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Ashtead Technology Announces Distributor Agreement with SeaBotix at OTC

Leading international subsea equipment specialist, Ashtead Technology, has announced a distributor agreement with SeaBotix Inc for the sale and exclusive global rental of its miniROV systems at OTC in Houston.

The agreement with SeaBotix, a world-leading manufacturer of miniROV systems, was announced at OTC on May 7, and includes sales representation in the UK, Gulf of Mexico and Mexico. The deal also allows Ashtead to deliver dedicated after-sales support and product training from its facilities in Aberdeen and Houston.

Ashtead Technology, which is headquartered in Aberdeen with bases in Singapore and Houston, is a fully integrated international equipment solutions specialist, offering rental equipment, equipment sales, calibration, repair and maintenance, offshore personnel and custom engineered solutions.

As part of the agreement Ashtead has been appointed as the exclusive global rental agent for SeaBotix systems and has invested in SeaBotix vLBV300 and LBV150-4 ROV systems for both rental and demonstration purposes.

The vLBV300 is the latest in highly capable vectored ROVs. Weighing only 40lbs, the vLBV300 features powerful, variable, vector thruster configuration, optimized mechanical design, a flexible and stable platform, a strong ultra-low drag tether and an intuitive control system. The entire system is easily transportable and can be quickly configured and deployed. These features make the ROV ideal for offshore inspection work, near-shore survey and environmental monitoring.

The streamlined LBV150-4 inshore miniROV which is 150m depth rated, comes complete with a 150m tether on a hand reel and an integrated control console providing a well-rounded system that is simple to setup and operate.

The deal is the latest in a number of contracts with niche product suppliers to further secure Ashtead's position as a leading provider of state-of-the-art subsea equipment on both a sale and rental basis.

Speaking from OTC Houston, Ashtead Technology's commercial director, Tim Sheehan, said: "With the new technology and increased reliability, the demand for miniROVs for inspection and monitoring is on the increase. We aim to supply clients with the most reliable and up to date equipment and this agreement with SeaBotix reinforces our position at the forefront of the market, offering our customers the very latest technology on a sale or rental basis."

Alasdair Murrie, vice president of sales at SeaBotix, which is exhibiting at OTC, added: "The entire SeaBotix team is really excited about this partnership and its potential. Both SeaBotix and Ashtead have experienced fantastic growth recently due to quality of product and a focus on service excellence. In partnership we will pursue our common goal of a global presence supported locally, thus providing SeaBotix customers with the best possible equipment, service and training support."

Ashtead Technology's global rental fleet comprises over 10,000 items, encompassing the latest technology, including positioning, geophysical, hydrographic and metocean equipment, ROV sensors and tooling, visual inspection, diving, NDT and environmental, health and safety equipment

MacArtney Ice Core Drilling Winch for British Antarctic Survey

The MacArtney Group is pleased to announce the supply of an intelligent and rugged ice core drilling winch solution to British Antarctic Survey (BAS).

Ice core drilling
The winch will be used to deploy the new BAS Rapid Access Isotope Drill (RAID) which is able to complete a complete 600 m drilling cycle in just one week, before being redeployed at the next drilling location.

The drill will collect ice chippings, which can be used for isotope analysis and climate profiling, and leave an access hole to allow deployment of a temperature sensing cable. Both types of investigation and analysis will be used to identify good sites to find old ice. So far, shallow BAS drills have reached ice ageing between 150,000 and 350,000 years of age, while the oldest ice that has currently been investigated is 800,000 years old. BAS hopes that with the new drill, the organisation fill find sites with ice as old as 1,5 million years.

BAS-winch-with-pole-and-sheave2The entire ice core drilling winch system - complete with winch, sledge and 10 meter cable sheave pole

Ice core winching

Operation of the drill system will take place in East Antarctica at sites that are likely to be both cold (-25˚C to -35˚C) and high (>3000 m above sea level). Winching under these conditions is difficult and places very high demands on operators and the equipment they use.

First of all, due to the remote location of the drill sites, the MacArtney BAS ice core drilling winch needs to be transportable by a standard Twin Otter turboprop aircraft which also needs to carry the RAID drill system, a generator, fuel, tents, supplies and the four person scientist crew. With this in mind, the entire winch system, including a demountable cable sheave pole and the integrated sledge, is made from aluminium and designed to be extremely light and compact. Moreover, the winch is engineered to boast a high level of ruggedness and dependability - as it must be used time and time again, without requiring servicing and access to spares.

