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Arctic Ocean

Two Seattle-based Coast Guard Divers die in Arctic Ocean

Accoring to reports, two Seattle-based Coast Guard divers died Thursday while diving in the Arctic Ocean, about 500 miles north of Barrow, Alaska. Lt. Jessica Hill, 30, of St. Augustine, Fla., and Petty Officer 2nd Class Steven Duque, 26, of Miami, were assigned to the Cutter Healy. The ship was on a scientific mission when the deaths occurred, according to the Coast Guard. Hill and Duque were on a practice dive familiarizing themselves with the cold waters of the Arctic Ocean, the Coast Guard said. The cause of this dive accident is under investigation. The 420-foot Healy is one of three polar ice breakers operated by the Coast Guard. Healy is primarily used for Arctic science operations under sponsorship of the U.S. National Science Foundation. Source: Seattle Times


Chinese Icebreaker Transits Northern Sea Route

Photo credit:antarctica.gov.au

The icebreaker 'Xuelong' made the Arctic Ocean passage from China through to Norwegian waters. The Chinese icebreaker completed the Arctic North-East Passage marking the first such voyage by a Chinese vessel and opening an Arctic route connecting the Pacific and the Atlantic for future Chinese science expeditions. In completing the voyage, the icebreaker Xuelong or Snow Dragon channeled through five marginal seas of the Arctic Ocean: the Chukchi Sea, the East Siberian Sea, the Laptev Sea


Samsung Wins Tanker Contract

According to a Korea Herald report, Samsung Heavy Industries Co. won a $422.5 million deal to build three arctic tankers for Russian state-owned shipper Sovcomflot. Samsung is the first Korean shipbuilder to receive an order for ice-breaking oil-carriers. Sovcomflot plans to operate the artic tankers over the Barents Sea between the Varandiy oil well in the Arctic Ocean and Murmansk harbor in Russia, according to the report


U.S., Canadian Coast Guard Oil Spill Exercise

Representatives from the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards, Arctic region stakeholders and established responders are scheduled to hold a joint “Canada - United States North” (CANUSNORTH) tabletop exercise March 16 and 17 at the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage. This biennial exercise provides an opportunity for all responders to work together to consult on local issues and improve communications and coordination for potential responses to pollution incidents in the contiguous


Adm. Papp Continues USCG Arctic Outreach

Anchorage, Alaska Introductions: Photo credit USCG

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp has spent a week in Alaska, underscoring the importance of establishing and maintaining a range of Arctic partnerships. Despite snowfall in the North Slope of Alaska last week and cooler than average temperatures all summer, Arctic sea ice extent tracked well below average again this year. This ongoing transformation of the Arctic Ocean from a solid expanse of inaccessible ice fields into an emerging maritime frontier is attracting increased human activity


Navy Submarines Begin Arctic Ocean Exercises

Arctic-bound USS New Mexico: USN official photo

Virginia-class attack submarine USS New Mexico (SSN 779) and Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Hampton (SSN 767) have commenced Ice Exercise 2014 (ICEX 2014) in the Arctic Ocean, says Commander,  US Submarine Forces. "In keeping with the Department of Defense's Arctic Objectives, the Submarine Force uses Ice Exercises to prepare for a wide range of challenges and contingencies," said Capt. Paul Whitescarver


Aker Arctic WinsShuttle Tanker Contract

Aker Arctic Technology of Finland and the St. Petersburg based FSUE Admiralty shipyards signed a contract for a license and design including classification package of two 70,000 dwt double-acting Arctic shuttle tankers, which the yard is building for ZAO Sevmorneftegaz for the Prirazlomnoye oil field in the Arctic Ocean. The ships are the largest tankers so far built by the yard and will be delivered towards the end of 2007 and respectively 2008.


USCGC HEALY Geophysical Survey

The National Science Foundation is making available a draft environmental assessment for the proposed marine geophysical survey to be conducted by the USCG icebreaker HEALY. Plans call for the HEALY to transit the Arctic Ocean from northern Alaska to Svalbard during the period 5 August to 30 September 2005. Scientific research, particularly sediment coring, will be conducted en route. While marine mammals will be encountered


NOAA Meetings Arctic Oil & Gas Activities

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will conduct five scoping meetings to receive public comments on its planned environmental impact statement on the effects of oil and gas activities in the Arctic Ocean. Meeting will be held in Wainwright (March 9); Barrow (March 10); Nuiqsut (March 11); Kaktovik (March 12); and Anchorage (March 23). Written comments should be submitted by April 9. 75 Fed. Reg. 8304 (February 24, 2010).


Arctic Research Ship Scientists on Thin Ice

Polarstern Backdrops Scientific Expedition: Photo credit Alfred Wegener Institute

Return to Bremerhaven: The research vessel 'Polarstern' returns with new findings from the Central Arctic during the 2012 ice minimum. After a good two months. 54 scientists and technicians from twelve different countries conducted research on the retreat of the sea ice and the consequences for the Arctic Ocean and its ecosystems Since its departure from Tromsø (Norway) on 2 August 2012 Polarstern has travelled some 12,000 kilometres and conducted research at 306 stations


Arctic Sea Ice Reaches Maximum Extent for 2014

A NASA Blue Marble view of Arctic sea ice on March 21, 2014.

