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NOAA carries outs hydrographic survey in Alaska

US: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ship Fairweather, a 231-foot survey vessel, departed Kodiak, Alaska, on a mission to conduct hydrographic surveys. It will survey remote areas of the Arctic where depths have not been measured since before the US bought Alaska in 1867.
NOAA will use the data to update nautical charts to help mariners safely navigate this important but sparsely charted region, which is now seeing increased vessel traffic because of the significant loss of Arctic sea ice.
Over the next two months, Fairweather will conduct hydrographic surveys covering 402 square nautical miles of navigationally significant waters in Kotzebue Sound, a regional distribution hub in north-western Alaska in the Arctic Circle.
Fairweather and her survey launches are equipped with state-of-the-art acoustic technology to measure ocean depths, collect 3D imagery of the seafloor and detect underwater hazards that could pose a danger to surface vessels. The ship itself will survey the deeper waters, while the launches work in shallow areas. This survey will also address a request for bathymetry to support navigation and installation for an offshore lightering facility used for heating and fuel oil.
“NOAA’s Arctic surveys and charting plan identify the additional hydrographic coverage necessary to support a robust maritime transportation infrastructure in the coastal areas north of the Aleutian Islands,” said NOAA Corps Capt. Doug Baird, chief of NOAA’s Marine Chart Division in the Office of Coast Survey. “With the resources we have available, we are building the foundation to meet the burgeoning demands of ocean activities around Alaska’s waterways.”
Source: NOAA