Thursday, July 2, 2015

Kongsberg Maritime underwater cameras take the lead in uncovering the secrets of HMAS Sydney

July 2, 2015 - Kongsberg Maritime's state-of-the-art OE14-530 3DHD video camera has produced a wealth of stunning imagery during an expedition to survey the historic World War II shipwrecks of HMAS Sydney (II) and the German raider HSK Kormoran, off the coast of Western Australia. The Western Australian Museum and Curtin University survey, which took place in April 2015, also used six OE14-408E digital stills cameras on two ROVs operated by DOF Subsea.

'B' turret. Copyright WA Museum.
Sydney Kormoran Expedition 2015 - HMAS Sydney (II) damaged 'b' turret. Image courtesy of WA Museum and Curtin University. Copyright WA Museum.
The Sydney and Kormoran wrecks lay undiscovered in 2,500 metres of water, 20km apart, about 200km west of Shark Bay until 2008, when Kongsberg Maritime underwater cameras were responsible for taking the first photos of them lying on the ocean floor. A follow-up expedition was undertaken in April this year with a more sophisticated spread of equipment, to help better understand what happened during the battle to cause the destruction of both ships and the complete loss of Sydney's 645 crew – a loss that is still, to this day, Australia's greatest naval tragedy. Kongsberg Maritime was selected as the lead underwater camera partner for this work.
Carley float - Copyright WA Museum
Sydney Kormoran Expedition 2015 - HMAS Sydney (II) Carley float on ocean floor. Image courtesy of WA Museum and Curtin University. Copyright WA Museum.
The data captured during the survey will form the basis of several exhibitions at the Western Australian Museum, which will feature digital 3D reconstructions of the wreckage area that can be ‘toured' digitally; an experience made possible by the use of Kongsberg Maritime cameras. The 3D reconstruction will be predominantly created using images from the OE14-408E digital stills cameras, which feature Ethernet operation that allowed immediate transfer of the images to the surface.
"The six Kongsberg OE14-408E cameras fitted to the vehicles were our primary photographic cameras and have captured amazing images of the wrecks and debris fields," said Dr Andrew Woods of Curtin University. "These were used for feature photography and also for the important role of 3D reconstruction processing – to that end we have already generated some very realistic 3D models of items at the wreck site." 3D reconstruction is a recent development which enables highly realistic 3D models of physical objects to be created digitally from an array of 2D photographs.
"We appreciated the support of Kongsberg Maritime to help us design and integrate an innovative underwater camera system to meet our exacting requirements," continued Dr Woods. Multiple Kongsberg OE14-408E cameras were setup as an array, capturing multiple photos from multiple angles, providing RAW image download in real-time at 5 second intervals. "We had limited bottom time and the Kongsberg cameras allowed us to maximise our time on site."
"The Kongsberg OE14-530 3DHD camera has captured a vast collection of absolutely beautiful footage. The camera performed flawlessly," added Dr Woods. "We were feeding live 3DHD footage into our control room during the mission and the ROV team kept popping their heads into our space, jaws agape at how wonderful the 3DHD footage looked, and openly wishing they could have that capability in their control room."
As well as contributing to the Museum's exhibitions and online galleries, footage captured by the Kongsberg Maritime cameras will also be seen in a TV documentary by Prospero Productions, a professional documentary company that accompanied the expedition.
The high quality of the imagery from the Kongsberg Maritime cameras is helping to better understand how Sydney could have been so comprehensively disabled so quickly, with the loss of all 645 crew, during the battle with Kormoran on 19 November 1941, which ultimately saw both ships destroyed.
"The team have pulled off something fantastic, singular in the history of Australian maritime archaeology," said Andy Viduka, Assistant Director Maritime Heritage, Department of the Environment, Australian Government.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Kineco Kaman Composites - India Dispatches First Lot of Mission Consoles to BAE Systems for P-8 Program

Goa June 30, 2015 - Kineco Kaman Composites - India (KKCI) Private Limited, a Joint Venture Company between Kineco Group of Goa and Kaman Aerospace Group USA, has made its first commercial dispatch of Composite Mission Consoles to BAE Systems, Inc. for the P-8 maritime patrol aircraft.

