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U.S.’s First ‘Underwater Wind Turbine’ Installed in The Mississippi River


The nation’s first commercial hydrokinetic turbine, which harnesses the power from moving water without the construction of a dam, has splashed into the waters of the Mississippi River near Hastings, Minnesota.

The 35-kilowatt turbine is positioned downstream from an existing hydroelectric-plant dam and — together with another turbine to be installed soon — will increase the capacity of the plant by more than 5 percent. The numbers aren’t big, but the rig’s installation could be the start of an important trend in green energy.

And that could mean more of these “wind turbines for the water” will be generating clean energy soon.

“We don’t require that massive dam construction, we’re just using the natural flow of the stream,” said Mark Stover, a vice president at Hydro Green Energy, the Houston-based company leading the project. “It’s underwater windpower if you will, but we have 840 or 850 times the energy density of wind.”

Hydrokinetic turbines like those produced by Hydro Green and Verdant capture the mechanical energy of the water’s flow and turn it into energy, without need for a dam. The problem for companies like Hydro Green is that their relatively low-impact turbines are forced into the same regulatory bucket as huge hydroelectric dams. The regulatory hurdles have made it difficult to actually get water flowing through projects.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has oversight of all projects that involve making power from water, and the agency has recently shown signs of easing up on this new industry. In the meantime, the first places where hydrokinetic power makes in impact could be at existing dam sites where the regulatory red tape has already been cut.

“I am thrilled to support today’s historic order that allows for harnessing more power from the Mississippi River,” FERC Commissioner Philip Moeller said in a release. “I hope this is the first of thousands of similar projects that produce clean and renewable power from in-stream flows at existing dams.”

Moeller’s enthusiasm could encourage other companies that are trying similar strategies to tap tidal or current power.
Verdant has been testing its own turbine design to capture tidal flow in New York’s East River, but it hasn’t been easy.
“Verdant has spent more money on permitting their East River project that than they did on hardware,” said Roger Bedard, a researcher at the Electric Power Research Institute, who has studied water-current–based energy generation.
Hydro Green’s Stover hopes that his company’s new unit will help shorten that regulatory process by generating environmental impact data that could ease concerns the turbines will disrupt river ecosystems and habitats.

And in the meantime, investors will continue to scour the planet for companies and technologies that could benefit from Barack Obama’s plans to create green jobs. Congress already passed a bill this year to extend tax incentives for hydrokinetic projects through 2016.

“After the wind and solar craze, people said, ‘What else is out there?’” Stover said. “The investment community is quite interested.”

Image: Mark Stover/Hydro Green Energy, LLC

Source: http://blog.wired.com/

NI woman leads search of US wreck


A Belfast woman is leading a diving expedition in the Florida Keys which hopes to unravel the mystery of why a Civil War ship sank in the area.
The paddle steamer the Menemon Sanford was carrying Union soldiers bound for New Orleans when it hit a coral reef near Key Largo.
There were suspicions the sinking was as a result of sabotage.
University of Ulster graduate Anne Corscadden Knox will lead American students in investigating the wreck.
Anne, who is originally from west Belfast, said: “We hope that our investigations can shed some light on the sinking.
“Sometimes you can put it all together and come up with some good theory, but it’s like anything in archaeology, you’ll never be 100% certain.”
All of the crew and soldiers from the 156th New York Volunteers were moved to US naval vessels before the boat sank, but the soldiers’ gear and supplies were lost.
There were suspicions that the ship’s pilot Captain A W Richardson was a southern sympathiser and that the sinking was an act of sabotage. Richardson was placed under arrest for criminal negligence.
The diving expedition is just one of several projects Anne has undertaken as a research associate and programme co-ordinator with the PAST Foundation.
A qualified commercial diver, she has also taken part in an underwater expedition to investigate what is believed to be the wreck of the Queen Anne’s Revenge, flagship of the notorious pirate, Blackbeard.
“Whether it is that ship or not, it was a remarkable 18th century shipwreck with quite substantial archaeological debris,” she said.

Anne Corscadden Knox

Banks pull plug on Oilexco's UK operations


By Ed Crooks, Energy Editor – Yahoo Finance

The UK arm of Oilexco (OIL.TOnews) is likely to go into administration within the next day or two, taking all the London and Toronto-listed exploration and production company’s oil and gas reserves with it.

The collapse will be the first significant failure of a UK oil company following the plunge in the price of crude and the drying-up of debt and equity financing since the downfall of Lehman Brothers (NYSE: LEHnews) in September.