The extreme conditions at the drill sites also place extensive demands on the winch system in terms of efficiency, intelligent user friendliness and safety as the combination of high altitude and extreme cold make it difficult for operators to stay concentrated for extensive periods of time. In response to this, the MacArtney ice core drilling winch system is designed for speed, accuracy, safety and operational simplicity empowered by automated functions and drilling modes. For instance, a PLC on the winch makes sure that the winch is automatically stopped at 20 cm above the last depth of drilling. Subsequently, either the operator or an automatic drill programme will take control to secure that optimal ice chipping samples are collected. When the drill is recovered, the PLC makes sure to cease winch operations one metre before the back of the drill reaches the surface.

Ice core track record
British Antarctic Survey has been using a MacArtney winch for ice core operations for the last 20 years and with the new system, the organisation commands a state-of-the-art system with a wide range of improved features and benefits. According to Julius Rix of British Antarctic Survey, the MacArtney winch was chosen for its reliability and impressive track record in uniquely harsh polar environments.

MTS President-Elect Richard Spinrad Steps Down to Assume Position as NOAA Chief Scientist

MTS President-elect Dr. Richard (Rick) Spinrad will be stepping down from his MTS position as he is named chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). President Barack Obama announced the appointment May 8, 2014.

Spinrad's appointment was announced among that of several others also nominated to key positions. President Obama said, "I am honored that these talented individuals have decided to join this administration and serve our country. I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come."

Dr. Spinrad will bring over 35 years experience in marine science, policy and operations to his new position. Currently he serves as Vice President for Research at Oregon State University. While serving as Technical Director for the Oceanographer of the Navy, and leading NOAA's National Ocean Service and Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, he received recognition from the Secretary of the Navy, and Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama for his efforts.

"It is an exciting opportunity and, while I am humbled by the appointment, I am looking forward to the addressing the spectrum of ocean issues," said Spinrad. "I continue to applaud MTS' commitment to the development and application of the technologies that have advanced understanding of our world's oceans. I appreciate their commitment. We cannot underestimate the significant impact of the seas on our lives. On behalf of the marine community, I thank MTS for their many contributions."

Said MTS President Drew Michel, "The MTS community celebrates Rick's appointment as chief scientist for NOAA. He brings a unique set of talents and abilities to a challenging position. We will miss his MTS-specific contributions, but are pleased to exchange these for what will be national and global contributions. MTS congratulates Rick on his appointment."

"The Marine Technology Society appreciates the thoughtful vision and contributions of Dr. Spinrad," said Executive Director Richard Lawson. "MTS recognized his abilities when naming him an MTS Fellow in 2008. We are pleased that he will be able to serve in such a key role as chief scientist of NOAA. We wish him the very best."

MTS leadership is addressing the need to identify a President and President-Elect in its upcoming elections.

The Marine Technology Society is an international community of ocean engineers, technologists, policy-makers and educators that provides the ocean community with forums for the exchange of information and ideas through its peer-reviewed MTS Journal, conferences, newsletters and Web site (www.mtsociety.org).

WOC Facilitating Industry Involvement in Arctic Research and Observation

The WOC and Arctic industry representatives will join Arctic scientists in a webinar to inform and encourage Arctic researchers to include industry in their proposals to the Belmont Forum, a consortium of major government science funders.

The webinar is Friday 16 May, 10:00 - US Eastern time. 
Click here for call-in information.

The Belmont Forum is a group of high-level representatives from agencies and organizations that fund global environmental change research. The Belmont Forum is the leadership group of the broader Council of Principals for the International Group of Funding Agencies for Global Change Research (IGFA). 
http://igfagcr.org/

The Belmont Forum recently released a “Call for Proposals on Arctic Observing and Research for Sustainability”. 
http://igfagcr.org/cra-2014-arctic-observing-and-research-sustainability

The goal of the research program is to utilize Arctic observing systems, datasets and models to evaluate key sustainability challenges and opportunities in the region, to innovate new sustainability science theory and approaches to these challenges and opportunities, and support decision-making towards a sustainable Arctic environment.