“BAE Systems has shown immense commitment to making our partnership a successful one.”
KKCI had earlier completed First Article Inspection phase of the composite console paving the way for this serial production. This is a historic event for KKCI and marks the beginning of its long term engagement with global aerospace OEM’s like BAE Systems.
BAE Systems initiated this sourcing activity as part of its commitment to help develop aerospace and defense industrial capabilities in India. Over the last eighteen months, the company’s team has been developing KKCI’s capabilities to achieve readiness for this production. KKCI is the first supplier in India developed through P-8 industrial commitments by BAE Systems.
An industry team, led by The Boeing Company, is building the P-8. The aircraft, a derivative of the Next-Generation 737-800, provides advanced anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare and long-range maritime reconnaissance capabilities. Boeing has delivered 23 P-8A Poseidon aircraft to the U.S. Navy and six of eight P-8I aircraft to the Indian Navy, through 2014.
BAE Systems supplies the Mission Computing and Display System for Boeing’s P-8 aircraft. Each P-8 aircraft has five (5) consoles which serve as the main user interface to control and interact with sensors, communications and weapon systems on the aircraft. The consoles are a complex assembly manufactured using carbon composite and glass composite panels, with a multitude of metallic inserts.
“Kineco Kaman is proud to mark this significant milestone and make the maiden dispatch of a ‘Made in India’ product for a prestigious program such as the Boeing P8 Poseidon. This now paves the way for us to commence production and delivery of the consoles, which are the platforms through which missions are operated on the Boeing P8 Poseidon. Equally, we look forward to strengthening our engagement with BAE Systems on this program and look forward to expanding our engagement on other platforms and programs in support of the ‘Make in India’ global initiative of the Prime Minister,” said Mr. Shekhar Sardessai, Chairman & Managing Director of KKCI. “BAE Systems has shown immense commitment to making our partnership a successful one.”

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Kilmer, Cantwell, Murray, and Heck Reintroduce Maritime Washington National Heritage Area in the State of Washington

Washington June 18, 2015 - Today, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) and U.S. Representatives Derek Kilmer (D-WA-06) and Denny Heck (D-WA-10) announced the reintroduction of bills that would establish a National Maritime Heritage Area in Washington state to help preserve and promote the state’s maritime history and culture for future generations to enjoy.
The “Maritime Washington National Heritage Area Act” would cover most of Western Washington’s shoreline and help promote maritime-related tourism, economic development and maritime history as told through Washington state’s museums, historic ships, fishing culture and other activities.
This would be the first National Heritage Area established in the Pacific Northwest. Congress has designated 49 National Heritage Areas nationwide to promote local economic growth and tourism, and preserve sites and landmarks with cultural and historical significance.
“This bill will honor our shared maritime traditions and support our local economy,” said Kilmer. “By creating a Maritime Heritage Area and protecting national treasures along our coast we can remind future generations of our rich history along the water and attract visitors from across the nation. I’m proud to work with my colleagues in support of the vibrancy of our coastal communities.”
“Washington state’s rich maritime history is of great importance not just to local communities, but the entire nation,” said Senator Murray. “This designation as a National Maritime Heritage Area would raise awareness of our unique maritime connected industries and culture and encourage further economic development in Washington state.”
“Not only will the establishment of a maritime heritage area encourage people to learn about this special place, but to also visit and experience its brilliance in person,” said Heck. “This designation will also preserve our region for many generations to enjoy well into the future.”
Heritage Area designations are eligible for federal grants, and can help draw contributions from state, local and private sources. Heritage Area designations also help coordinate marketing and tourism promotion, such as developing websites, putting up highway signs to advertise sites, sponsoring festivals, and publishing brochures and tour maps. Heritage Areas also can help with assisting in the operation of museums and visitor centers.
A recent economic impact study indicates National Heritage Areas contribute $12.9 billion annually to the national economy and support 148,000 jobs, according to the Park Service.
The legislation, reintroduced by Cantwell and Murray in the Senate, and by Kilmer and Heck in a companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, would create a heritage area that consists of lighthouses, historic vessels, parks, and other landmarks located within one-quarter mile of the shoreline in 13 counties, including Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, San Juan, Island, King, Pierce, Thurston, Mason, Kitsap, Jefferson, Clallam, and Grays Harbor counties. It also would include 19 Native American tribes, 32 cities and 30 port districts.
Local stakeholders pushed for the designation to attract visitors from around the country to learn more about the state’s maritime legacy.
National Heritage Areas are partnerships between the National Park Service, states, and local communities through which the Park Service supports local and state efforts to preserve natural resources and promote tourism. They are operated by local boards that are established by legislation. National Heritage areas are not part of the National Park System, which are lands that are federally-owned and managed. No federal regulations are imposed, and no private land is affected or acquired.

