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KONGSBERG Presented 'The Full Picture' for Aquaculture at Aqua Nor 2015

Represented with staff from various business units and departments, Kongsberg Maritime portrayed its vast variety of products on offer for the future of fishery and aquaculture. This was the first time Kongsberg Maritime attended the exhibition with a joint product offering for aquaculture, and the concept attracted a lot of interest from visitors.

"Aquaculture is one of the main focus areas for Kongsberg Maritime going forward, so this was the right timing for us to attend Aqua Nor," explained Thor Hukkelås, who is responsible for coordinating the aquaculture product offerings in Kongsberg Maritime.

"Only 2% of the world's food production comes from the ocean, and only 2% of this is from Norwegian aquaculture, so there is a huge potential for increased production of seafood along the Norwegian coast. Using our long coastline and offshore ocean areas to produce healthy food for the world's growing population must surely be one of the most meaningful activities that we can be involved in," said Hukkelås.

Based on proven technology
As a partner in the newly established SFI Exposed Aquaculture Operations managed by SINTEF, Kongsberg Maritime can provide a range of various systems for aquaculture, such as different types of sensors and echo sounders for real time visualization of fish distribution in order to monitor such factors as fish behavior, size distribution, activity levels and position.

Kongsberg Maritime also offers several other systems for fish farms, such as automation, navigation and communication systems for data transfer to shore.

"None of these products are new in our portfolio. They are all based on proven technology over decades. The challenge is to integrate these systems, to gather the vast amount of data from a large number of different subsea sensors and to present these data to the human operator in a meaningful and intuitive way," Hukkelås commented.

Increasing demand for food
The Minister of Fisheries, Elisabeth Aspaker, gave the opening speech at the exhibition, focusing on the growing world population and the increasing need for sustainable food production such as fishery and seafood.

"We live in a world in dramatic change. While our climate is shifting, world population is increasing by the day. By 2050 there will be 9 billion people on earth. The demand for clean and affordable energy will surge, and according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, food demand will increase by a staggering 100%. Feeding a growing world population is one of the major challenges facing the global community today, and fish and seafood are a crucial part of the solution," said Aspaker.

"The potential for sustainable growth and wealth creation within fisheries and aquaculture is great. Yet, at the same time the industry is faced with challenges related to sustainability and green growth. The good news is that we have more and more examples showing that marine sectors such as fisheries and aquaculture can be managed in a way that meets the three dimensions of sustainability: environmental, social and economic," Aspaker continued.

Aqua-Nor facts

  • Aqua Nor has existed for more than 30 years
  • The show is held biennially in Trondheim
  • It is the world's largest exhibition for aquaculture
  • Technology, processes and services related to the farming of salmon, other marine species, shellfish etc. are represented
  • This year's show attracted a record number of 20848 visitors from 76 countries
  • There were 550 exhibitors from 27 countries at Aqua Nor 2015

NOAA: In 2012, U.S. Ocean and Great Lakes Economy Grew Much Faster than Overall GDP

The U.S. ocean economy outpaced the domestic economy between 2011 and 2012, with an increase of $22 billion in gross domestic product, from $321 billion to $343 billion, according to a new NOAA analysis.

Adjusting the figures to remove the effects of inflation, this increase equates to a 10.5 percent rate of growth—more than four times as fast as the U.S. economy as a whole. The report is based on 2012 U.S. national economic statistics released in August 2014.

The U.S. ocean and Great Lakes economy covers six sectors in 30 coastal states. (Credit: NOAA)

Five of the six ocean economy sectors grew faster than the national average of 2.5 percent. Offshore mineral extraction, which saw employment increases of 8.6 percent and inflation-adjusted GDP increased by 20.9 percent, grew most dramatically of all. The study looked at coastal marine construction, living resources, offshore mineral extraction, ship and boat building, tourism and recreation, and marine transportation.

NOAA’s 2012 Report on the U.S. Ocean and Great Lakes Economy (PDF, 1MB) shows how dependent local businesses are on the U.S. ocean and Great Lakes. These businesses represent an essential and resilient part of our nation’s economy. In 2012, these sectors employed 2.9 million people—more than crop production, telecommunication, and building construction combined—and produced more than $343 billion in goods and services.

