Lapang Islanders in Indonesia

"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

(Live Kryon Channelings was given 7 times within the United Nations building.)

Question: Dear Kryon: I live in Spain. I am sorry if I will ask you a question you might have already answered, but the translations of your books are very slow and I might not have gathered all information you have already given. I am quite concerned about abandoned animals. It seems that many people buy animals for their children and as soon as they grow, they set them out somewhere. Recently I had the occasion to see a small kitten in the middle of the street. I did not immediately react, since I could have stopped and taken it, without getting out of the car. So, I went on and at the first occasion I could turn, I went back to see if I could take the kitten, but it was to late, somebody had already killed it. This happened some month ago, but I still feel very sorry for that kitten. I just would like to know, what kind of entity are these animals and how does this fit in our world. Are these entities which choose this kind of life, like we do choose our kind of Human life? I see so many abandoned animals and every time I see one, my heart aches... I would like to know more about them.

Answer: Dear one, indeed the answer has been given, but let us give it again so you all understand. Animals are here on earth for three (3) reasons.

(1) The balance of biological life. . . the circle of energy that is needed for you to exist in what you call "nature."

(2) To be harvested. Yes, it's true. Many exist for your sustenance, and this is appropriate. It is a harmony between Human and animal, and always has. Remember the buffalo that willingly came into the indigenous tribes to be sacrificed when called? These are stories that you should examine again. The inappropriateness of today's culture is how these precious creatures are treated. Did you know that if there was an honoring ceremony at their death, they would nourish you better? Did you know that there is ceremony that could benefit all of humanity in this way. Perhaps it's time you saw it.

(3) To be loved and to love. For many cultures, animals serve as surrogate children, loved and taken care of. It gives Humans a chance to show compassion when they need it, and to have unconditional love when they need it. This is extremely important to many, and provides balance and centering for many.

Do animals know all this? At a basic level, they do. Not in the way you "know," but in a cellular awareness they understand that they are here in service to planet earth. If you honor them in all three instances, then balance will be the result. Your feelings about their treatment is important. Temper your reactions with the spiritual logic of their appropriateness and their service to humanity. Honor them in all three cases.

Japan's Antarctic whaling hunt ruled 'not scientific'

Japan's Antarctic whaling hunt ruled 'not scientific'
Representatives of Japan and Australia shake hands at the court in The Hague. (NOS/ANP) - 31 March 2014
"Fast-Tracking" - Feb 8, 2014 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Reference to Fukushima / H-bomb nuclear pollution and a warning about nuclear > 20 Min)

China calls for peaceful settlement of maritime disputes

China calls for peaceful settlement of maritime disputes
Wang Min, China's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, speaks during a meeting to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the enforcement of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, at the UN headquarters in New York, on June 9, 2014. The Chinese envoy on Monday called for a harmonious maritime order, saying that maritime disputes should be settled through negotiation between the parties directly involved. (Xinhua/Niu Xiaolei)

UNCLOS 200 nautical miles vs China claimed territorial waters

UNCLOS 200 nautical miles vs China claimed territorial waters

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Anti-whalers intercept Japanese fleet

AFP, Sydney, 30 January 2013

Anti-whaling activist group Sea Shepherd said Wednesday it had intercepted the Japanese fleet in its annual Southern Ocean hunt "before a single harpoon has been fired".

Sea Shepherd claims to have saved the lives of 4,000 whales over the past eight whaling seasons with ever-greater campaigns of harassment against the Japanese harpoon fleet.

The militant environmentalist group said the Brigitte Bardot, a former ocean racer, had intercepted the harpoon ship Yushin Maru No. 3 in the Southern Ocean at a relatively northern latitude.

"Given that the large concentrations of whales are found further south, closer to the Antarctic continent where there are high concentrations of krill, this would indicate that they have not yet begun whaling," said Brigitte Bardot captain Jean Yves Terlain.

Former Australian politician Bob Brown, who assumed leadership of the anti-whaling campaign from fugitive Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson due to legal issues earlier this month, said it was welcome news.

"It is likely that we have intercepted these whale poachers before a single harpoon has been fired," said Brown.