Coast Guard: pointing lasers at responders is dangerous and illegal

Panama City FL June 24, 2015 - The Coast Guard is warning the public that pointing handheld lasers at Coast Guard boat and aircrews is dangerous and illegal
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Station Panama City received a report Sunday evening at 6:48 p.m. of a disabled 15-foot Jon Boat with four people on board, a 50-year-old father and his three children, who had lost communications with his wife on shore. The operator of the boat was attempting to paddle four miles back in to shore towards Lake Powell.
Coast Guard Sector Mobile issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast and Station Panama City launched a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew. Upon arrival Station Panama City launched two illumination flares and conducted a search with negative results.
While attempting to conduct the search, the response boat crew reported multiple laser strikes in the vicinity of the search area, all originating from shore, from at least two different sources.
Two members of the boat crew were struck directly in the eyes from the lasers and had to seek medical attention following the incident.
The father and three children on the Jon boat were able to paddle back to shore and made it back safely to the Ramsgate Harbor Vacation Rentals.
Pointing a laser at an aircraft is a federal crime and a felony offense under Title 18, United States Code, Section 39A. If found guilty, offenders could be fined up to $250,000 and sentenced to five years in prison.  Pointing a laser at a vessel is also a federal crime under Title 18, United States Code, Section 2291. If found guilty, offenders could be fined and/or imprisoned for up to 20 years, with a potential for higher confinement time based upon the cargo onboard the vessel and/or whether a death results from the act.  Additionally, a person who interferes with the safe operation of a vessel so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of a person, in violation of 46 U.S.C. §2302, is liable to the U.S. Government for a civil penalty of not more than $5,000 in the case of a recreational vessel, or $25,000 in the case of any other vessel.
Laser pointers are inexpensive to obtain and can extend over two miles in range. Pilots affected by laser strikes regularly report temporary effects in vision, including: afterimage, flash blindness and temporary loss of night vision.  In some cases, a laser strike can result in permanent damage to a person’s eye sight. If a crewmember is lased it severely compromises his ability to effectively respond and safely operate the aircraft or vessel, ultimately endangering the safety and lives of crewmembers aboard and the general public.
Anyone witnessing this crime is strongly encouraged to report it to local law enforcement.

Friday, June 26, 2015

ARM Zapoteco Open to Public in Los Angeles June 27-30

San Pedro June 22, 2015 - ARM Zapoteco, an auxiliary Navy cadet-training ship from Colima, Mexico, will sail into the Port of Los Angeles this weekend and offer free public tours next week on the LA Waterfront.
On its maiden voyage to Los Angeles, Zapoteco, with a crew of approximately 190 on board, will arrive at Berth 46, also known as the Outer Harbor, on Saturday, June 27 and be available for free public tours through Tuesday, June 30. Tour hours are:

Saturday, June 27   11 a.m.-6 p.m. (free shuttle service from Wilmington)
Sunday, June 28     10 a.m.-6 p.m. (free shuttle service from Wilmington)
Monday, June 29    10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Tuesday, June 30    10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Tours are on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations or tickets are not required. Free parking is available at the Outer Harbor, located at 3011 Miner Street in San Pedro. Over the weekend, a free shuttle to the ship will depart from the Wilmington YMCA at 1127 N. Avalon Blvd in Wilmington. Visit for shuttle schedule information.
A floating hospital, Zapoteco serves as a disaster relief vessel and has aided earthquake victims in Haiti, Indonesia, Peru, and El Salvador. Zapoteco has been twice-honored by the Mexican Navy for “performing an act which constitutes an example worthy of imitation.”
Zapoteco was commissioned by the Mexican Navy as a Huasteco-class logistics vessel in 1986. The ship measures 254 feet in length, and weighs 1174 gross tons. The ship’s home port is in Manzanillo, Mexico.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

UANI National Advocacy Campaign to Highlight Critical Issues Remaining in Iran Nuclear Negotiations