The first “Funding Principle” for this major new Arctic research funding program is that “Private sector participation is strongly encouraged.” To help ensure this principle is addressed, the Belmont Forum has included WOC as a focal point for helping connect industry with research institutions who are preparing proposals.

The WOC is working to reach out to the research community to foster and facilitate the private sector involvement in the proposals (and the projects that are eventually funded). This is a key opportunity for the Arctic business community to: help ensure that Arctic research funds are directed towards addressing the issues important to industry; partner with the research community; work with and thought the WOC to develop a coordinated, collaborative approach and leadership on Arctic research in support of responsible industry practices.

Optech CZMIL Wins Geospatial World Technology Innovation Award

Optech, a world leader in the development, manufacture and support of high-accuracy lidar 3D survey systems and productivity-enhancing workflow software, is pleased to announce that its Coastal Zone Mapping and Imaging Lidar (CZMIL) has won a Geospatial World Technology Innovation Award.

CZMIL was awarded the prize at the Geospatial World Forum on May 8, 2014, in Geneva, Switzerland for combining its tightly integrated lidar, RGB and hyperspectral sensors with a cutting-edge data fusion workflow to achieve unprecedented results in turbid waters and muddy seafloors while penetrating 80 meters deep in clear conditions. The fully automated CZMIL HydroFusion software workflow uses advanced algorithms to compensate for difficult water and seafloor conditions and generate seamless 3D topographic/bathymetric environmental products, including bottom classification maps, object detection, and DEMs. In particular, recent tests in US and Korean waters have confirmed that HydroFusionís new Turbid Water software module allows CZMIL to extract measurements from muddy seafloors that no other lidar bathymeter can reach, including river mouths, harbors, and marshlands.

"We are very pleased that the Optech CZMIL system was recognized by Geospatial World for its technology advances supporting critical management decisions for coastal areas, "said Max Elbaz, President of Optech, Inc., who accepted the award on behalf of Optech. "This award complements the MAPPS award received this past February for the CZMIL HydroFusion software, which provides an efficient workflow from mission planning to 3D visualization of bathymetric products. The CZMIL system has proven its capabilities to our customers well, with five systems already tested, validated, and put into service by domestic and foreign government agencies, who have been using CZMIL to map turbid, shallow, and muddy bottomed waters that confound other lidar bathymeters."

NOAA Gives Mariners New Way to See Surface and Tidal Currents

Use of high frequency radar on water's edge makes navigation safer

 The newest form of HF Radar technology, seen here along a coastal beach, is being used for the new NOAA surface current product.

A new NOAA National Ocean Service website will provide mariners near real-time coastal ocean surface current observations and tidal current predictions in coastal waters using high frequency (HF) radar, making marine navigation safer for mariners and commercial shippers.

The web-based observations are now available for the Chesapeake and San Francisco Bays in areas vital for marine navigation, with additional locations to follow. The product was made possible by NOAA's Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) using data from the NOAA-led U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®).

"By partnering to create new tools like HF radar surface currents, we are providing a more complete picture of a very dynamic environment." said Richard Edwing, director of CO-OPS. "This is a great example of how coastal environmental intelligence better enables informed decisions to be made for safe navigation and other uses. We will continue to work with our partners in the navigation community to enhance and expand this product and eventually integrate it into NOAA's Physical Oceanographic Real-Time System (PORTS®) products."

Currents in the ocean are equivalent to winds in the atmosphere because they move things from one location to another. These currents carry nutrients as well as pollutants and marine debris, so it is important for scientists and mariners to know the currents for ecological, economic and safety reasons. HF radars can measure currents over a large region of the coastal ocean, from a few miles offshore up to 125 miles out, and can operate under any weather conditions.

Located near the water's edge, HF radar does not need to be atop a high point of land. Traditionally, crews placed current measuring devices directly into the water to retrieve current speeds. While these direct measurement systems are still widely used as a standard reference, HF radars are the only sensors, including satellites, which can measure large areas at once with the detail required for important applications.

HF radar ocean surface current data complements NOAA's PORTS®, a system that provides real-time water level, current and meteorological observations for safe navigation and also benefits search and rescue, oil spill response, harmful algal bloom monitoring, water quality assessments, ecosystem assessments, and fisheries management.