Crew members of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, look at the Brigitte Bardot ship, on May 25, 2011 in La Ciotat, France. Anti-whaling activist group Sea Shepherd said Wednesday it had intercepted the Japanese fleet in its annual Southern Ocean hunt "before a single harpoon has been fired".

Watson is wanted by Interpol after skipping bail last July in Germany, where he was arrested on Costa Rican charges relating to a high-seas confrontation over shark finning in 2002.

He is on board Sea Shepherd's main ship, Steve Irwin, but has stepped down as skipper and has vowed to abide by a US court ruling in December banning the group from physically confronting any vessel in the Japanese fleet.

The ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit requires Sea Shepherd to stay at least 500 yards (metres) from whaling vessels and prohibits "navigating in a manner that is likely to endanger the safe navigation of any such vessel".

The whaling fleet left Japan for the Southern Ocean in late December, planning to catch up to 935 Antarctic minke whales and up to 50 fin whales.

Tokyo claims it catches whales for scientific research -- a loophole in the international ban on whaling -- but makes no secret of the fact that they ultimately end up on dinner plates.

Sea Shepherd's campaign this year is its biggest yet, involving four ships, a helicopter, three drones and more than 100 crew members.

BP's record $4bn Deepwater criminal penalties approved

BBC News, 29 January 2013

Related Stories

The Deepwater Horizon disaster caused
one of the worst oil spills in history
A US court has approved the biggest criminal penalties in US history given to British oil giant BP as part of a settlement related to the fatal 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

In November, BP said it would pay $4bn (£2.5bn) to the US Department of Justice and agreed to plead guilty to 14 criminal charges.

The sum included a $1.26bn fine.

The Deepwater Horizon incident was one of the worst environmental disasters in US history.

It killed 11 workers and released millions of barrels of crude into the Gulf of Mexico over 87 days.

At the latest hearing Luke Keller, a Vice President of BP America, told the court, the families of the dead, and other victims of the tragedy of the company's regret and apologised for its role in the Deepwater Horizon accident.

"We - and by that I mean the men and the women of the management of BP, its board of directors, and its many employees - are deeply sorry for the tragic loss of the 11 men who died and the others who were injured that day," said Mr Keller.

"Our guilty plea makes clear, BP understands and acknowledges its role in that tragedy, and we apologise - BP apologises - to all those injured and especially to the families of the lost loved ones.

"BP is also sorry for the harm to the environment that resulted from the spill, and we apologise to the individuals and communities who were injured."

Two BP workers have been indicted on manslaughter charges and an ex-manager charged with misleading Congress.

The oil giant has been selling assets worth billions of pounds to raise money to settle all claims. The company is expected to make a final payment of $860m into the $20bn Gulf of Mexico compensation fund by the end of the year.

The resolution with the DoJ includes a record criminal fine of $1.26bn, as well as $2.4bn to be paid to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and $350m to be paid to the National Academy of Sciences, over a period of five years.

"Today's guilty plea and sentencing represent a significant step forward in the Justice Department's ongoing efforts to seek justice on behalf of those affected by one of the worst environmental disasters in American history," said US Attorney General Eric Holder.

"I'm pleased to note that more than half of this landmark resolution - which totals $4bn in penalties and fines, and represents the single largest criminal resolution ever - will help to provide direct support to Gulf Coast residents as communities throughout the region continue to recover and rebuild."

BP will also pay an $525m to the Securities and Exchange Commission over a period of three years.

Other companies involved included Transocean, the owner of the rig and responsible for the safety valve known as the blowout preventer, and Halliburton, who provided cementing services.

BP is yet to reach a settlement with these firms. A civil trial that will determine negligence is due to begin in New Orleans in February.

Related Article:

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Lost dolphin dies in polluted New York waterway

Google – AFP, 26 January 2013 

A dolphin comes up for air after getting stuck in a section of the Gowanus 
Canal on January 25, 2013 in New York City (Getty Images/AFP, Michael Heiman)

NEW YORK — A dolphin that lost its way and got stuck in one of New York City's most polluted waterways died, witnesses and local media said.

The dolphin, a common sight in the Atlantic Ocean off New York, was spotted in the Gowanus Canal, a notoriously hazardous stretch of water in Brooklyn, earlier Friday. Local TV footage showed the mammal rising to breathe, then dipping back down into the grey waters of the canal.

