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March 2015 Issue

New Interest Group for North Sea Energy Sector
The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST) and the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR) are establishing a regional marine special interest group (SIG) specifically covering the energy sector in the East of England/Southern North Sea.

The Southern North Sea is a hugely significant region for marine energy with 153 active gas platforms, two interconnectors, 2,300 kilometers of pipeline and 24 proposed offshore wind farms off the coast.

The SIG will seek to explore a number of topics pertaining to marine energy in the region, from the vast range of marine vessels used in the energy sector to subsea support and the challenges of cooperating with other work being done in the Southern North Sea, such as that of aggregate extractors, aquaculturists and fisheries.

Those wishing to get involved and contribute their expertise are able to nominate candidates to be considered to form a steering group to develop terms of reference and to ensure the SIG meets the needs of industry, society and the wider marine profession. Any parties wising to enter a nomination to join the steering group should email their request to ruth.owen@eeegr.com.


Protection Code Launched For Bottlenose Dolphins
Aberdeen, Scotland, is one of the best places in Europe to view dolphins. Now, a joint taskforce has launched a Code of Practice to protect Bottlenose dolphins near Aberdeen Harbour’s mouth and provide guidance to vessels operating in the port.

The code has been developed by a joint task force that has come together as a result of increased interest in the dolphins. The group includes: Aberdeen Harbour Board, East Grampian Coastal Partnership, Police Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage; with expert advice from the University of Aberdeen, RSPB, the Sea Mammal Research Unit and Whale and Dolphin Conservation.

The guidance suggests boats maintain a steady course at the slowest possible speed, stay away from the breakwaters, avoid directly approaching the animals, avoid turning engines on and off, and never feed, touch or swim with the dolphins.

Aberdeen Harbour is visited by a range of marine wildlife, including bottlenose, white beaked and risso dolphins; porpoises; minke whale; and basking sharks. It is believed that, although primarily aimed at dolphins, the guidelines will benefit all of such wildlife visiting the harbor.

The code will be widely distributed to vessel owners, port users and stakeholders.


Study Quantifies Amount Of Plastic Waste Entering Ocean
A new study published in Science quantifies the input of plastic waste from land into the ocean and offers a roadmap for developing ocean-scale solutions to the problem of plastic marine pollution. The research was conducted by a scientific working group at University of California, Santa Barbara’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, with support from Ocean Conservancy.

The study found that more than 4.8 million metric tons of plastic waste enters the oceans from land each year, and that figure may be as high as 12.7 million metric tons. That’s one to three orders of magnitude greater than the reported mass of plastic floating in the oceans.

Using the average density of uncompacted plastic waste, 8 million metric tons (the midpoint of the estimate) would cover an area 34 times the size of Manhattan ankle-deep in plastic waste.

According to the study, countries with coastal borders—192 in all—discharge plastic into the world’s oceans, with the largest quantities estimated to come from a relatively small number of middle-income, rapidly developing countries. The top 20 countries accounted for 83 percent of the mismanaged plastic waste available to enter the ocean. Reducing the amount of this waste by 50 percent would result in a nearly 40 percent decline in inputs of plastic to the ocean.

The researchers suggest solutions that could reverse the trend, including waste reduction and downstream waste management strategies, such as expanded recovery systems and extended producer responsibility. Industrialized countries can take immediate action by reducing waste and curbing the growth of single-use plastic.


New Report: Decadal Survey Of Ocean Sciences
The new report from the National Research Council, “Sea Change 2015-2025 - Decadal Survey of Ocean Sciences,” identifies eight strategic priorities for the next 10 years that will continue to advance scientific understanding of the ocean, as well as assess the infrastructure needed to support this research.

In addition, the report provides recommendations for aligning current and planned infrastructure and budgets with science priorities to achieve these research goals. Among the priority areas are the rate and impacts of sea level rise; climate change effects on marine ecosystems; and better methods for forecasting geohazards, such as tsunamis and earthquakes.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is the leading funder of basic research in the ocean sciences, and the decadal survey was undertaken at the request of the Division of Ocean Sciences at NSF. The committee for the decadal survey gathered input from the ocean sciences community through presentations by scientific and academic leaders, literature reviews, virtual town hall meetings and discussions with scientists. To help determine priorities from the information they collected, the committee applied four criteria: transformative research potential, societal impact, readiness, and partnership potential.

“This report will help to transform how we commit our national resources and further develop infrastructure for ocean science research,” said Dr. Daniel C. Flynn, vice president for research at Florida Atlantic University (FAU).

Dr. Shirley Pomponi, research professor and executive director of the NOAA Cooperative Institute for Ocean Exploration, Research, and Technology at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at FAU, is co-chair of the new Decadal Survey of Ocean Sciences report.


2015:  JAN | FEB | MARCH
2014:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC


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Sea Technology is read worldwide in more than 110 countries by management, engineers, scientists and technical personnel working in industry, government and educational research institutions. Readers are involved with oceanographic research, fisheries management, offshore oil and gas exploration and production, undersea defense including antisubmarine warfare, ocean mining and commercial diving.