Sea Technology

JUL 2018

The industry's recognized authority for design, engineering and application of equipment and services in the global ocean community

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34 ST | July 2018 an impact on marine life. Sinkers can damage life on the seafloor under their heavy footprint, and when the con- necting chains are lax, they can scrape off seagrasses, seaweeds and corals around the sinkers as waves and wind push the buoys around. The Coast Guard has been struggling to find a solution for more than 20 years. It reached out to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) for help. S&T organized a prize com- petition January 2016 that yielded a simple, effective buoy mooring system: Instead of a concrete sinker, Cole Keaoulu Santos, an innovator from Hawaii, proposed a narrow screw anchor; instead of a heavy metal chain, he suggested an elastic rope to prevent scraping of the seafloor. For the next two years, the Coast Guard will test the buoy moorings' durability, then prepare a final report to support future decisions. National Marine Sanctuary Foundation Award Winners Every year, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation honors individuals and organizations whose professional or personal accomplishments make a difference in en- suring a healthy future for the ocean and Great Lakes. Gordon and Betty Moore received the Lifetime Achievement Award this year for their critical leadership on environmental conservation and science. Through their foundation's work on scientific discovery, on-the- water conservation programs and using financial markets to support conservation, they are driving innovation. Will Benson received this year's national Volunteer of the Year Award. He works to build and strengthen part- nerships between the recreational fishing community and Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The BBC received the Conservation Innovation Award for the groundbreaking documentary series "Blue Planet II." By introducing viewers to amazing species and sea- scapes and the challenges facing the ocean, BBC is in- spiring new ocean guardians. BSEE Proposes Reducing Regulations On Blowout Preventers, Well Control The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforce- ment (BSEE) is proposing to update regulations covering offshore oil and gas drilling operations to improve reli- ability, safety, efficiency and environmental stewardship, and reduce unnecessary burdens on operators. BSEE re- viewed the existing regulations in response to Executive and Secretary's Orders. The Proposed Blowout Preventer Systems and Well Control Rule was submitted to the Fed- eral Register in April to open the 60-day public comment period. BSEE analyzed all 342 provisions of the 2016 Well Control Final Rule and determined that 59 of those pro- visions—less than 18 percent of the 2016 Rule—were appropriate for proposed updating and revision. The proposed revisions would amend the testing protocol for blowout preventers, modify capability requirements for ROVs, remove duplicative verification requirements, and codify recent revisions to industry standards. ST MARAD Grants For US Shipyards The U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT) Maritime Administration (MARAD) made available $19.6 million in federal funding to support capital improve- ments and employee training at small U.S. shipyards. The grants are provided through the Small Shipyard Grant Program and help eligible shipyards modernize oper- ations, increase efficiency and reap the benefits of in- creased productivity. The grants, to be awarded in July, are for U.S. shipyards with less than 1,200 production employees. Pilot Program Allows States to Manage Recreational Red Snapper Fishing in Gulf U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross commend- ed the innovative, two-year pilot program that grants partial management responsibility of the Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishery to the five Gulf states. Red snapper caught by private anglers in state and federal waters off Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Louisiana and Texas will be covered by the program. The U.S. Department of Commerce and NOAA Fisheries encouraged the states to submit exempted fishing permit applications to test new and innovative ways to manage recreational red snapper fishing. The permits allow those states to manage recre- ationally caught red snapper in state and federal waters and test data collection methods. Each state will set its 2018 and 2019 private angling red snapper season, mon- itor red snapper landings, and close the private angling season when the state's assigned quota is reached. Royalty Rates to Stay the Same For Offshore Oil, Gas for Now U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced that the Department of the Interior will not lower royal- ty rates for future offshore oil and gas lease sales at this time. On February 28, the Royalty Policy Committee (RPC), re-chartered by Zinke in 2017, made its initial recom- mendations, including one to set a royalty rate of 12.5 percent on all Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) lease sales at all water depths through 2024. Since then, an improv- ing economy, federal tax reforms, higher energy prices and greater regulatory certainty have led to positive mar- ket conditions, prompting Zinke's determination to keep the royalty rate in 200 m of water and deeper at 18.75 percent. US Coast Guard Tests Eco-Friendly Buoy Moorings The U.S. Coast Guard uses navigational buoys to di- rect water traffic and to protect vulnerable benthic eco- systems such as seagrass communities and coral reefs in U.S. waters. However, most buoys are currently attached to the seafloor by concrete anchors, also called sinkers, and heavy metal chains that can have just as significant capital report

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