By nightfall, the animal was clearly in trouble, then quickly died, NY1 and CBS television reported.

"Myself & an ecologist were there at the moment the dolphin died. He cried out. Lifeless breached on concrete piling. Police put up tape," tweeted witness Aaron Stewart-Ahn.

The US Environmental Protection Agency calls the Gowanus Canal "one of the nation's most extensively contaminated water bodies," and cites coal tar, heavy metals and the results of "years of discharges, storm water runoff, sewer outflows and industrial pollutants."

The canal was named a Superfund site in 2010, meaning that federal funds will be available for a cleanup.

In December, a large whale was discovered washed up on a New York beach, still alive, but fatally ill.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Video captured of dolphin rescue off Kona

Diver: "There was no question this dolphin was there for help", Jan 18, 2013

HONOLULU —An amazing video was captured Friday night of a dolphin reaching out to a human for help.

It happened during a manta ray dive experience off the Big Island's Kona International Airport.

The group of snorkelers and divers heard a loud squeal and a bottlenose dolphin swam right into the dive spot.

As it approached, diver Keller Laros saw it had a fishing line wrapped around its pectoral fin.

The amazing part of this video -- to watch as this dolphin simply rolls over and patiently lets Laros get to work.

"i was trying to unwrap it, I got the line fishing hook out of the pectoral fin.  There was a line coming out of his mouth.  But, the line wrapped around his pectoral fin.  Was so tight and he had cuts both front and aft," said Laros.  "I was worried if I tugged on it, it might hurt him more.  I was able to cut the fishing line and unwrap it."

Laros got the fishing hook out and snipped the fishing line by the dolphin's mouth.

Others tried to get more fishing line out but the dolphin swam away and the group never saw the dolphin again.

"I've had bottlenose dolphins approach me a lot of times and they are really smart animals," said Laros.  "They way he came right up and pushed himself into me there was no question this dolphin was there for help."

Related Articles:

Dolphin rescue caught on underwater camera


Dolphins try to save dying companion - New

Dolphin Assisted Fishing (Video)

The Animals are Not Waiting for Us

Cross-species friendships are springing up all over. Of them, Matthew said in 2010:

“The innocence of animals, who act from instinct, never from malice, automatically qualifies all except a few species to ascend with Earth. Along the way those who now are wild will become tame, predators will become vegetarians, and all will live peaceably with each other and humankind. Already there is evidence of cross-species friendship, even mothers of one species nurturing infants of another, and instances of bonding between wild animals and humans.”  (Matthew message - Channelled by Suzanne Ward, Aug 13, 2010)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Record high radiation level found in fish: TEPCO

Business Recorder, AFP, Shoaib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui, 18 January 2013

TOKYO: A fish contaminated with radiation levels more than 2,500 times the legal limit has been caught near Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, its operator said Friday.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said caesium equivalent to 254,000 becquerels per kilogramme -- or 2,540 times more than the government seafood limit -- was detected in a "murasoi" fish.

The fish, similar to rockfish, was caught at a port inside the Fukushima plant, a TEPCO spokesman said.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was battered by a towering tsunami following a huge earthquake on March 11, 2011, causing reactor meltdowns which spewed radioactive contamination into the atmosphere.

Fishing around Fukushima was halted and the government banned beef, milk, mushrooms and vegetables from being produced in surrounding areas.

US Navy ship aground on Philippine Unesco coral reef

BBC News, 18 January 2013

The US Navy says it is working out how to extract the ship

Related Stories

A US Navy minesweeper is stuck on a coral reef off the Philippines after running aground early on Thursday.

The USS Guardian struck the reef in the Sulu Sea south-east of Palawan island after completing a port call at the former US naval base of Subic Bay.

The reef is in the Tubbataha National Marine Park, designated a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

Efforts were made to free the Guardian at high tide on Friday but were not successful, said the US Navy.

In a statement, it said the ship had 79 crew on board when it ran aground, but that 72 were being transferred to a smaller vessel "as a precautionary measure".

"A small complement of engineering and bridge personnel will remain aboard and work with a US Navy team in an attempt to free Guardian with minimal environmental impact," it said.