"This is an excellent example of taking the environmental data that U.S.IOOS® collects, and putting that information into the hands of people who need it," said Zdenka Willis, director of the NOAA-led U.S. IOOS® Program. "By working to translate that data into an existing suite of real time navigation products and services, we are showing that NOAA's investment in key observational platforms provides the vital services our maritime communities rely upon to operate both safely and efficiently."

CO-OPS is an organization of experts in understanding tides, currents and water levels, turning operational oceanographic data into meaningful information, products and services for the nation.

The NOAA-led U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®) is a federal, regional, and private sector partnership for tracking, predicting, managing and adapting to changes in the marine environment. IOOS® delivers data and information needed to increase understanding of the nation's waters to improve safety, enhance the economy, and protect our environment.

Coastal environmental intelligence provides timely, actionable information, developed from reliable and authoritative science, to provide insight to decision makers into present and future conditions in the coastal zone.

The Mediterranean Ecotourism Experience Goes Online

The eight partners of the Mediterranean Experience of Ecotourism (MEET) project gathered on 10-11 April 2014 at the premises of the Directorate-General for Natural Environment and Biodiversity of the regional Government of Catalonia in Barcelona to put in common project activities to date, launch the new project website and decide the next steps forward.

During the meeting, the partnership Members approved the selection of 17 protected areas to directly benefit from the selection of nature reserves and a brief description of the pilot sites were completed by Jordan, Lebanon, Greece, Italy, Spain, France and Tunisia, whereas Egypt, Malta and Tunisia are currently selecting their protected areas.

The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) in Jordan, leader coordinator of the pilot actions, presented a preliminary project proposal and action plan for one of its reserves as an example to be followed by the other sites selected. A field trip to the three Spanish protected areas participating was arranged by the Catalan partner.

The partners also approved the official launching of the project's website, which offers a smooth overview of the project's objectives and expected results as well as a description of the main partners. The website will be updated with information on main activities to be implemented until the end of the project in October 2015. In the coming weeks the first MEET newsletter will also be circulated to share information on main actions undertaken during the first year of activity.

Coming actions

The IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation, a project partner, informed participants about the next training workshop on products development for protected areas to be organized in the Lazio region (Italy) by mid May in coordination with the IUCN Regional Office for West Asia. The workshop targeted to consultants and agencies or institutions dealing the management of ecotourism packages in protected areas.

Furthermore, the agenda for the first meeting of the Advisory Panel on Ecotourism (APE) within the MEET project was approved by the partners. The Advisory Panel will meet in Montpellier (France) on 12 June 2014 hosted by the National Parks of France.

The MEET strategic project involves 10 Mediterranean countries: Italy, France, Spain, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Malta, Cyprus, Greece and Tunisia. The "MEET" project is funded by the European Neighborhood Policy Instrument (ENPI CBC MED), and aims at developing a new approach for ecotourism planning in Protected Areas of the Mediterranean. The MEET Network was established in September 2013 to improve the cooperation and support for protected areas in employing and promoting ecotourism as a tool for conservation and sustainable development.

Sonardyne Joins ETI Consortium for North Sea CCS Monitoring System

Sonardyne International Ltd. has announced its participation in a new Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) project within the Carbon Capture Storage (CCS) program to develop a Carbon Dioxide (CO2) marine and shallow subsurface monitoring system for underground CCS sites in the North Sea. The system will monitor for any CO2 leakage from saline aquifers and offshore storage sites such as oil and gas fields, both active and depleted.

The development of a UK-based North Sea CCS industry is an important element in the Government's initiative to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, mitigating against high future energy costs and for developing high value, low carbon industries. Other members of the Consortium are lead participant Fugro GEOS Ltd., the National Environment Research Council (NERC – as represented by the National Oceanography Centre and British Geological Society), Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the University of Southampton.

Using technologies already proven in the offshore and oceanographic industries, combined with new remote sensing technology, the Consortium will develop an integrated leak detection system that is capable of both wide area coverage by AUVs/ASVs (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles/Autonomous Surface vehicles) and continuous automated monitoring of high risk areas. For these sites, the use of Sonardyne's Automatic Leak Detection Sonar (ALDS) has been proposed. ALDS is both an active and passive sonar capable of monitoring more than one billion cubic feet of water for the smallest of leaks. The system is fully automated, offering reliable detection, rapid notification and localization of leaks. It provides continuous 360° coverage, detecting leaks after only tens of seconds.