Oilexco was the most active driller of appraisal wells in the North Sea in recent years, outdoing big international groups such as BP (LSE: BP.Lnews) and Royal Dutch Shell (Amsterdam: RDSA.ASnews) .

Although it has been looming since October, the failure to secure the funding it needed will send shock waves through the North Sea industry.

On New Year’s eve, the company issued a statement warning that its UK subsidiary, Oilexco North Sea Limited, intended to file for administration “as soon as reasonably practicable”.

It said Royal Bank of Scotland (LSE: RBS.Lnews) and its syndicate of banks had told Oilexco that day that they were “not prepared to advance any further funding” to its UK arm.

It added: “Oilexco does not have any other source of funding at this time and has therefore concluded that an administration must be pursued.”

Merrill Lynch (NYSE: MERnews) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MSnews) have been trying to find buyers for Oilexco or its assets and the company said “several parties have indicated significant interest” in buying all or most of the North Sea business.

The administrators are now expected to carry on that process, in the hope of maximising the value for stakeholders and keeping the business as a going concern.

Oilexco’s assets include the Huntington field, potentially the biggest oil find in the North Sea for five years. However, oil at about $46 a barrel, as it was on Monday, threatens to make North Sea investment unviable, because producing new oil costs about $40 a barrel.

The shares closed up 1¼p in London at 18¼p, but are down 98 per cent over the past six months.

Valued at more than £2bn last June, Oilexco is now worth just £41m.

Divers in 'treasure' jail threat


A team of Cornish divers could be facing extradition accused of plundering shipwrecks off the Spanish coast.It was originally claimed that the team was illegally diving for gold and diamonds on a wreck off Galicia on the north west coast of Spain.

Now they face charges of theft and damaging Spanish heritage and up to six years in jail.

Peter Devlin, Malcolm Cubin, and Steve Russ deny the charges.


 We are professionals, not treasure hunters 
Malcolm Cubin


The Spanish authorities arrested the three commercial divers after they dived on the wrecked Dutch ship Friesland in 2002.

Mr Devlin, from Falmouth, says his company, Force 9 Salvage, had a contract with the Spanish government.

The Friesland was carrying 220 tonnes of tin ingots worth about £650,000.

Arrest warrant

But after recovering just one tin ingot the divers were arrested and questioned over allegations of illegally diving for gold and diamonds on a nearby wreck.

In November the divers learned they had been charged and now fear the Spanish authorities could apply for an EU arrest warrant which would allow for their extradition.

The Spanish prosecutor is demanding three years on each count.

Truro father-of-four Mr Cubin, now back in the UK, told BBC News: “They have no case whatsoever, it’s insane.

“Our permits were even checked by the Guardia Civil before we went diving.

“We are commercial divers. We are professionals, not treasure hunters.”


Falmouth MP Julia Goldsworthy is pressing the Foreign Office to resolve the issue.

Stephen Jakobi, director of Fair Trials Abroad, said they hoped to be able to help the divers and he said: “This is really a squabble amongst the Spaniards by the looks of things.

“Government permits and okays have been given, and the national government is getting a share of the finds by agreement.

“It looks to me as though it is a local prosecutor having a go. The relationship between national and state prosecutions is not good, and these divers are being used as pawns.”

Wiltshire movie diver


Guy Drayton from Highworth near Swindon has a fascinating job – he works as a diver at Pinewood studios.

Guy, 29, who hails from the market town of Highworth near Swindon has spent the last four years working as a diver on many recent blockbuster movies.

Tomb Raider, The Mummy, Harry Potter and the two most recent James Bond movies – The World is Not Enough and Die Another Day are just some of the films he has been involved in.

Guy’s varied movie diving duties include safety cover, underwater set dressing, construction and maintenance. He is predominantly employed at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, but has also worked further afield on sets in Prague and Greece.

As a strong swimmer and someone who once worked as a lifeguard at Highworth swimming pool, Guy had often considered a career in commercial diving. This aspiration soon turned into reality following a chance meeting whilst travelling around Europe in the mid-90s.

Guy on the set of Dinotopia
Guy on the set of Dinotopia

“I met a professional diver on my travels,” Guy explained. “He suggested taking a HSE in commercial diving at The Underwater Centre at Fort William in Scotland,”

Guy took his advice and enrolled on the £5,000 course in early 1997.

“I became friends with a guy who had his own diving firm – Diving Services UK. They had recently completed some underwater work on Steven Spielberg’s movie Saving Private Ryan.”