The remaining crew, which includes the commanding officer, would also be transferred "if conditions become unsafe".

The cause of the grounding is still under investigation. No-one was hurt in the incident.

Philippine coast guards were being sent to check for damage to the reef, local media said. Park rangers had earlier been prevented from inspecting the ship, the reports said.

Washington and Manila are allies, and have been strengthening ties in recent months amid concern over territorial disputes with Beijing over the South China Sea.

According to Unesco, the area the ship is grounded is a "unique example of an atoll reef with a very high density of marine species". Part of it serves as a nesting site for birds and marine turtles, it says.

Environmental group Greenpeace was fined almost $7,000 (£4,380) in November 2005 for damaging a coral reef in the park after its flagship Rainbow Warrior II ran aground.

Greenpeace paid the fine but blamed the accident on outdated maps provided by the Philippine government.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

EPA cites Shell Arctic drilling rigs for air emissions violations

 LATimes, Kim Murphy, January 10, 2013

The Noble Discoverer was one of two Shell Arctic drilling rigs cited for
air emissions violations. (Royal Dutch Shell / January 10, 2013)

SEATTLE — Adding to the troubles plaguing Shell Alaska and its drilling program in the Arctic, the Environmental Protection Agency announced late Thursday that it had issued air pollution citations to both of the company’s Arctic drilling rigs for “multiple permit violations” during the 2012 drilling season.

In a brief notice, the federal agency said the company could be subject to fines or other measures as a result of the violations. EPA officials said the problems were discovered during an inspection of the Noble Discoverer drilling rig and because Shell reported that it had exceeded nitrogen oxide emissions limits on both its drilling rigs during operations last summer.

Shell officials have known for some time that they would not be able to meet the stringent pollution limits set for the Arctic, especially the ambitious “best available technology” goals initially established for the Noble Discoverer in the Chukchi Sea.

Early last summer, Shell applied for a last-minute revision to its permit for the main generator on the Discoverer, saying it would likely exceed its limits for nitrogen oxide and ammonia on that equipment despite having spent at least $30 million equipping it with the best technology the company could find.

The EPA in September granted a “compliance order” allowing drilling to proceed through the summer and fall, and approved a modification to the Kulluk’s air permit allowing more leeway.

EPA officials did not immediately release the contents of the notices of violation and refused to answer questions. It appeared that Shell officials had been in discussion with the EPA throughout the fall about excess emissions in some categories that the oil company reported to the EPA with the goal of setting workable permit standards for the 2013 drilling season.

It was not clear whether Shell’s air emissions exceeded even the more lenient standards allowed under the compliance order, but the EPA’s statement referred to “multiple permit violations for each ship” during the 2012 season.

The agency also said it was terminating the September compliance order on the Discoverer.

Shell spokesman Curtis Smith said late Thursday that he had no details about the extent of the purported permit violations.

“We have made every effort to meet the permit conditions established by the EPA for offshore Alaska, and we continue to work with the agency to establish conditions that can be realistically achieved,” Smith said in an email to the Los Angeles Times.

“We are working with the EPA on the path forward for 2013, as we have already proposed necessary permit revisions as a result of ongoing conversations with the agency. We remain committed to minimizing the environmental footprint of our Arctic offshore operations.”

Michael LeVine, an Alaska attorney who filed suit challenging Shell’s air permits as part of the conservation group Oceana, said the brief notice “makes it clear that the company violated the terms of both permits.”

“Shell has proven itself utterly and completely incapable of providing the care that Alaskans and frankly all Americans deserve,” he added, referring to the long list of problems that have befallen the company’s Arctic operations -- most recently, the grounding of the Kulluk during a storm as it set sail off southern Alaska.

“It can’t protect its own crew, our oceans or our clean air. The shortcuts that the company has tried to take, and unfortunately our government has blessed, have come back to haunt the 2012 drilling season,” LeVine said.

The heads of 18 environmental organizations said Thursday that they had sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar calling for a suspension of drilling in the Arctic Ocean. Salazar has ordered an expedited review of Shell’s offshore Arctic operations.

