(Doug O'Harra/Alaska Dispatch, 18 October 2011) -- A Russian sailing ship -- said to be the world's fastest frigate — has found the leading edge of tsunami debris from the devastating Japanese earthquake in the middle of the Pacific Ocean about 2,000 miles southeast of Japan and 2,600 miles southwest of Cook Inlet. And this Alaska-size patch of flotsam appears to be on schedule for its Pacific Northwest debut in 2014. The bizarre sightings of bobbing TV sets, refrigerators, wash basins, boots and at least one small boat from Japan offer the first confirmation of a computer simulation developed to track the trajectory of millions of tons of garbage on its multi-year trip toward the beaches of Hawaii and Alaska. Once snarled on shore or fouled on reefs, this immense litter of plastics, wood, metal and fabric might set in motion a second tragedy — the entanglement and poisoning of North Pacific marine life.
Posted 21 October 2011; 1:28:19 PM. Permalink
(BBC Sport, 21 October 2011) -- The 2012 Olympics are still eight months away but for Belgium's identical athlete twins - the Borlées - the road to London is about to take a diversion, across an Icelandic glacier. Kevin and Jonathan will spend a week trekking 80km across the Langjökull ice cap, climbing to 1,300m as temperatures drop to -15°C. The 400m runners are taking part in a team-building exercise with seven other potential 4x400m Belgian team mates. Check the BBC site for updates on their progress.
Posted 21 October 2011; 1:09:23 PM. Permalink
(Asahi Shimbun, 20 October 2011) -- Japan is set to join an international scramble to develop an oil field in the Arctic Circle as parts of its strategy to diversify sources of supply. A quasi-public investment firm, funded by an independent administrative agency and several leading Japanese companies, will tender a bid for the right to develop an oil field off the coast of Greenland next year. The oil field, located northeast of the Danish territory, lies on a continental-shelf floor between 100 and 500 meters below surface. It covers an area of about 50,000 square kilo meters and is the closest known oil field to the north pole. The government of Greenland will announce next year the areas where it will allow exploratory drilling. The site to be opened for exploration covers 30,000 square kilo meters. Bidding will be carried out following the announcement. Among the organizations funding the investment firm, called Greenland Petroleum Exploration Co., are Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp. (JOGMEC), an administrative agency handling natural resources-related matters; INPEX Corp. a leading natural resources producer; Idemitsu Kosan Co., a major oil supplier; and trading house Sumitomo Corp. The winner of the bidding will be announced in mid-December 2012 after screening.
Posted 21 October 2011; 1:05:34 PM. Permalink
(RIA Novosti via Voice of Russia, 12 October 2011) -- Russia and Norway have agreed to coordinate measures preventing violations of the Spitsbergen archipelago status, stated Russia’s FM Ministry Sergei Lavrov at the Barents Euro-Arctic Council in Sweden’s Kiruna. Earlier, on October 6, Lavrov expressed concerns over frequent arrests of Russian vessels off the island in a phone talk with his Norway’s counterpart Jonas Støre. He urged Oslo for cooperation within the 1920 treaty which puts Spitsbergen under Norwegian jurisdiction but allows Russia to do business and research in the area.
Posted 21 October 2011; 12:14:08 PM. Permalink