“The oceans and Great Lakes benefit Americans from all across the country, no matter where they live, even if it’s not near the coast,” said Jeffery Adkins, an economist in NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management. “We fish from their waters, vacation along their coasts, ship cargo on their surface, and extract oil, gas, sand and gravel from their seafloors. By showing how the oceans and Great Lakes contribute directly to the economy, this kind of data can help decision makers protect these resources and use them wisely.”

According to the report, additional key coastal economic 2012 facts included:

  • $113 billion in annual wages,
  • 3.8 percent growth in employment, more than twice the 1.8 percent national rate,
  • 147,000 total business establishments,
  • 108,000 new jobs created,
  • Salaries were above the national average for workers in marine construction, ship and boat building, marine transportation, and offshore mineral extraction.

The national average for wages was $49,000; for the ocean and Great Lake industries, the national average ranged from $63,000 to $143,000.

In addition, the U.S. ocean and Great Lakes economy is a strong contributor to the economy of many states:

California employed the highest number of workers, accounting for 17 percent of the nation’s ocean-dependent employment and 22 percent of the nation’s employment in the marine transportation sector.

Texas contributed the most to the nation’s ocean GDP, mainly from offshore mineral production. Texas alone produced 35 percent of the ocean-dependent GDP in 2012.

Michigan was the leading state in the growth of Great Lakes and ocean employment. After being severely affected by the economic downturn, Michigan’s ocean employment grew prominently by 8 percent in 2012, much faster than the overall state average of 2.1 percent.

This information was derived from NOAA’s Economics: National Ocean Watch (ENOW) data set. ENOW provides time-series data on the ocean and Great Lakes economy and is available for counties, states, regions, and the nation in a wide variety of formats. These data feature nationally consistent information that helps users understand and manage the diverse economic demands placed on the oceans and Great Lakes.

NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management developed ENOW time-series data and other products using information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, and the Bureau of Economic Analysis, a sister agency of NOAA in the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Oceaneering Announces the Promotion of Eric A. Silva to Senior Vice President, Operations Support

Mr. Silva joined Oceaneering in February 2014 as Vice President and Chief Information Officer. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Texas.

As Senior Vice President, Operations Support, Mr. Silva will continue his leadership of Information Technology and assume additional responsibility for Human Resources, Supply Chain Management, and Internal Audit. Mr. Silva’s career spans over 30 years in the oilfield service, chemical, energy, and oil and gas industries. In addition to his extensive information technology services leadership experience, he has held internal audit, accounting, financial analysis, and corporate treasury positions and managed, in various capacities, human resources and risk management departments.

Marvin J. Migura, Executive Vice President, stated, “Since Eric joined Oceaneering he has been instrumental in driving strategic alignment of technology and technology services with corporate and business unit goals. He has proven to be a superb builder of effective teams that focus on and collaborate with the business. Eric has been well accepted within the organization and his broad background makes him an ideal candidate to serve an expanded support role with the company.”

Mr. Silva is replacing Alan R. Curtis, who has been appointed Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

Oceaneering is a global provider of engineered services and products, primarily to the offshore oil and gas industry, with a focus on deepwater applications. Through the use of its advanced applied technology expertise, Oceaneering also serves the defense, entertainment, and aerospace industries. v For further information, please contact Jack Jurkoshek, Director Investor Relations, Oceaneering International, Inc., 713-329-4670, E-mail

Big Data Maps World's Ocean Floor

Scientists from the University of Sydney’s School of Geosciences have led the creation of the world’s first digital map of the seafloor’s geology.

It is the first time the composition of the seafloor, covering 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, has been mapped in 40 years; the most recent map was hand drawn in the 1970s.

Published in the latest edition of Geology, the map will help scientists better understand how our oceans have responded, and will respond, to environmental change. It also reveals the deep ocean basins to be much more complex than previously thought.

“In order to understand environmental change in the oceans we need to better understand what is preserved in the geological record in the seabed,” says lead researcher Dr. Adriana Dutkiewicz from the University of Sydney. “The deep ocean floor is a graveyard with much of it made up of the remains of microscopic sea creatures called phytoplankton, which thrive in sunlit surface waters. The composition of these remains can help decipher how oceans have responded in the past to climate change.”

A special group of phytoplankton called diatoms produce about a quarter of the oxygen we breathe and make a bigger contribution to fighting global warming than most plants on land. Their dead remains sink to the bottom of the ocean, locking away their carbon.