“According to Shell’s supporters, the company developed the best Arctic drilling program ever crafted, but it nevertheless has had severe problems at every stage -- from vessel construction to deployment, drilling operations, and transit,” the letter said. “Suspending Arctic oil and gas activities will provide the time to carefully reassess whether and how offshore drilling in the Arctic Ocean is possible or prudent.”

Friday, January 11, 2013

Killer whales escape as Canada's Hudson Bay ice shifts

BBC News, 10 January 2013

Villagers had planned to rescue the whales with chainsaws and drills

Related Stories

A dozen killer whales trapped under sea ice with only a single breathing hole have reached safety in Canada's Hudson Bay, local villagers have reported.

The winds shifted overnight, pushing floating ice away from the coast and opening the water, Inukjuak village leader Tommy Palliser said.

The whales had been jockeying for space to breathe through a gap in the ice.

They were spotted by a hunter on Tuesday, the day after residents say the bay froze.

Since then, two hunters reported the water had opened around the area where the whales were seen surfacing for air, Mr Palliser said.

"They confirmed that the whales were no longer there and there was a lot of open water," the Inukjuak leader said.

"That's good news for the whales," he added.

Many villagers made the one-hour snowmobile ride on Tuesday to see the whales.

The Inukjuak public safety officer told CTV on Wednesday the whales should not even be in the area in January.

On Wednesday, the village asked the Canadian government to send icebreaker ships to help free the whales.

But Inukjuak Mayor Peter Inukpuk said the ships were too far away to help.

Villagers had said they would launch their own rescue operation with chainsaw and drills.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Giant squid filmed in Pacific depths: Japan scientists

Google – AFP, Shingo Ito, 7 January 2013

Footage captured by NHK and Discovery Channel in July 2012 shows
 a giant squid in the sea near Chichi island (NHK/NEP/Discovery

TOKYO — Scientists and broadcasters said Monday they have captured footage of an elusive giant squid roaming the depths of the Pacific Ocean, showing it in its natural habitat for the first time ever.

Japan's National Science Museum succeeded in filming the deep-sea creature at a depth of more than half a kilometre (a third of a mile) after teaming up with Japanese public broadcaster NHK and the US Discovery Channel.

The massive invertebrate is the stuff of legend, with sightings of a huge ocean-dwelling beast reported by sailors for centuries.

The creature is thought to be the genesis of the Nordic legend of Kraken, a sea monster believed to have attacked ships in waters off Scandinavia over the last millennium.

Modern-day scientists on their own Moby Dick-style search used a submersible to descend to the dark and cold depths of the northern Pacific Ocean, where at around 630 metres (2,066 feet) they managed to film a three-metre specimen.

Footage captured by NHK and Discovery Channel in July 2012 shows
 a giant squid holding a bait squid in its arms (NHK/NEP/Discovery

After around 100 missions, during which they spent 400 hours in the cramped submarine, the three-man crew tracked the creature from a spot some 15 kilometres (nine miles) east of Chichi island in the north Pacific.

Museum researcher Tsunemi Kubodera said they followed the enormous mollusc to a depth of 900 metres as it swam into the ocean abyss.

NHK showed footage of the silver-coloured creature, which had huge black eyes, as it swam against the current, holding a bait squid in its arms.

For Kubodera it was the culmination of a lengthy quest for the beast.

"It was shining and so beautiful," Kubodera told AFP. "I was so thrilled when I saw it first hand, but I was confident we would because we rigorously researched the areas we might find it, based on past data."

Kubodera said the creature had its two longest arms missing, and estimated it would have been eight metres long if it had been whole. He gave no explanation for its missing arms.

He said it was the first video footage of a live giant squid in its natural habitat -- the depths of the sea where there is little oxygen and the weight of the water above exerts enormous pressure.

Kubodera, a squid specialist, also filmed what he says was the first live video footage of a giant squid in 2006, but only from his boat after it was hooked and brought up to the surface.

"Researchers around the world have tried to film giant squid in their natural habitats, but all attempts were in vain before," Kubodera said.

"With this footage we hope to discover more about the life of the species," he said, adding that he planned to publish his findings soon.

Kubodera said the two successful sightings of the squid -- in 2012 and 2006 -- were both in the same area, some 1,000 kilometres south of Tokyo, suggesting it could be a major habitat for the species.