Guy went on to gain his qualification and spent the next two years as a commercial diver working on a number of projects for the oil and gas industry.

In 1999, Guy heard from Diving Services UK again who offered him his first media-related diving job on the 19th James Bond film – The World is Not Enough.

The third Bond movie to star Pierce Brosnan featured possibly the biggest opening sequence of all the Bond movies – an audacious speedboat chase along the River Thames. Although it only lasts for 20 minutes onscreen – it actually took two months to film.

Guy’s safety role involved standing by in case any of the 200 members of the crew working on the many camera boats fell into the Thames.

Thankfully there were no accidents during filming of this sequence, but as Guy explained, there was a close shave when it came to the caviar factory scene later in the film.

“In the scene where a Rolls Royce is driven into the water, one of the stuntmen got trapped in the car and we had to rescue him. That was the hairiest thing that has happened – we saved his life. Everyone on the set cheered when they realised he was OK.”

What was James Bond himself – Pierce Brosnan like to work with?

Guy said: “He’s a really nice bloke – down to earth and one of the best actors I’ve met.

“I’ve never seen anybody do this before or since but at the end of the film on his last day he went round to every single person on the set and thanked them personally. It was a nice touch.”

Guy also singled out Robbie Coltrane AKA Bond’s uneasy ally Valentin Zukovsky as a pleasure to work with.

“I was assigned to Robbie any time he was near water,” he said.

“He’s really into sailing and came on set as we were practising rope skills which is part of the job. As he walked past he saw the rope knots and said ‘bloody hell! A monkey’s fist! How do you do that? Teach us how!’ It sounds funny but we traded rope knots for a while!

“We got on really well and I met him again on Harry Potter.”

Guy also worked on the elaborate ice palace set on the latest Bond movie – Die Another Day.

The ice palace set from Die Another Day
The ice palace set from Die Another Day

Possibly Guy’s most memorable experience working on film and TV projects came when Diving Services UK were contracted to work on a music video.

This wasn’t any music video however, it was ‘No Other Baby’ – the 1999 single by Sir Paul McCartney.

As Guy explained: “It was definitely the best job we’ve ever done. I just had to sit in a rowing boat with Paul McCartney for a week and make sure he didn’t fall overboard.”

As McCartney had his guitar with him and because the shoot involved a lot of sitting around, Guy was lucky enough to enjoy impromptu renditions of the ex-Beatle’s many hits.

“Just having him play me songs like ‘Yesterday’, ‘From Me To You’ and ‘Sergeant Pepper’ was the most mind-blowing experience of my entire life. He was also kind enough to sign a 50th birthday card for my Mum which made her cry!”

Guy has just returned from Prague where his skills were enlisted for the forthcoming dinosaur time travel movie – A Sound of Thunder starring Ben Kingsley and Ed Burns.

He said: “Most of my stuff involved a scene in a flooded subway where Ed Burns and Catherine McCormack’s characters are attacked by a dinosaur. That is going to be a good film.”

Future projects include Tomb Raider 2 and the much mooted live action version of Thunderbirds which has just entered production. Although Guy hopes to branch into the more lucrative offshore oil and gas diving industry in the future, he would like to get a few more big budget movies under his belt.

He said: “There is a lot of sitting around waiting for set-ups before you have to be focussed on some really intense work, but it is very rewarding. It’s a lot of fun.”

Wanted: Caretaker for an Island Paradise in Australia


HAMILTON ISLAND, AUSTRALIA — Tourism Queensland have had a great result today with a PR stunt to bring attention to the region. They have announced that they are looking to recruit an “island caretaker” willing to spend six months exploring the land and waters around the Great Barrier Reef for £70,000. The post, billed as “the best job in the world” would involve the successful applicant moving to a rent-free three-bedroom villa, complete with pool, on Hamilton Island.

The island caretaker would have to write a weekly blog, photo diary and video updates to attract visitors to the reef’s 900 islands. Applicants for the job, which includes travel expenses and a 150,000 Australian dollar (£70,000) salary, will need a year’s “relevant” experience, excellent communication skills and “a willingness to try new things”.

Below the water, the Great Barrier Reef stretches for 1,600 miles across 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands and is the world’s largest coral reef system with “an abundance of wildlife”, a spokesman for Tourism Queensland said.

Hamilton Island, where the temperature is warm all year round, is the largest inhabited island in the region and is located just off the coast of Queensland with blue skies, crystal water and pure sands forming “the backdrop to an ideal island life”.