The new seafloor geology map demonstrates that diatom accumulations on the seafloor are nearly entirely independent of diatom blooms in surface waters in the Southern Ocean.

“This disconnect demonstrates that we understand the carbon source, but not the sink,” says co-author Professor Dietmar Muller from the University of Sydney. More research is needed to better understand this relationship.

A still shot of the world's first digital map of the seafloor's geology.

Dr. Dutkiewicz said, “Our research opens the door to future marine research voyages aimed at better understanding the workings and history of the marine carbon cycle. Australia’s new research vessel Investigator is ideally placed to further investigate the impact of environmental change on diatom productivity. We urgently need to understand how the ocean responds to climate change.”

Some of the most significant changes to the seafloor map are in the oceans surrounding Australia.

“The old map suggests much of the Southern Ocean around Australia is mainly covered by clay blown off the continent, whereas our map shows this area is actually a complex patchwork of microfossil remains,” said Dr. Dutkiewicz. “Life in the Southern Ocean is much richer than previously thought.”

Dr. Dutkiewicz and colleagues analyzed and categorized around 15,000 seafloor samples – taken over half a century on research cruise ships to generate the data for the map. She teamed with the National ICT Australia (NICTA) big data experts to find the best way to use algorithms to turn this multitude of point observations into a continuous digital map.

“Recent images of Pluto’s icy plains are spectacular, but the process of unveiling the hidden geological secrets of the abyssal plains of our own planet was equally full of surprises!” co-author Dr. Simon O’Callaghan from NICTA said.

This research is supported by the Science and Industry Endowment Fund.

The digital data and interactive map are freely available as open access resources.

Global Marine Systems - First Cohort of Dual-Skilled Cadets Graduate With Flying Colors

After three years of studying sponsored by Global Marine, including spending nine months aboard various vessels in the company fleet, Joss, Marcus, Ron and William qualified as Electrical Technical Officers (ETO) this summer.

Since then the four ETOs have spent recent weeks within the training school at the company’s head office in Chelmsford to gain further skills and knowledge in order to qualify as Junior Systems Technicians (JST). This will give the officers the capability to work in cable jointing as well as piloting Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) whilst at sea. The additional training has included learning practical skills in splicing, jointing and using the X-Ray Camera whilst getting to grips with a wide range of technical specifications and procedures.

This dual skilling is what sets these officers apart from other qualified cadets, enabling them to operate in both roles – ETO and JST. This has advantages all round; allowing better utilization of the workforce in the areas of greatest demand, but also giving the seafarers a greater range of skills and experience, and a platform for their future careers.

Marcus said, “I’m really excited for what the future holds, I see this as a long-term career path and I’m feeling very motivated after spending time with the trainers here in Chelmsford. Global Marine has been very good to us, supporting us throughout our apprenticeship with constant contact and now with our on-going learning. We’re all looking forward to completing this part of our training and getting back on board a vessel to really start our new roles.”

New CFO Appointed by Global Marine

Global Marine Systems Limited, the UK headquartered world leader in subsea system engineering, installation and maintenance, has appointed Richard Fraser-Smith as its new Chief Financial Officer (CFO). He started in June 2015 and sits on the company’s board and leadership team.

Mr Fraser-Smith joins Global Marine with a wealth of relevant experience. Most recently he was European Finance Director at CH2M Hill, a US-based organisation that offers a diverse range of engineering consulting, design, project management and project delivery services. Some of the notable UK infrastructure projects to which Mr Fraser-Smith contributed during his time with CH2M included Crossrail, HS2 and Thames Tideway. Prior to that he was Regional Finance Director at Halcrow Group Limited, the company acquired by CH2M Hill in 2011.

“I’m excited about my role at Global Marine. I see it as a company which combines the knowledge that only such a vast heritage in subsea engineering can bring, with a commitment to innovation; a combination that presents significant opportunities for growth. I want to be a fresh pair of eyes; challenge the status quo in order to evolve the business.”

Originally a graduate in chemical engineering, Mr Fraser-Smith spent a year in the oil industry as a process engineer before moving into finance. He qualified as a chartered accountant with PwC in 1991 and has since taken on various roles in different industries for companies including Conoco, DuPont, PepsiCo, Walkers and Aramark.

