By: Harlan Doliner, Chair of the Maritime Group and member of the Environmental Group at Verrill Dana LLP and President of the Marine & Oceanographic Technology Network (MOTN) and Ariadne Dimoulas, Executive Science Coordinator for Scientific Solutions, Inc., Oceanographic Researcher, Marine Educator, and Science Communicator
Second in a series on the changing face of marine and coastal research and implications for the future
Imagine that you are the master of a merchant ship transiting the Northern Sea Route, across the top of Russia, in winter. You are enveloped in total darkness twenty-four hours a day as you navigate through ever-changing ice conditions, weather, and sea states. Any outside assistance in the event of an emergency is as least several days away. At these high latitudes, communication with your company or search and rescue authorities, as well as the accuracy of your GPS and compass, is inconsistent. At stake is the safety of your vessel, her crew and cargo (perhaps crude oil), and your company’s investment in making these kind of voyages a practical reality. In addition to the avalanche of constantly changing conditions—and despite all the impressive technologies lit up on the bridge—there is the omnipresent concern about what you do not know about depths, bottom conditions, local currents, etc.