As the data is gathered from both ALDS, the AUVs/ASVs and other monitoring technologies, it will be relayed to shore using a combination of wireless acoustic and satellite communications and existing reservoir infrastructure acting as surface-to-shore relay stations. Sonardyne's Autonomous Monitoring Transponders (AMTs) will form the core power, data logging and communications backbone for this data sensing and relay. AMTs autonomously acquire acoustic ranges and sensor data which is then time-stamped and logged internally for recovery via the integrated high-speed acoustic telemetry modem. This autonomy allows measurements to be made over long periods of time and a wide range of sensors for the detection of CO2 can be interfaced and integrated, providing an ultra-low power platform for up to five years unattended deployment.

Graham Brown, Divisional Director - Oil and Gas at Sonardyne said, "We're delighted to be participating as the technical lead contractor in this project for a marine and subsurface monitoring system alongside other such prestigious organizations. Our ALDS system has just completed its final testing phase in the Gulf of Mexico and the results indicate that it is the perfect technology for monitoring high risk CCS sites. Combined with our AMTs and the complementary technologies of the other Consortium members, we are confident that over the three year project plan, we can develop an accurate, efficient and robust monitoring system for North Sea CCS storage sites."

Sonardyne Joins ETI Consortium for North Sea CCS Monitoring System

Sonardyne International Ltd. has announced its participation in a new Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) project within the Carbon Capture Storage (CCS) program to develop a Carbon Dioxide (CO2) marine and shallow subsurface monitoring system for underground CCS sites in the North Sea. The system will monitor for any CO2 leakage from saline aquifers and offshore storage sites such as oil and gas fields, both active and depleted.

The development of a UK-based North Sea CCS industry is an important element in the Government's initiative to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, mitigating against high future energy costs and for developing high value, low carbon industries. Other members of the Consortium are lead participant Fugro GEOS Ltd., the National Environment Research Council (NERC – as represented by the National Oceanography Centre and British Geological Society), Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the University of Southampton.

Using technologies already proven in the offshore and oceanographic industries, combined with new remote sensing technology, the Consortium will develop an integrated leak detection system that is capable of both wide area coverage by AUVs/ASVs (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles/Autonomous Surface vehicles) and continuous automated monitoring of high risk areas. For these sites, the use of Sonardyne's Automatic Leak Detection Sonar (ALDS) has been proposed. ALDS is both an active and passive sonar capable of monitoring more than one billion cubic feet of water for the smallest of leaks. The system is fully automated, offering reliable detection, rapid notification and localization of leaks. It provides continuous 360° coverage, detecting leaks after only tens of seconds.

As the data is gathered from both ALDS, the AUVs/ASVs and other monitoring technologies, it will be relayed to shore using a combination of wireless acoustic and satellite communications and existing reservoir infrastructure acting as surface-to-shore relay stations. Sonardyne's Autonomous Monitoring Transponders (AMTs) will form the core power, data logging and communications backbone for this data sensing and relay. AMTs autonomously acquire acoustic ranges and sensor data which is then time-stamped and logged internally for recovery via the integrated high-speed acoustic telemetry modem. This autonomy allows measurements to be made over long periods of time and a wide range of sensors for the detection of CO2 can be interfaced and integrated, providing an ultra-low power platform for up to five years unattended deployment.

Graham Brown, Divisional Director - Oil and Gas at Sonardyne said, "We're delighted to be participating as the technical lead contractor in this project for a marine and subsurface monitoring system alongside other such prestigious organizations. Our ALDS system has just completed its final testing phase in the Gulf of Mexico and the results indicate that it is the perfect technology for monitoring high risk CCS sites. Combined with our AMTs and the complementary technologies of the other Consortium members, we are confident that over the three year project plan, we can develop an accurate, efficient and robust monitoring system for North Sea CCS storage sites."

Triton Imaging and Applied Acoustics Announce OEM Agreement

Triton Imaging, Inc., Capitola USA, and Applied Acoustic Engineering Ltd., Great Yarmouth, UK have announced that they have signed an OEM agreement under which Applied Acoustics will offer Triton ISIS Offshore-SB data acquisition and Perspective-SB processing and interpretation software bundled with Applied Acoustic sub-bottom profiling hardware. With this arrangement, Applied Acoustics' customers will have the advantage of using the proven Triton topside software to acquire high-resolution seismic data from the Applied Acoustic sparker/boomer systems.