The giant squid, "Architeuthis" to scientists, is sometimes described as one of the last mysteries of the ocean, being part of a world so hostile to humans that it has been little explored.

Researchers say Architeuthis eats other types of squid and grenadier, a species of fish that lives in the deep ocean. They say it can grow to be longer than 10 metres.

NHK said it and the Discovery Channel are scheduled to air special documentaries on the find later this month.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Giant tuna sells for record $1.8 million in Japan

Google – AFP, 5 January 2013 

Kiyoshi Kimura snapped up the 222-kilo (488-pound) bluefin tuna on
January 5, 2013 for a record $1.8 million (AFP, Yoshikazu Tsuno)

TOKYO — A monster bluefin tuna sold for a record-breaking $1.8 million in the year's first auction at Japan's Tsukiji fish market, nearly three times the previous high set last year.

The 222-kilogram (488-pound) fish, caught off Japan's northern city of Oma, fetched a winning bid of 155.4 million yen (about $1.8 million), said an official at the Tokyo fish market.

The figure dwarfs the previous high of 56.49 million yen paid at last year's inaugural auction at Tsukiji, a huge working market that features on many Tokyo tourist itineraries.

Saturday's winning bidder was Kiyoshi Kimura, president of the company that runs the popular Sushi-Zanmai chain, who also won the auction for last year's record-breaking bluefin.

"I wanted to meet expectations of my customers who said they wanted to eat Japan's best tuna again this year," Kimura was quoted by Jiji Press as saying after the intense pre-dawn bidding.
"With this good tuna, I hope to help cheer up Japan," Kimura said.

Based on the price paid -- around 700,000 yen per kilogram -- a single slice of sushi from the monster fish would cost diners as much as 30,000 yen.

But Kimura plans to sell it at a huge loss, for a more realistic price of up to 398 yen per portion, local media reported.

Bluefin is usually the most expensive fish available at Tsukiji.

Decades of overfishing have seen global tuna stocks crash, leading some Western nations to call for a ban on catching endangered Atlantic bluefin tuna.

Japan consumes three-quarters of the global bluefin catch, a highly prized sushi ingredient known in Japan as "kuro maguro" (black tuna) and dubbed by sushi connoisseurs the "black diamond" because of its scarcity.

A piece of "otoro" or fatty underbelly can cost some 2,000 yen at high-end Tokyo restaurants.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Congress wants probe into Shell's Arctic drilling

The Daily Star, AP, Dan Joling, January 4, 2013

In this image provided by the U.S. Coast Guard the conical drilling unit
 Kulluk sits grounded 40 miles southwest of Kodiak City, Thursday,
 Jan. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard, Petty Officer 2nd Class
Zachary Painter)
ANCHORAGE, Alaska: Members of Congress are calling for an investigation of Royal Dutch Shell PLC's Arctic offshore drilling operations as salvagers looked for a way to retrieve a company drill ship that ran aground off an Alaska island during a fierce year-end storm.

Environmentalists for years have said conditions are too harsh and the stakes too high to allow industrial development in the Arctic, where drilling sites are 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) or more from the closest U.S. Coast Guard base.

The House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition on Thursday called on the Interior Department and the Coast Guard to jointly investigate the New Year's Eve grounding of the Shell drilling vessel Kulluk on a remote Gulf of Alaska island, and a previous incident connected to Arctic offshore drilling operations in 2012.

"The recent grounding of Shell's Kulluk oil rig amplifies the risks of drilling in the Arctic," the coalition of Democrats said in a joint statement. "This is the latest in a series of alarming blunders, including the near-grounding of another of Shell's Arctic drilling rigs, the 47-year-old Noble Discoverer, in Dutch Harbor and the failure of its blowout containment dome, the Arctic Challenger, in lake-like conditions."

The coalition believes these "serious incidents" warrant thorough investigation, the statement said.

Shell Alaska spokesman Curtis Smith said in an email that the company is in full support of, and is providing resources for, the investigation of the grounding by the Unified Incident Command, made up of federal, state and company representatives. Smith said the findings will be available to the public.

Shell incident commander Sean Churchfield said at an Anchorage news conference later Thursday that two more salvage crews had boarded the vessel and found damage to emergency and service generators, and to the Kulluk's upper deck.