“Richard sees himself as a front-facing business partner and a results-driven accountant, which is precisely the kind of CFO we were looking to appoint,” says Ian Douglas, CEO at Global Marine. “He clearly brings with him a wealth of corporate knowledge which, combined with his experience in operational finance and risk management, is certain to be of enormous benefit to Global Marine and assist with our plans for growth in our current key market sectors; telecoms and oil & gas.”

BSEE Approves Updated Permit for Exploration Activities in Arctic Waters Under Rigorous Safety Requirements

After extensive review and under a robust array of safety requirements, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director Brian Salerno announced that Shell has received approval of one Application for Permit to Modify (APM) to conduct exploratory drilling activities into potential oil-bearing zones offshore Alaska at one of the wells at the Burger Prospect, Burger J. The company remains limited to the top section of the Burger V well.

Shell submitted an APM on August 6 to modify the Burger J Application for Permit to Drill (APD), which previously restricted Shell from drilling into oil-bearing zones since a capping stack was not on hand and deployable within 24 hours, as required by BSEE. A capping stack is a critical piece of emergency response equipment designed to shut in a well in the unlikely event of a loss of well control. The capping stack, staged on the vessel M/V Fennica, is now in the region and capable of being deployed within 24 hours.

“Activities conducted offshore Alaska are being held to the highest safety, environmental protection, and emergency response standards,” said Salerno. “Now that the required well control system is in place and can be deployed, Shell will be allowed to explore into oil-bearing zones for Burger J. We will continue to monitor their work around the clock to ensure the utmost safety and environmental stewardship.”

Shell is still prohibited from simultaneous drilling at Burger J and V, in accordance with the approved APDs, which define limitations related to marine mammal protection consistent with requirements established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Consistent with regulatory requirements, a USFWS Letter of Authorization (LOA) issued on June 30 requires Shell to maintain a minimum spacing of 15 miles between active drill rigs during exploration activities to avoid significant effects on walruses in the region.

Under the LOA, Shell is also required to have trained wildlife observers on all drilling units and support vessels to minimize impacts to protected species. Shell must stay within explicitly outlined vessel operating speeds and report daily regarding all vessel transits. To ensure compliance with this and other conditions, BSEE safety inspectors have been present on the drilling units Noble Discoverer and Transocean Polar Pioneer 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide continuous oversight and monitoring of all approved activities. The inspectors are authorized to take immediate action to ensure compliance and safety, including cessation of all drilling activities, if necessary. BSEE experts have been engaged in thorough inspections of both drilling units and Shell’s response equipment.

The Burger Prospect is located in about 140 feet of water, 70 miles northwest of the village of Wainwright.

BSEE’s close oversight of drilling operations in the Chukchi Sea this year is consistent with its continuing efforts over the past five years to upgrade safety standards to improve the safety of offshore oil and gas development. In addition, building on the lessons learned from Shell’s 2012 drilling operations in the offshore Arctic and incorporating the recommendations of a Departmental review of those activities, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) on May 11, 2015, provided conditional approval of Shell’s Exploration Plan, which established numerous additional stringent safety requirements:

All phases of an offshore Arctic program – preparations, drilling, maritime and emergency response operations – must be integrated and subject to strong operator management and government oversight, as detailed in Shell’s Integrated Operations Plan;

A shortened drilling season to allow time for open-water emergency response and relief rig operations late in the drilling season before projected ice encroachment;

Capping stack must be pre-staged and available for use within 24 hours;

A tested subsea containment system must be deployable within eight days;

The capability to drill a same season relief well;

A robust suite of measures to avoid and minimize adverse impacts to marine mammals and their habitat, impacts to Native subsistence activities, and other environmental impacts; and

Drilling units and their supporting vessels must depart the Chukchi Sea at the conclusion of each exploration drilling season.

The Department has also published proposed regulations to ensure that future exploratory drilling activities on the U.S. Arctic Outer Continental Shelf are done safely and responsibly, subject to strong and proven operational standards and Shell’s Chukchi Sea operations are being held to many of standards in the proposed regulations.

The APM and decision letter can be found here.

