Tuesday, September 18, 2007

NATO assets used in survey of sunken Russian submarine

ROVs are not just used in commercial applications. As we will learn in the article below they are used in military applications.

assets used in survey of sunken Russian submarine

20 July 2007 – NATO Research Vessel ALLIANCE was recently engaged in a task to survey the wreck of a sunken nuclear submarine, 21 June to 7 July. This was part of an international effort led by the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) Defence Equipment and Support Salvage and Marine Operations Team (SALMO) at the specific request of the Russian Federation (RF). The UK MOD requested the use of NRV ALLIANCE, managed by NURC, a NATO research centre in Italy, due to the unique capabilities of the ship to perform oceanographic research and surveying. NRV ALLIANCE was used, in this operation, as the host ship for the NATO Submarine Rescue System (NSRS) Intervention Remotely Operated Vehicle (IROV), owned jointly by the UK, France and Norway.

The decommissioned Russian submarine, B-159, was being towed to a breakers yard in 2003 when it broke loose and sank in rough weather in the Barents Sea at the entrance of the Murmansk River, resulting in the loss of nine Russian sailors. Two nuclear reactors were onboard the submarine when it sank, although the reactors were shut down and in a safe state. This survey was the first stage of a recovery effort and was carried out through the Arctic Military Environment Co-operation (AMEC), with the UK and Russia as active members and Norway and the US as observing members.

Upon arrival at the wreck site under the escort of a RF naval vessel, the survey team was officially welcomed by Vice Admiral Maksimov, Deputy Commander in Chief of the Northern Fleet. The location and position of the submarine was quickly found using sensors on NRV ALLIANCE. Environmental sampling was conducted by sonar surveyors from St. Andrews University, while the IROV removed debris from the vicinity of the wreck. This was the IROV’s first operational deployment, and the vehicle stood up to the challenge. With the IROV pilots working 24/7 over the wreck site, a considerable amount of seabed work was completed. Radiation monitoring indicated no radiation hazard from the submarine.

A highlight of the operation was the recovery of a small Russian ROV that had become entangled in the wreck a few years ago, as well as the RF naval flag that had been flying on the B159 when she sank. The ROV was returned to the surface and presented back to Admiral Maksimov, along with the flag.

The operation was a great success, meeting all its objectives: SALMO was particularly pleased with the performance and capability of NRV ALLIANCE. In addition, it was noteworthy to see the NATO flag flying alongside that of the Russian Federation, with international teams working collaboratively on such a worthwhile project. Prior to its departure from the area of operations, NRV ALLIANCE participated in a wreath laying ceremony with the RF Navy Destroyer ADMIRAL LEVCHENKO.

Credits: Photos courtesy of the UK MOD

Weather Story


Saturday (September 15, 2007) evening at approximately 7:00 p.m. a weather cell confirmed to be a tornado ripped through the Palo Verde, California region and heavy damage occurred. It is anticipated that the total damage will exceed $10,000,000.00. Palo Verde, California is located at the northeast corner of Imperial County, just within the county limit that is shared with Riverside County.

The initial site survey reports conducted by the Imperial County Planning Department estimated that 80% of the community’s structures incurred major damage. 13 Condemnation notices have already been posted and it is estimated that 30% of the structures will be condemned once the damage assessment surveys are completed. The water has been deemed safe to drink, and shelters have been established at the Colorado Fairgrounds in Palo Verde. It is estimated that power will not be fully restored for a few days. Responders to the scene included but were not limited to; Imperial County Sheriff Ray Lorea, Imperial County Supervisor Wally Leimgruber, ICFD Battalion Chief Tony Rohoutas, Fire Chief Bill Zimmerman, Imperial Valley Red Cross Volunteers Ramon Barron & Roland Pritchard.

Imperial County CEO Roberta Burns has been working with the Governors Office to have this emergency classified a State Disaster. Imperial County Supervisor Joe Maruca signed the Imperial County Disaster Proclamation at 3:45pm today. This weather cell also downed eight Power Lines in the City of Calexico and two in Holtville, power was restored this afternoon to all of Calexico and Holtville. Note: Palo Verde has a population of 279 people with 225 Residential structures mostly mobile homes.

Damage level: Heavy

Update Typhoon NARI

SOUTH KOREA: Typhoon kills at least one, strands 15,000 in South Korea

A powerful typhoon killed at least one person in South Korea on Sunday, grounded 280 flights and stranded 15,000 passengers on its southern resort island of Jeju, officials said. The anti-disaster agency reported one dead and two missing on Jeju. South Korea's Yonhap news agency put the total typhoon death toll at six -- on Jeju and elsewhere.The agency said Typhoon Nari, expected to hit the mainland late Sunday, moved faster than the country's weather office had expected, flooding scores of houses and leaving more than 100 people homeless. The powerful storm also cut power to some 150,000 homes on Jeju and parts of southwestern South Jolla province for hours.