The vessel is upright and stable, and the Coast Guard has said there is no indication of a fuel leak.

"Findings include some wave damage to the top sides of the vessel, and a number of watertight hatches have been breached, causing water damage inside," Churchfield said. The team has secured some of the open hatches, he said.

Damage to the generators means salvagers may have to bring external generators on board or work without power, Churchfield said. He confirmed salvagers heard "breathing" from a vent but said they couldn't immediately determine whether it was a breech or natural venting.

Salvage is in the assessment stage, Churchfield noted, and options are being developed. He wouldn't speculate on whether the Kulluk is seaworthy or when it might be moved.

An emergency towing system was deposited on deck, and spill response equipment has been staged.

"I want to reiterate there is no limitation on resources, personnel or equipment being deployed as part of the response and recovery activities," Churchfield said.

Coast Guard Capt. Paul Mehler said the top concern remains the safety of responders working in what continues to be hazardous flying and marine conditions.

The Kulluk is a non-propelled, 266-foot (81-meter) diameter barge with a reinforced funnel-shaped hull designed to operate in ice. It is carrying more than 140,000 gallons (530,000 liters) of diesel and about 12,000 gallons (45,400 liters) of lube oil and hydraulic fluid. Centered on the vessel is a 160-foot (50 foot) derrick. It drilled during the short open-water season in the Beaufort Sea.

A 360-foot (110-meter) anchor handler, the Aiviq, was towing the Kulluk from Dutch Harbor to Seattle last week for maintenance and upgrades when the tow line snapped south of Kodiak. Lines were reattached at least four times but could not be maintained. A lone tugboat still attached Monday night in a vicious storm couldn't control the vessel and cut it loose as it neared land.

After the grounding, critics quickly asserted it has foreshadowed what will happen north of the Bering Strait if drilling is allowed.

Two national organizations kept up the drumbeat Thursday by calling for a halt to all permitting for Arctic offshore drilling in the wake of the grounding.

"This string of mishaps by Shell makes it crystal clear that we are not ready to drill in the Arctic," said Chuck Clusen of the Natural Resources Defense Council. "Shell is not Arctic-ready. We have lost all faith in Shell, and they certainly don't have any credibility left."

Lois Epstein, a civil engineer who works for The Wilderness Society in Anchorage, said Shell has made troubling, non-precautionary decisions that put workers and the Coast Guard at risk.

"These ongoing technical and decision-making problems and their enormous associated costs and risks taken by our military personnel once there were problems should lead the federal government to reassess its previous permitting decisions regarding Shell," Epstein said.

In the short term, she said, damage to the Kulluk may prevent it from being ready for the 2013 open water season. Besides drilling in the Beaufort, the barge was supposed to be on hand for drilling a relief well if Shell's drill vessel in the Chukchi Sea, the Noble Discoverer, experienced a wellhead blowout and was damaged, Epstein said.

Shell has maintained it has taken a heads-up approach to anticipating and reacting to problems.

Shell Alaska spokesman Smith said Wednesday the Kulluk had been towed more than 4,000 miles (6,440 kilometers) and had previously experienced similar storm conditions. Shell staged additional towing vessels along the route in case there were problems, he said.

"We know how to work in regions like this," Smith said. "Having said that, when flawless execution does not happen, you learn from it, and we will."

Transocean agrees to pay $1.4bn oil spill fine

BBC News, 3 January 2013 

Related Stories

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon
disaster killed 11 workers
Transocean, which owned the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, has agreed to a settlement with the US government.

The Swiss-based company will pay $400m (£248m) in criminal penalties and a $1bn civil fine after pleading guilty to violating the Clean Water Act.

The rig, which was leased by BP, exploded on 20 April 2010, killing 11 workers.

The oil spill damaged the Gulf of Mexico coast causing one of the biggest environmental disasters in US history.

In November, BP agreed a settlement with the US government worth $4.5bn, including a $1.26bn criminal fine.

A report from the US Chemical Safety Board in July 2012 criticised both BP and Transocean for having inadequate safety rules.

The two companies disagreed about who was in charge of interpreting a negative pressure test that could have warned workers of the problems.