Overfishing and Climate Change, Combined, Intensify Ocean Threats

Millions of people and billions of dollars depend on healthy oceans, but human actions create complex interactions that endanger oceans

The combination of overfishing and climate change may be putting the oceans' health, and our own wellbeing, at risk. As State of the World 2015 contributing author Katie Auth explains, protecting lives and livelihoods will require urgent and concerted action to improve the oceans' condition (

"Our sense of the oceans' power and omnipotence, combined with scientific ignorance, contributed to an assumption that nothing we did could ever possibly impact it," writes Auth. "Over the years, scientists and environmental leaders have worked tirelessly to demonstrate and communicate the fallacy of such arrogance."

Three billion people worldwide depend on fish as their main source of animal protein, essential micronutrients, and fatty acids. The livelihoods of millions of people in both developing and high-income countries rely on the multibillion-dollar fisheries industry, a sector that accounted for 1.5 million jobs and more than $45 billion of income in the United States alone in 2010.

"As our negative impact on the oceans has grown, so has our understanding of the myriad ways in which the health of the marine environment determines our own," writes Auth. "The combined stresses of human activities like overfishing and climate change now pose distinct and intensified threats to marine systems."

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reported that the global share of marine stocks considered to be fished "within biologically sustainable levels" fell from 90 percent to 71 percent between 1974 and 2011. Of that 71 percent, a large majority (86 percent) of stocks are already fished to capacity. Rapid human population growth and rising incomes are increasing the demand for food fish and pushing wild fish populations to the brink.

Climate-related changes in the marine ecosystem are also affecting the oceans. Over the last 40 years, the upper 75 meters of the world's oceans have warmed by an average of more than 0.1 degrees Celsius per year. Temperate species are responding to this change and other stressors, such as pollution and fishing pressures, by moving toward the poles, possibly increasing competition with polar animals.

Further, increased carbon in the atmosphere is triggering ocean acidification. About a quarter of human-caused carbon dioxide from the atmosphere has been absorbed into seawater. This changes the chemistry of the water and makes it more difficult for some marine organisms (such as oysters and corals) to form shells and skeletons. Once these populations are affected, entire food webs are threatened.

"Marine ecosystems and individual organisms that already are weakened by overfishing become less resilient and more vulnerable to disruption, especially because environmental change is occurring so rapidly," writes Auth.

Yet Auth believes that there is still hope. "Conservation efforts aimed at improving system resiliency have proven effective in addressing the nexus between fishing and climate change," she writes. Changes in fishing policies, equipment, and techniques that result in less damage to ocean-bottom habitats and that reduce bycatch also would diminish fishing stresses. Finally, revamping the global energy system away from fossil fuels would curtail the rise in ocean temperatures and carbon dioxide levels.

Worldwatch's State of the World 2015 investigates hidden threats to sustainability, including economic, political, and environmental challenges that are often underreported in the media. State of the World 2015 highlights the need to develop resilience to looming shocks. For more information on the project, visit

Dr. Mark Whorton to Manage US Operations as President of Teledyne Optech, Inc.

Teledyne Optech is pleased to announce that Dr. Mark Whorton has assumed the role of President of the US organization Teledyne Optech, Inc. In this role, Dr. Whorton will oversee US operations and apply his expertise to the development of the Optech Coastal Zone Mapping and Imaging Lidar (CZMIL) and our line of digital aerial cameras.

Dr. Whorton has been serving Teledyne Brown Engineering (TBE) as Chief Technology Officer since October 2014 and previously as Director, Commercial Earth Imaging. He is the Principal Investigator for the Multiple User System for Earth Sensing (MUSES) instrument pointing system for the International Space Station (ISS) and led the origination of Teledyneís efforts in commercial Earth imaging. Dr. Whorton earned a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and prior to joining Teledyne in 2009 he served as Chief of the Guidance, Navigation, and Mission Analysis Branch at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center where he was a subject matter expert in dynamics and control of space systems. Dr. Whorton will continue his work on MUSES as CTO at TBE while he joins Teledyne Optech.

“We are excited to have Dr. Whorton applying his leadership skills at Teledyne Optech,î said Don Carswell. ìHis expertise in passive sensors from the MUSES project will benefit the CS line of cameras developed at our New York office and the Optech CZMIL lidar/hyperspectral bathymeter developed at our Mississippi office.”