The Perspective-SB software will give these users the tools they need for the accurate processing, display and interpretation of these data in a broad range of applications where an accurate understanding of sub surface geology is critical.

Applied Acoustics is a leading company in the design and manufacture of a wide range of subsea navigation and positioning products, and marine seismic survey equipment from 50-12,000 Joules, and Triton Imaging develops software for the acquisition, processing, visualization, and interpretation of data from sub-bottom profilers as well as from sidescan, SAS, multibeam, and interferometric sonars.

Private Sector Participation in Stakeholder Surveys Important for Future of Seabed Mining and Governance of International Ocean Areas

The WOC is working to help ensure ocean industry input to key international developments on policies, regulations, planning and priorities for responsible development of deep sea mineral resources and the environmental management of ocean areas beyond national jurisdiction.

The ocean business community is encouraged to make sure that government and inter-governmental agencies have full and balanced information regarding the use of ocean resources important for societal needs and development of the “Blue Economy”.

UN International Seabed Authority (ISA) 
The ISA is undertaking stakeholder consultations as it commences development of a regulatory framework for the future recovery of mineral resources from the seabed in international areas.

The deadline for contributing to the UN ISA survey is 16 May 2014. 
The stakeholder consultation is found at: 
http://www.indeep-project.org/news/isa-stakeholder-consultation

The ISA survey covers: 
• Financial terms and obligations 
• Environmental management terms and obligations 
• Health and safety and maritime security 
• Stakeholder communication and transparency

European Union (EU) 
The EU consultation aims to gather opinions concerning seabed mining in order to help the EU develop its position and priorities on the future of these important resources.

The deadline for input to the EU study is 16 June 2014. 
Information on the EU consultation is found at: 
http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/maritimeaffairs_fisheries/consultations/seabed-mining/index_en.htm

 About the World Ocean Council (WOC)

The WOC is the only international, cross-sectoral alliance for private sector leadership and collaboration in “Corporate Ocean Responsibility”. Companies and associations worldwide are distinguishing themselves as leaders in ocean sustainability, stewardship and science by joining the WOC. Members to date include over 70 leadership organizations from a wide range of ocean industries: oil and gas, shipping, seafood, fisheries, aquaculture, mining, renewable energy, ocean technology, maritime law, marine environmental services and other areas. For the current list of WOC Members, click here. The WOC News Release is received by over 30,000 ocean industry stakeholders around the world

NOAA Commissions New Fisheries Survey Ship in San Diego

NOAA has commissioned a state-of-the-art fisheries survey vessel, NOAA Ship Reuben Lasker, during a ceremony at the Navy Pier in downtown San Diego. The ship will conduct fish, marine mammal and turtle surveys off the U.S. West Coast and in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.

Funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Reuben Lasker is the fifth in a series of ultra-quiet, high-tech fisheries survey vessels designed to meet the NOAA Fisheries Service's specific data collection requirements. The ship was built in Wisconsin by Marinette Marine Corporation, a Fincantieri company.

NOAA ship Reuben Lasker was commissioned in San Diego.

"NOAA Ship Reuben Lasker is a vital component of our ocean research and survey infrastructure," said NOAA Corps Vice Adm. Michael S. Devany, NOAA deputy under secretary for operations, who participated in today's commissioning ceremony. "Reuben Lasker and the other ships of the NOAA fleet play a critical role in gathering environmental intelligence essential to the nation's economic security, the safety of its citizens, and the understanding, protection, and management of our natural resources."

"NOAA Ship Reuben Lasker will enable scientists to study marine life and habitats with unprecedented accuracy," said NOAA Corps Rear Adm. David A. Score, director of the NOAA Office of Marine and Aviation Operations and the NOAA Corps. "We are proud to add Reuben Lasker to the NOAA fleet."

The 208-ft. ship is equipped with a full suite of modern instrumentation for fisheries and oceanographic research, including advanced navigation systems, acoustic sensors, scientific sampling gear and extensive laboratories. These features will dramatically enhance NOAA's ability to conduct surveys for fish, marine mammals and turtles off the west coast of North America and in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.

Like its sister ships, Reuben Lasker is engineered to produce much less noise than other survey vessels, allowing scientists to study fish populations and collect oceanographic data with fewer effects on fish and marine mammal behavior.