The job advertisement read: “It’s a live-in position with flexible working hours and key responsibilities include exploring the islands of the Great Barrier Reef to discover what the area has to offer.”

The “unique opportunity to help promote the wondrous Islands of the Great Barrier Reef” could also include feeding some of the more than 1,500 species of fish or joining the aerial postal service for a day.

Candidates for the newly-created position have until February 22 to submit a video application to the website http://www.islandreefjob.com/

Passing the time in the Chamber


[poll id=”3″]

SAT Job Just Posted

There was a big SAT job just posted in our jobs section. Here’s a link if you’d like to read more about it and apply for the job: Commercial Diving SAT Job

We're Live!


We officially went live at 5pm PST today. Within 10 minutes of going live we already have hundreds of views in the jobs section and even a few members in the Diver Community.

Thanks to everyone who helped me get this live and I appreciate everyone’s patience today as I was a bit delayed with a few bugs.

Let’s have some fun with this!

ADCI Safety – Jan 9, 2009

ADCI Industry Update #2009-01 January/2009
TO:  ADCI General Membership and Industry Stakeholders

The following items of information are provided to bring your attention to recent industry developments, initiatives, or safety notices.  If you do not wish to receive future Industry Updates, please use the unsubscribe option, located at the bottom of this update.

Dive Flags / Alpha Flags / Day Shapes

This ADCI Industry Update and Safety Reminder is to inform stakeholders of the importance displaying the proper Diving Lights, Day Shapes, and Flags when conducting operations off of a vessel.  International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea- Rules 3(a), 27(b), 27(d), 27(e), 27(g), and 30.

Vessels are defined to include every description of water craft including non-displacement craft and sea planes used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water.

1. The Regulations require that all vessels engaged in dredging or underwater operations, when restricted ability to maneuver, should exhibit lights and shapes as follows:

  • Three all around lights in a vertical line where they can best be seen.  The highest and lowest of these lights should be red and the middle light should be white.
  • Three shapes in a vertical line where they can best be seen.  The highest and lowest of these shapes should be balls and the middle one diamond.  The shapes should be colored black.

2. If a vessel is engaged in dredging or underwater operations and is making way through the water, then masthead lights, sidelights, and a stern light are required in addition to the lights required in paragraph 1.

3. If a vessel engaged in dredging or underwater operations is at anchor, then in addition to the light(s) or shape(s) required for vessels at anchor or aground, it should displayed the lights or shapes required in paragraph 1.  If an obstruction exists, then in addition the vessel should exhibit:

  • Two all round red lights or two balls in a vertical line to indicate the side on which the obstruction exists.
  • Two all round green lights or diamonds in a vertical line to indicate the side on which another vessel may pass.

4.  If the size of the vessel engaged in diving operations makes it impracticable to exhibit the shapes described above then a rigid replica of the International Code Flag ‘A’ not less than 1 meter in height should be exhibited and so displayed that it can be seen from all directions.

5.  Vessels of less than 7 meters in length are not required to exhibit the diving lights as described above.

6.  The interpretation of the regulations makes it mandatory for all vessels to comply with them.  The only offshore installations not so affected are permanently fixed platforms which, once they have been placed in position, are no longer vessels.  However, it may be considered prudent for fixed platforms to conform.  In addition, Installation Managers of fixed platforms should ensure that all vessels in the vicinity are warned by any means possible that divers are operating from the installation or from any smaller craft close to the installation.


  • When vessels are conducting diving operations that they display both the Alpha Flag and The Diver Down Flag.

Dive Down Flag

International Alpha Dive Flag

  • When vessels are NOT actively engaged in diving operations they should NOT display these flags.
  • Crews should monitor the serviceablity of their dive flags to ensure that they are not too worn, thus compromising their visability to other vessels in the areas.

Vessel Encroachment
Keeping a Watchful Eye

Despite the regulations and communication capabilities readily available to commercial vessels, there are many pleasure crafts that are piloted by individuals who are not familiar with International Flags, Day Shapes, and Diving Lights.  This is one of many reasons for why it is important for vessels to assign personnel to keep a vigilant watch for other vessels that may encroach upon the designated area where underwater operations are being conducted.

This Information was sent to further the communication of all industry stakeholders. Safety is the primary concern of the ADCI. Remember:  a real time Job Safety Analysis is important, but nothing can replace good common sense.


Phil Newsum
Association of Diving Contractors International