largest share of the world shipbuilding market after taking the lead from Japan.
China has invested significant resources into expanding its merchant shipbuilding industry, as a way to improve its warship building capability. Three years ago, China produced about a quarter of the world’s merchant ships, while South Korea was in first place, producing about a third. It was then believed that China would take first place in the next 5-10 years.
The big thing holding China back in the warship building area was the shortage of skilled personnel. By encouraging merchant shipbuilding, the government creates experienced ship builders for the more complex task of building warships. In most cases, merchant ships are larger than warships, and much less complex. For example, a common type of merchant ship is the VLCC (Very Large Crude Carrier) of 300,000 deadweight tons (DWT). This is the largest size tanker than can use the Straits of Malacca to carry oil from the Persian Gulf to East Asia. These ships haul two million barrels (about 290,000 tons) of oil per trip. These ships are larger than the biggest American aircraft carriers (like the Nimitz class, that are 110,000 tons displacement, and nearly 1,100 feet long.)
The major difference between merchant vessels and warships is what equipment they have. Merchant ships are quite basic and plain. A 300,000 DWT VLCC is about the same size as a Nimitz class carrier, but costs much less to build ($130 million for the VLCC, versus over $4 billion for the carrier). Actually, it costs more to run a carrier for one year, than the VLCC costs to build. Part of that has to do with crew size, with the carrier having a hundred sailors for everyone needed to run the VLCC.
By building all those merchant vessels, China has acquired the ability to build the basic warship hull. Where it has big problems is in creating the complex electronics, mechanical systems and weapons needed to make a warship work. China is making progress there as well, but not nearly as much as it has in the ship building area.
China grabbed the lead in market share for commercial shipping partly because it became more difficult for South Korean builders to expand. There were more restrictions on land use in South Korea, in addition to higher labour costs. South Korean builders, seeing that they could not match the expansion of Chinese ship yards, expended more effort on building more complex, and expensive, ships. Japan was following a similar path when it lost the lead to South Korea a decade ago. China also gained more market share by offering generous loan terms to foreign buyers of Chinese ships, and cheap loans for their own shipbuilders.
The U.S. Navy’s second Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) successfully completed its acceptance trials Nov. 19, paving the way for the ship to be transferred from its shipbuilder and enter naval service.
“Independence performed extremely well during trials,” Rear Adm. James Murdoch, LCS program manager, said in a Navy statement released last Thursday. “LCS 2 conducted two outstanding days at sea. We look forward to delivering this critical asset to the fleet.”
The Independence left its builder’s yard at Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama, on Nov. 16, running at speeds up to 45 knots and demonstrating its systems to a team from the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV). Like most new ships on sea trials, the ship was crewed by workers from the builder, along with test-and-evaluation teams from prime contractor General Dynamics and several subcontractors. Sailors from the ship’s future Navy crew were also on board as observers and to operate weapons.
According to the statement released by the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), Independence “was presented to INSURV with high levels of completion in production and test. The official results of the trials, including the type and number of trial cards, are currently being reviewed by the Navy.”
Construction of the Independence began in November 2005. The ship, like the Freedom from LCS competitor Lockheed Martin, was originally programmed to take two years to build at a cost of $223 million. But a series of miscalculations by the Navy and its contractors, design adjustments and other technical issues doubled the construction time, and the cost for the first-of-class ship has gone over the $700 million mark.
Delivery of the Independence is expected in mid-December, with a formal commissioning ceremony scheduled for Jan. 16 at Mobile, Alabama.
Lockheed’s Freedom, commissioned a year ago, is now conducting warfare tests, and is expected to carry out its first operational missions next year.
In addition to the first two ships, Lockheed and General Dynamics each are working on their second ship. The Navy plans to pick one design in mid-2010 on which to base another 51 LCS ships.
Satellite observations and a state-of-the art regional atmospheric model have independently confirmed that the Greenland ice sheet is losing mass at an accelerating rate, reports a new study in Science.
This mass loss is equally distributed between increased iceberg production, driven by acceleration of Greenland’s fast-flowing outlet glaciers, and increased meltwater production at the ice sheet surface. Recent warm summers further accelerated the mass loss to 273 Gt per year (1 Gt is the mass of 1 cubic kilometre of water), in the period 2006-2008, which represents 0.75 mm of global sea level rise per year.
