NOAA Seeks Applicants for Hydrographic Panel

NOAA is soliciting applications for membership on the Hydrographic Services Review Panel, a federal advisory committee that advises the NOAA administrator on the agency’s hydrographic programs, products, and technology. Applications must be received by August 10.

“Quality data is essential to NOAA maritime programs, whether it is developing innovative products for precision navigation, creating richer data streams for ocean observations, or tapping into new possibilities of crowdsourcing and other modes of data collection,” said Russell Callender, Ph.D, acting assistant NOAA administrator for the National Ocean Service. “As we determine future priorities, we depend on advice from actual users of our products, and this panel is a vital part of that information gathering process.”

The panel advises NOAA on operations and research issues related to hydrographic surveying, nautical charts, tides and currents, geodetic and geospatial measurements, and coastal resilience. Applicants should have expertise in marine navigation; port administration; marine shipping or other intermodal transportation industries; cartography and geographic information systems; geodesy; physical oceanography; coastal resource management, including coastal resilience and emergency response; or other science-related fields.

Current panel membership includes individuals with diverse backgrounds in the maritime technology sector including commercial shipping, the cruise industry, industry/trade associations and businesses ranging from small businesses to large consulting firms. HSRP has informally mentioned a particular interest in adding a New England perspective to the panel.

For more information on how to apply, see the Federal Register notice or visit the HSRP website.


Unprecedented Voyage to Russian High Arctic Has Implications for the Marine Tech Industry and New England

The passenger vessel Poseidon Expedition recently made history when it carried out a direct crossing between Svalbard and Franz Josef Land – and back again – without sailing via mainland Russia. This route considerably shortens the sailing distance between Svalbard and Russia and is a route many Arctic tour operators plan to organize as soon as Russian authorities give general authorization.

Click to view larger image.This development signals continued growth in the vessel-based Arctic tourism. Recognizing the unique and wide-ranging management challenges associated with the growth of tourism across the Arctic, the Arctic Council recently commissioned the Arctic Marine Tourism Project (AMTP) as part of a renewed effort to analyze and promote sustainable tourism across the circumpolar Arctic.

Likewise, the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AAECO), an industry organization representing the concerns and views of expedition cruise tourism companies operating in the Arctic, continues to encourage the incorporation of specific standards and guidelines for operating expedition cruises in the Arctic.

While the immediate impact of the increase in vessel-based Arctic tourism to New England is difficult to forecast, it is clear that the region stands to benefit in two respects: first, New England is a center of the marine technology industry, especially new, advanced navigational and related technologies specifically developed for use in high latitudes. Second, New England cities will be eastern ports of call for planned cruises through the Northwest Passage. One example is the recent announcement of the planned voyage of Crystal Serenity from Anchorage, Alaska through the Northwest Passage to Bar Harbor, Boston, and New York City in 2016.


Foundations for First U.S. Offshore Wind Farm Head for R.I.

Recent reports from the Associated Press indicate that massive steel foundations for the Nation’s first offshore wind project will soon leave fabrication facilities in Houma, Louisiana, destined for Block Island, Rhode Island.  According to Deepwater Wind, the 5-turbine Block Island Wind Farm is scheduled to be online during the third quarter of 2016 and could supply most of Block Island’s power.

The full article can be read here.


Wind Industry Service Operation Vessels Christened in Germany

Siemens and ESVAGT A/S recently announced the christenings of two purpose-built Service Operation Vessels (SOV’s) specifically engineered to service and maintain offshore wind power plants. According to company literature, the christenings demonstrate ESVAGT’s ongoing commitment to transfer their maritime vessel competencies from offshore oil and gas to the somewhat younger offshore wind industry.

While ESVAGT owns the service vessels, Siemens provides their proprietary BlueDriveTM propulsion system to reduce CO2 emissions and fuel consumption, as well as hydraulic systems to support the Amplemann active access gangway. The new vessels will purportedly revolutionize offshore wind service by increasing productivity, accelerating response times, and implementing advanced safety mechanisms that will allow turbine access in significant wave heights of up to 2.5 meters (8.2 ft), which is higher than the safety limits of traditional crew transfer vessels (CTV).

The recent investment in the purpose-built vessels reflects a global trend in the offshore wind industry to build wind facilities further offshore. The two recently-christened vessels will service the North Sea and Baltic Sea, while a third vessel will join the fleet in autumn 2016 and service wind facilities off the east coast of England.


Maine Port Authority Seeks Entity to Build and Operate a Cold-Storage Facility in Portland

On Jun 18, 2015, the Maine Port Authority (MPA) issued a request for qualifications from developers to design, build, and operate a cold-storage facility at the International Marine Terminal (IMT) on the Portland waterfront. 

Completion of the IMT West Cold Storage Project is essential to improve the global competitiveness of Maine businesses. As stated in the Port Authority’s request to developers, having “state-of-the-art cold storage capacity that is directly adjacent to fully functional intermodal logistics assets is key to growing the [food and beverage] industry sectors here in Maine and supporting existing demand for cold storage that is presently being provided out of state.” The Port Authority indicates that most of the food products that originate in Maine are currently being shipped to cold storage facilities in Massachusetts and Canada. 

After recent investments by the MaineDOT and the Port Authority, cold-storage capacity at the international terminal is limited to 150 plugs (power sources) for refrigerated containers. The only public temperature-controlled warehousing in Portland is a 150,000 square foot off-site facility operated by Americold Logistics, LLC. A multi-year work plan released by the MaineDOT on Jan 1, 2015 indicates that $11 million will be allocated for multimodal port and marine infrastructure investments, including $4 million for Phase II improvements at the international terminal in Portland.

Successful respondents to the qualification process will be invited to bid on the project, with final results anticipated by August 31, 2015.