"NOAA Ship Reuben Lasker moves NOAA Fisheries into the next generation of fisheries science and monitoring," said Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for NOAA's Fisheries Service. "The new sensors and enhanced capabilities add to NOAA Fisheries' ability to promote sustainable fisheries, recover endangered species and restore habitat upon which they depend. The new technologies also enable NOAA to measure, monitor and map living marine resources with increased efficiency, increased precision and decreased costs."

The new vessel is named after the late Dr. Reuben Lasker, a pioneering fisheries biologist who served as the director of the NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center's coastal fisheries division and as adjunct professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego. Lasker directed a renowned research group that focused on the survival and transition of young fish to adulthood, a topic with implications for fisheries management throughout the world.

Reuben Lasker is part of NOAA's fleet of specialized ships and aircraft and is operated, managed and maintained by the NOAA Office of Marine and Aviation Operations, which includes commissioned officers of the NOAA Corps, one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and civilian wage mariners.

"NOAA Ship Reuben Lasker, together with its sister NOAA ship, Bell M. Shimada, will support the NOAA Fisheries Service's Southwest Fisheries Science Center and Northwest Fisheries Science Center. The science centers conduct sea-going research in support of management and conservation of living marine resources, including fish, marine mammals and marine turtles," said Cisco Werner, director of the Southwest Fisheries Science Center. "The combination of these two vessels, our new laboratory in San Diego, and the continued strong partnerships with our Northwest Fisheries Science Center and West Coast academic institutions will ensure NOAA continues to provide national and international leadership in ecosystem-based approaches to research and monitoring."

NOAA Ship Reuben Lasker is homeported at the NOAA Port Facility at the Port of San Diego's 10th Avenue Terminal. The ship has a maximum speed of 14 knots, a range of 12,000 nautical miles, and can remain at sea for 40 days. The ship's complement includes five NOAA Corps officers, four civilian licensed engineers, and 15 civilian wage mariners. Reuben Lasker can accommodate up to 15 scientists. The ship is commanded by NOAA Corps Cmdr. Keith W. Roberts.

CMS-Geotech Launches in Lowestoft, Suffolk, UK

CMS-Geotech Ltd is delighted to announce the launch of its new operations base in Lowestoft, Suffolk providing specialist marine geotechnical support to a wide variety of marine sectors in both offshore & coastal waters

CMS-Geotech will specialize in geotechnical equipment hire, geotechnical surveys & seabed sampling, specialist vessel charter and wider marine survey consultancy support services.

It is envisaged that CMS-Geotech will build on their traditional links with the marine aggregate and port & harbour dredging sectors and subsea cable work whilst developing service provision for the oil & gas industries and offshore energy development.

A primary focus of the new business is geotechnical equipment hire which will include the companies own Datem 5000 CPT, several high powered vibrocorers and a large variety of grabs and corers including a new hydraulic clamshell grab. All of the equipment can easily be shipped around the world to support third party operations in even the most remote of locations. With over 25 years hands-on operating experience the team at CMS- Geotech are well placed to offer the correct advice to ensure the client gets the right equipment for the job as well as the peace of mind of fully trained and experienced geotechnical engineers operating the equipment. As well as a full range of geotechnical rental equipment the company will also be offering its 24m survey vessel MV Flatholm for both short and long term charter.

CMS-Geotech will also carry out geotechnical surveys, deploying its comprehensive range of equipment from its 24m survey vessel the MV Flatholm. The team will be working in UK and European waters, providing high quality geotechnical site investigations and environmental surveys and are delighted to have already secured a number of site investigation contracts in UK waters, within days of announcing the launch of operations.

The team at CMS-Geotech have a proven track record in marine geoscience and geotechnical services and bring a wealth of knowledge, expertise and reliability to the market ensuring clients do have alternative solutions that are cost effective without compromising safety or quality.

The company will also be offering consultancy support through its Managing Director, Dr David Hitchcock who has over 25 years experience in the marine survey world and has worked extensively with the marine aggregates and international marine mineral mining industry. He will be working with a wide range of companies providing support in marine survey site investigation planning, geotechnical & geophysical interpretation, geohazard analysis, seabed processes & sedimentology, dredging performance parameters & determination of geotechnical hazards.

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