Professor Jonathan Bamber from the University of Bristol and an author on the paper said: “It is clear from these results that mass loss from Greenland has been accelerating since the late 1990s and the underlying causes suggest this trend is likely to continue in the near future. We have produced agreement between two totally independent estimates, giving us a lot of confidence in the numbers and our inferences about the processes”.
The Greenland ice sheet contains enough water to cause a global sea level rise of seven metres. Since 2000, the ice sheet has lost about 1500 Gt in total, representing on average a global sea level rise of about half a millimetre per year, or 5 mm since 2000.
At the same time that surface melting started to increase around 1996, snowfall on the ice sheet also increased at approximately the same rate, masking surface mass losses for nearly a decade. Moreover, a significant part of the additional meltwater refroze in the cold snowpack that covers the ice sheet. Without these moderating effects, post-1996 Greenland mass loss would have been double the amount of mass loss observed now.
This work was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council.
Pacific Marine Expo is the largest commercial marine tradeshow on the West Coast of the United States. Serving all aspects of the market, including commercial vessels owners, commercial fishermen, boat builders and seafood processors, this annual event covers it all.
The 2009 show dates are Nov 19 – 21 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington.
Marport will be exhibiting in booth # 748.
The Spanish government has finally relented and agreed to allow its fishing companies to install armed guards on its trawlers operating in pirate infested waters.
The Spanish trawler Alakrana and her 36-strong crew were captured by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean over a month ago and there was an outcry from the fishing industry when Madrid said it would be against Spanish law to put its troops or police on fishing vessels.
However, Madrid has now met the industry half way by agreeing to armed private security guards. Deputy prime minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega told journalists after a cabinet meeting the new law would apply to Spanish-flagged ships outside Spanish waters to guard against risk to people and property.
‘Security may be offered by guards using authorised weapons suitable for effectively complying with prevention and protection duties,’ she said.
Meanwhile, the government said it was working on all fronts to free the crew of the Alakrana, a tuna-fishing vessel captured by pirates on Oct. 2.
Two of the suspected pirates were captured by a Spanish naval ship and have been brought to Spain to face trial on charges of terrorism and robbery.
Last year crew members of another Spanish boat were freed by pirates in the area after a $1.2 million ransom payment, according to a Somali official.
Pirates have turned their guns on European fishing boats in recent weeks and in one incident recently armed guards on a French trawler opened fire on their attackers and successfully beat them off.
French commandos stormed aboard a Somali pirate “mothership” and arrested 12 gunmen, the military announced Nov. 13, adding that the gangs are increasingly operating in the deep waters of the Indian Ocean.
Tipped off by spotters on a Luxembourg maritime reconnaissance plane, the French frigate Floreal intercepted a dhow towing two motorized skiffs 500 nautical miles northwest of the Seychelles on Nov. 12.
A helicopter from the warship fired a warning shot across the vessel’s bows as its crew began to throw incriminating material over the side. French troops boarded the ship and arrested the pirates without violence. On board, they found grappling hooks, GPS navigation devices and assault rifles, said French military spokesman Adm. Christophe Prazuck.
“Last year or at the start of this one the center of gravity was in the Gulf of Aden,” Prazuck said, referring to the straits between Arabia and the Horn of Africa that have become notorious for pirate attacks.
“The European team in place has significantly reduced the number of boats taken hostage. Though they still threaten the Gulf of Aden, the pirates have switched their activity further offshore into the Indian Ocean.”
Prazuck said pirates were now striking in areas up to 800 nautical miles from their bases on the coast of Somalia, a lawless and largely ungoverned African state plagued by faction-fighting.
Several naval task forces now carry out anti-piracy patrols, including flotillas commanded by the European Union, NATO and the U.S. Floreal is fighting under EU colors as part of Operation Atalante.
The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) recently commissioned its second submarine, KD Tun Tazak, into its fleet.
Tun Tazak will be based at the RMN naval base in Telok Sepanggar, Sabah, where she will join KD Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s first submarine which was commissioned in September.
The two Scorpene-class submarines, classified as Perdana Mentari-class submarines by the Royal Malaysian Navy, are armed with Blackshark wire-guided torpedoes and Exocet SM-39 sub-launched anti-ship missiles. They are capable of conducting anti-submarine or anti-surface ship operations, as well as special forces deployment missions in coastal waters.