“I am extremely excited about the opportunity to join Teledyne Optech and help continue the technical excellence that makes Teledyne Optech such an important part of the broader Teledyne family of companies,” said Dr. Whorton. “ We at Teledyne Optech have a talented team and unique products, which I look forward to further developing in the US marketplace.”

IMCA Publishes Revisions of Two Important Diving Guidance Documents

The International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) has published revisions of two important diving publications – Diving Equipment Systems Inspection Guidance Note (DESIGN) for Mobile/Portable Surface Supplied Systems (IMCA D 040 Rev 1) and Mobile/Portable/Daughtercraft Surface Supplied Systems (IMCA D 015 Rev 1). Both documents can be downloaded free of charge from the IMCA website, with printed copies available for purchase from the association.

“Our diving guidance documents are used throughout the world, indeed often use of them is a requirement for diving contractors responding to a tender,” explains Jane Bugler, IMCA’s Technical Director and Acting Chief Executive. “The DESIGN series of documents have long played an important role within the industry.

“In the early 1980s, in order to give some guidance to the offshore industry, IMCA’s predecessor the Association of Offshore Diving Contractors (AODC) started to produce a number of reference documents, standards and guidance notes. This process continued through the 1980s. It was clear, however, that there was still considerable confusion with some diving systems being ‘audited’ several times a year by different clients, each of whose representatives had slightly different interpretations as to what was required.

DESIGN’s long history
“AODC published document reference AODC 052 – Diving Equipment Systems Inspection Guidance Note (DESIGN) – in February 1989 that sought to clarify any interpretations necessary and to identify a common standard that could be applied by all parties during an inspection. It was intended for use offshore in the UK sector of the North Sea but in the absence of other guidance it became a standard reference in many parts of the world, particularly where there were no specific national regulations.

“Subsequently AODC expanded and revised the document which was re-issued as Rev. 1 in February 1995. This more comprehensive document covered both air and saturation diving systems. It was still based on the requirements of the UK sector of the North Sea but was adopted by many clients and diving contractors world-wide. Some users, however, found it to be complex and difficult to use.

“With the increasingly international nature of the offshore diving industry, IMCA revised AODC 052 Rev. 1 in order to simplify it, clarify any anomalies which had shown up and adapt it for international use, rather than restrict it to North Sea use. It was also decided to split it into separate documents, one for surface diving (IMCA D 023 published 2000) and the other for saturation diving (IMCA D 024 published 2001).

“Subsequently documents were issued in 2006 for surface supplied mixed gas diving (IMCA D 037) and mobile/portable surface supplied diving (IMCA D 040) and in 2014 for hyperbaric reception facilities (IMCA D 053). IMCA D 024 for saturation diving systems was revised and updated to Rev. 1 in 2013 and to Rev. 2 in 2014. IMCA D 023 was revised and updated to Rev. 1 in 2014. Our newly published guidance document is an adaptation of D 023 modified to specifically cover mobile/portable surface supplied diving equipment.”

Current Version of IMCA D 040

Interior Department Praises Gulf Coast Restoration Council for Nearly $140 Million in Proposed Restoration Projects

Funds will improve the health and resiliency for the Gulf of Mexico

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell commended the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council for issuing its initial list of proposed projects for meaningful and lasting natural resource restoration for Gulf Coast communities in the wake of the tragic Deepwater Horizon oil spill. 

The RESTORE Council today proposed using approximately $139.6 million from the recent settlement with Transocean Deepwater, Inc. to support restoration projects in key regional watersheds. Interior’s role in these projects is primarily focused on resiliency building efforts across the Gulf Coast.

“From Texas to Florida, the RESTORE Council is committed to recovering the health and resilience of the Gulf of Mexico,” said Jewell. “These important projects are focused on improving both water quality and wildlife habitat. Because of the direct connection between the environment and the economy in the Gulf region, these projects also help provide long-term economic benefits to local communities.”

The RESTORE Council was created under the 2012 Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability Tourist Opportunities and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act (RESTORE Act), which directed the Council to dedicate 80 percent of all Clean Water Act penalties relating to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to the fund it oversees. 

As a member on the Council, Interior was actively engaged in developing restoration proposals for the first draft of the Initial Funded Priorities List (FPL) of projects.

Some of the projects reflect Interior’s priorities for building climate resilient habitats, which include efforts to conserve existing habitat, restore and rebuild degraded habitat, support tribal responsibilities and provide science-based information to ensure future projects are built on a solid foundation.