NSIDC issued an update to Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis describing winter sea ice conditions in the Arctic Ocean stating Arctic sea ice reached its maximum extent for the year on March 21 at 14.91 million square kilometers (5.76 million square miles)


ONR Researchers Explore a Changing Arctic

Photo by Bill Shaw, Naval Postgraduate School

As sea ice continues to recede at a record pace in the Arctic, officials at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) on April 14 announced new efforts to determine the pace of change in what some are calling Earth's final frontier. Scientists sponsored by ONR have traveled to the Beaufort Sea in the


Russia Ships First Oil From Offshore Arctic Platform

(Image: http://media.gazprom-neft.com)

President Vladimir Putin hailed Russia's first shipment of Arctic offshore oil on Friday, saying the platform decried by environmentalists will help Moscow expand its global energy markets share.   Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of Russia's top gas producer Gazprom, shipped the first 70


Arctic Energy Exploration Efforts Heat Up

The first ever cargo vessel to sail from Murmansk to Shanghai via the Northern Sea Route, without the assistance of icebreakers, recently completed its maiden crossing, cutting a 65-day journey on the return leg down to 19 days. ABB’s Azipod electric propulsion technology helps to make the year-round journey possible. (Photo: ABB)

Oil and gas—and also mining—are the drivers today propelling Arctic maritime operations and the construction of new vessels able to operate in extreme latitudes.  While the gas and oil resources can be recovered in the Arctic or far north and shipped to markets by sea or


U.S. Navy Responds to Increased Arctic Activity

Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Alexandria (SSN 757) is submerged after surfacing through two feet of drifting ice about 180 nautical miles off the north coast of Alaska. U.S. Navy photo by Shawn P. Eklund

The loss of seasonal sea ice in the Arctic will have ramifications for the U.S. Navy in terms of future missions, force structure, training and investments. To get a better handle on planning for future Arctic missions, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm


Court Delivers Blow to Alaskan Arctic Oil Prospectors

Arctic Drillship: Photo credit Gazprom

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a ruling against the Department of Interior and oil companies including Shell in favor of environmental and Alaska Native groups and concluded the federal government failed to properly evaluate the scale of oil production


Arctic Standards Development Moves Ahead

In Ice 1 - Day.jpg

Improving and updating Arctic design standards for material, equipment, and offshore structures for the petroleum, petrochemical and natural gas industries. Seventy representatives from seven countries met for two days in St. John’s


Russia Sells Off Archangel Trawler Fleet

North Sea Fishing Trawler: Photo Wiki CCL

Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation has approved the sale of 100% of the shares of OAO Archangel Trawler Fleet, reports Russia's 'Arctic-Info'. Citing the Federal Agency for State Property Management, Arctic-Info reports that Archangel Trawler Fleet was owned by the state


Obama Arctic Plan Misses the Mark, Says Alaska Lt. Governor

Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell: Photo courtesy of his office

At a 3-day Arctic technology conference in Houston, Texas, Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell told a gathering of oil and gas experts that President Obama's recently released implementation plan for the nation’s Arctic strategy misses the mark.


Navy Updates Plans for a Changing Arctic

USS Seawolf surfaced in ice: Photo credit USN

"This updated Navy Arctic Roadmap prepares the U.S. Navy to respond effectively to future contingencies, delineates the Navy's Arctic leadership role within the Defense Department, and articulates the Navy's support to achieve national priorities


U.S. Navy eyes greater presence in Arctic from 2025

The U.S. Navy is mapping out how to expand its presence in the Arctic beginning around 2020, given signs that the region's once permanent ice cover is melting faster than expected, which is likely to trigger more traffic, fishing and resource mining.


Shell's US Arctic Policy an 'Ongoing Gamble': Greenpeace Analysis

Image courtesy of Greenpeace

The analysis considers that the US Arctic Ocean presents almost a perfect storm of risks: a requirement for a long-term capital-intensive investment for uncertain return; a remote and uniquely challenging operating environment; ongoing court challenges; a lack of extraction and spill response


Arctic Taskings for the Coast Guard

DNV GL

On January 30, 2014, the White House released the Implementation Plan for the National Strategy for the Arctic Region.  The purpose of the Implementation Plan is to put flesh on the bones of the May 10, 2013 National Strategy for the Arctic Region


Cracks Scuttle U.S. Navy Ice Camp

U.S. Navy Ice Camp Nautilus during Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2014. The camp is located on a sheet of ice adrift on the Arctic Ocean. ICEX 2014 is a U.S. Navy exercise highlighting submarine capabilities in an arctic environment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Davies/Released)

Commander, Submarine Forces (COMSUBFOR) announced an early end to Ice Camp Nautilus on March 23. The ice camp was a temporary structure built and operated especially for Ice Exercise 2014 (ICEX-2014). Personnel at Ice Camp Nautilus, which is built into the ice floe north of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska


Northern Sea Route Usable 125 Days by 2050: New Report

Frontispiece image credit IPCC

The recently released Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report – ' Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability' – finds that the effects of climate change are already occurring on all continents and across the oceans


 
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