Transocean's agreement with the Department of Justice still has to be approved by a federal judge.

As part of the settlement, the company has to make a series of improvements to the safety and emergency responses on its rigs.

"This resolution of criminal allegations and civil claims against Transocean brings us one significant step closer to justice for the human, environmental and economic devastation wrought by the Deepwater Horizon disaster," said US Attorney General Eric Holder.

The $1.4bn will mainly be spent on environmental projects, and research and training to prevent future spills.

In a statement, Transocean said: "These important agreements, which the company believes to be in the best interest of its shareholders and employees, remove much of the uncertainty associated with the accident."

The company plans to pay the fines over the next five years.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Outrage over Hong Kong’s ‘Shark Fin Roottop'

Yahoo – AFP,  January 4, 2013

This photo, taken on January 2, 2013, shows shark fins drying in the sun
 on the roof of a factory building in Hong Kong. Local conservationists
 expressed outrage after images emerged, calling for curbs on the 'barbaric' 
trade. (AFP)

HONG KONG (AFP) - Hong Kong conservationists expressed outrage Thursday after images emerged of a factory rooftop covered in thousands of freshly sliced shark fins, as they called for curbs on the "barbaric" trade.

The southern Chinese city is one of the world's biggest markets for shark fins, which are used to make soup that is an expensive staple at Chinese banquets and viewed by many Asians as a rare delicacy.

Activist Gary Stokes who has visited the site estimated there are 15,000 to 20,000 fins being laid to dry on the rooftop on Hong Kong island ahead of an anticipated surge in demand over Lunar New Year in February this year.

"This is shocking," the Hong Kong coordinator for conservation group Sea Shepherd told AFP, saying it was the first time that he has spotted such a massive hoarding of shark fins in one place in the Asian financial hub.

"This is the most graphic, brutal and barbaric part of the industry -- the element of chopping a shark's fin off and throwing it back into the water is horrific and inhumane," he added.

Stokes believed the large amount of shark fins were destined for China, and that traders moved to dry the shark fins on secluded rooftops instead of sidewalks -- as they have done in the past -- to avoid public anger.

Campaigns against consuming shark fins have gained ground in Hong Kong in recent years, after major hotel chains decided to drop the soup from the menus, and home carrier Cathay Pacific said in September it would stop carrying unsustainable sourced shark products on its cargo flights.

"The demand in Hong Kong is definitely decreasing but unfortunately, the demand in China is growing," Stokes said.

"As long as there is no protection for the sharks, the (demand) will just keep going on and on," he added, urging Hong Kong authorities to ban the trade.

Environmentalists say the sustainable shark fin industry is tiny and most of the products are harvested in a way that threatens scores of shark species deemed vital for healthy oceans.

About 73 million sharks are killed every year, with Hong Kong importing about 10,000 tonnes annually for the past decade, according to environmental group WWF. Most of those fins are then exported to mainland China.

The number of threatened shark species has soared from 15 in 1996 to more than 180 in 2010, mainly due to the growing Chinese demand for fins.

It was not immediately clear who owns the thousands of unprocessed fins on the rooftop, which was unguarded when visited by an AFP journalist Thursday.

A spokeswoman from the government's conservation department told AFP that authorities could not act because the fins were on private property.

"This is a real disaster and it is just a tip of the iceberg," Silvy Pun, the Hong Kong director for US-based Shark Savers said.

She criticised the Hong Kong government for not acting to protect the dwindling shark population, after neighbouring Taiwan banned shark finning this year while China plans to stop serving the soup at official banquets.

"Hong Kong is a major shark fin capital, the government must do something. The government is being very laid-back and trying to avoid confrontation with the shark fin traders," Pun said.

Trade in shark fins is not regulated in Hong Kong except for three species -- basking shark, great white shark and whale shark -- where the trade is restricted under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to which Hong Kong is a signatory.

A kilogram (two pounds) of premium dried fin can fetch up to HK$10,000 ($1,290) in Hong Kong, while a bowl of the soup sells for over HK$1,000.

A fisherman holds the dorsal fin of a hammerhead shark. 
Photograph: Jeff Rotman/Getty Images

Related Articles:

An Ocean of Shark Fins