The projects also focus on investments in water quality improvements and hydrologic restoration across the Gulf, which will provide direct benefits to millions of migratory birds and hundreds of federally-listed, at-risk species that call the Gulf home.

Additional proposed projects include: important restoration work to plug 11 abandoned oil and gas wells, backfill more than 16 miles of abandoned oil and gas canals, establish minimum monitoring and data standards for restoration work and develop conservation planning tools to assist in the identification and evaluation of future land conservation proposals in the Gulf Coast region.

Interior also plans to partner with Council members to create a proposed $8 million Gulf Coast Conservation Corps, which would provide job skills, training and education to youth in the region. Also, under this restoration-related corps plan, $500,000 would be set aside to create a tribal youth conservation corps along the Gulf Coast.

“While the primary goal is to restore the Gulf, it is also our responsibility to restore opportunity to the people who have been most impacted by the spill,” Jewell said. “Providing job training skills can enhance people’s ability to engage in the long-term Gulf restoration effort to help families, bolster local economies, and lead to a more resilient coast.”

The Council is inviting the public to comment on the draft Initial Funded Priorities List of projects and to attend public meetings that will be held across the Gulf Coast region.

For more information on the specific projects and public meetings or to comment on the Initial Funded Priorities List, please visit


For more information on the Department of the Interior’s post-oil spill restoration work, and the Department’s approved and proposed projects, please visit

BMT Nigel Gee Reaches 1000th Project Milestone

BMT Nigel Gee (BMT), a subsidiary of BMT Group Ltd, and a leading independent naval architecture and marine engineering design consultancy, is celebrating its latest achievement in securing its 1000th project which will involve the delivery of detailed production engineering for a ferry machinery conversion.

John Bonafoux, Managing Director of BMT Nigel Gee comments: “Reaching our 1000th project is a massive achievement and I’m extremely proud of how far we’ve come. Our first ever project seems such a long time ago now, but I still remember it well. It was a new ferry design and both Nigel Gee and I were burning the candles at both ends, ensuring the delivery of the project and ever since then the company has gone from strength to strength.”

Operating across four principal market sectors, the naval architectural practice delivers design and engineering services for specialised vessels in the commercial, yacht, defence and offshore energy markets. With 62 live projects, BMT made an exciting start to the year with current contracts equating to a total vessel length of nearly 2600m, spreading across 13 countries, over three continents. The company also recently announced the completion of new offices in Southampton to meet this large increase in design work.

John continues: “In some respects, the company seems almost unrecognisable, particularly, when you look at the changes in technology. Armed with just a golf ball typewriter and a drawing board, we used to do all of our drawings by hand in ink – a far cry from the office we work in today. Our decision to diversify into detailed production engineering 25 years ago was certainly a key step in our development, as was our strategic move into the large yacht market. Since then we have dedicated significant effort into maintaining diversity across our portfolio. Currently, 230 BMT Nigel Gee designed vessels are in service and operating around the world.”

James Hailstones Joins ASV

ASV is delighted to announce that James Hailstones has joined the team as the company expands its reach into the Offshore Energy market.

Based in Aberdeen, James will lead industry engagement as more firms look to introduce Autonomous Surface Vehicles into their operations.

James is an electronics engineer with over 30 years experience in the offshore survey industry, operating in the oil/gas, government, communications and renewable sectors. After spending 15 years working in an offshore environment on a global basis, James moved into various managerial positions working both in the USA and UK over the last 15 years.

“The current downturn in the oil and gas market is rapidly breaking the status quo on how the industry functions. This dynamic change is a great opportunity for new technology and methodologies, such as the ones created by ASV, to gain a foothold and exploit their cost reduction potential. Working for ASV, being at the forefront of their products implementation and watching the industry change because of it is going to be a rewarding experience” commented James.

Following successful operations in the Gulf of Mexico, Irish Sea and various locations off the UK, ASV has begun expanding its C-Worker fleet of ASVs. The multi-purpose work class vehicles have the ability to integrate multiple offshore payloads for a variety of tasks including surveying and monitoring.

The newly established Aberdeen base is in addition to ASV’s existing sales offices in Houston, Texas and Portsmouth, UK.


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