June 23, 2015 - United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) today announced the launch of a multi-million dollar television, print, radio, digital and grassroots campaign to educate and engage the American people and legislators in a discussion of the critical issues remaining in negotiations with Iran over the future of its nuclear program.
The multi-tiered campaign will include national cable television beginning on June 23 and full page newspaper ads in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.  The campaign will continue through the time Congress casts votes on any final agreement on Iran's nuclear program reached by the P5+1 countries and Iran.
"This is a generationally important foreign policy issue and we need to give full and appropriate analysis to each and every important element of an agreement with Iran," said UANI CEO Mark Wallace, a former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. who will lead the campaign.
"As negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 enter the final stretch before a June 30 deadline to reach a final agreement, there is a growing concern that U.S. negotiators could be pressured into making dangerous concessions in order to cement a deal," Wallace said. "Democrats and Republicans, U.S. allies in the Arab world, and Israel already feel that past concessions made to Iran go too far.  They are increasingly worried that recent public statements from top Iranian officials - including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei - suggest the only way to conclude a deal with Iran is at the expense of our national security interests and those of our allies."
Wallace said it is important that the American people are fully appraised of the extent to which negotiators have already conceded to Iran's position on key issues heading into what could be the final few weeks of talks aimed at reaching a deal, followed by critical up or down votes in Congress. 
For example, under the agreement to date:

  • Iran's nuclear infrastructure will remain intact;
  • Iran retains its underground and "hardened" Fordow nuclear facility;
  • Iran can engage in further research and development on advanced centrifuges that can enrich uranium much faster; and
  • Restrictions on Iran's nuclear program will end during the next 10-15 years.

No further concessions can be made on critical remaining issues, Wallace said, without doing serious damage to U.S. national security interests. Those issues include:  

  • Full access to Iranian facilities for nuclear inspectors. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) must be able to interview scientists and officials, and visit military facilities as part of its investigation of Iran's previous work on nuclear weapons development.  
  • IAEA inspectors must also be able to do "challenge inspections" of any suspected nuclear facilities - including military facilities - within a timely manner.
  • The phased termination of existing international economic sanctions to match Iran's compliance with its obligations, rather than the lifting of sanctions upon the signing of a deal.  
  • The immediate re-imposition of economic sanctions should Iran be found in violation of the agreement.

"It is essential for an acceptable deal to get a satisfactory resolution of these remaining issues, even if it means negotiating past the June 30 deadline," said UANI President Gary Samore, who will serve as a technical advisor to the campaign.
The campaign will provide the American people a full and fair opportunity to learn about each and every issue surrounding negotiations with Iran and draw their own conclusions.  All of the television and newspaper ads, along with background information associated with each critical issue, will be posted to the UANI website, along with additional resources related to Iran's ballistic missile development program and human rights record.   

Sydney sees Tobruk sailing home for the last time


Sydney June 25, 2015 - HMAS Tobruk (II) sailed through Sydney Heads back to her home port at Garden Island for the last time today. The amphibious heavy lift is scheduled to decommission on Friday 31 July, after 34 years of service in the Royal Australian Navy.
Commanding Officer Tobruk Commander Leif Maxfield said the final passage was an emotional time for the ship’s company of 167.
“Today signifies that the end of the ship’s seagoing life is near,” CMDR Maxfield said.
“The people who have served on Tobruk over the years have performed admirably, responding to the call of duty, whenever tasked by Government to do so. Both current and former ship’s crews have absolutely lived up to the motto of the ship, Faithful and Strong.
“There was a reflective mood onboard the ship as we crossed the threshold of Sydney Heads for the last time, realising the extent of what the ship has achieved in the 35 years of service to her country,” he said.
Tobruk (II) was commissioned on 23 April 1981 and is the second ship to bear the name. During her service life, the ship has supported a number of humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions including the most recent, Operation PACIFIC ASSIST 2015 following Tropical Cyclone Pam which devastated Vanuatu earlier this year.
“While we will farewell Tobruk, it is also an exciting time to be in the Navy. We now look to the future with a bold new capability, having had our first of the two Landing Helicopter Dock ships, HMAS Canberra, entering into service in December 2014,” CMDR Maxfield said.
NUSHIP Adelaide, the second LHD is scheduled for commissioning later this year.