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Fergusons Marine

Marine Scotland News list - Sun, 2019-08-18 00:01

Programme Board established.

 

Ferguson Marine

Marine Scotland News list - Fri, 2019-08-16 11:20

Shipyard to be taken into public control.

Coring the Scotia on-board the Scotia

Marine Scotland Blog - Fri, 2019-08-16 10:00

Charting a course to the Scanner SAC

It is 0300 in the morning and the MRV Scotia is steaming to the eastern section of the Fladen ground, in the central North Sea. We have received the go-ahead to run a short survey over the giant Scanner and Scotia pockmark complexes. These large conical shaped depressions found occasionally in the North Sea and on the seabed around western Scotland form through the release of gas produced within organic rich sediments or deeper hydrocarbon stores. They represent an important pathway for the cycling of carbon from the seabed to the ocean – sometimes known as ‘blue carbon’. These particular pockmarks are some of the largest within Europe and have been sporadically studied, since being discovered in 1983. But are they still actively releasing gas? This region has been designated by the European Commission as a Special Area of Conservation due to these gas seepage structures, of unknown age, and the presence of rare Methane Derived Authigenic Carbonate (MDAC). Very few marine sites are recognised at this level on the basis of their geological significance.

The ship carefully cruises over the Scanner pockmark at half speed, five knots. Within one of the containers on the hangar deck that serves as our lab, we observe the precise shape of the seabed.  The screen shows live data from the ship’s single-beam echosounder – acoustic reflections from the seabed and within the water column. Typically these include fish, clouds of plankton, turbulence from the ships thrusters, and bubble plumes. The Scanner pockmark looms into view, its profile clearly visible as a pronounced depression on the seabed – but there is no trace of any unusual acoustic signals within the water column, no sign of any gas. As the ship maintains its course north towards Scotia pockmark, over the flat ground of the North Sea, tension grows as I eagerly hope for any signs of activity. The data on the screen moves painfully slowly – each second seemingly longer than the last. Then the depths begin to increase. One hundred and fifty metres, one hundred and fifty one, one hundred and fifty two – this must be Scotia. And there, projecting like an ‘acoustic pillar’ on the seabed, is the clear signature that can only be associated with gas erupting from the seabed. A 50-m high, flame-shaped cone on the echogram, like nothing else we had seen on the cruise, originating from the pockmark. “That’s it. It has to be. It’s gas. It’s still active!” I exclaim. “Are you seeing this?!”, Tom Bradwell, my supervisor, says as he comes smiling into the lab – having just watched the same footage from the bridge. We take a few more phone pictures of the plume and do some celebratory backslapping before the hard work begins.

Image from the ER60 echosounder showing the plume of gas from Scotia

We have been given permission to sample the seabed within the Scotia pockmark, onboard the MRV Scotia, providing we do not disturb any of the rare MDACs. First we lower the CTD on a cable to measure the physical properties of the seawater five metres above the pockmark and collect a sample – to be later analysed for methane content. Then we carefully lower a multi-corer rig with a HD video camera and lights attached. The beaming light slowly descends into the darkness of the sea. Its eerie glow like the lights of captain Nemo’s Nautilus in 20,000 leagues under the sea. Once safely recovered, we excitedly look at the footage. The video shows no MDAC within this locality, and no clear signs of bubbles, but there seem to be unusually strong bottom currents as sediment particles flow hypnotically across the screen. With no signs of precious MDAC, the gravity corer is prepared and dropped in exactly the same location – using the ship’s precise dynamic positioning thrusters to full effect. The gravity corer, a 3-m long metal pipe with a lead weight, weighing over a tonne, collects a sediment core from the deepest part of Scotia pockmark. As it is brought back on deck, I immediately remove the core liner to see what has been collected. The muddy sediment is dense, sticky and yet doesn’t really smell; I would have expected a gas-rich core to smell sulphurous or eggy. We cap the core, measure its length and store it away. The Scotia does a second pass with the echosounder, this time perpendicular to the previous track. The results again show a clear gas flare billowing from the centre of the pockmark. There is no doubt that the Scotia pockmark is actively venting gas! It remains to be seen what the sediment core will show.

The lights of the multi-corer being lowered into the sea

Before the cruise, we knew that these giant pockmarks existed, we had their exact coordinates – and yet tonight’s discovery of active venting feels like a real discovery – real exploratory science. I’m sure that this late-night experience will stay with me, echoing throughout my PhD research and perhaps beyond. It’s this deep sense of exploration and adventure miles out at sea that is pushing me further into my academic research in the search for answers. What is the history and formation mechanism of the giant Scotia pockmark and others like it? How much gas does it produce and what is its fate? And how does it impact life on the seafloor? Answering these questions will shed light on the complex carbon cycling process currently ongoing from seafloor to ocean and atmosphere. Until then, I would like to thank the crew of the MRV Scotia, my colleagues on the ‘Blue Carbon 2019’ cruise and Marine Scotland for making such an endeavour possible.

by Allan Audsley

Further Information:

The post Coring the Scotia on-board the Scotia appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Culture Secretary honoured as Chieftain of the World Pipe Band Championships

Marine Scotland News list - Thu, 2019-08-15 09:51

Pipes and drums still thriving across the generations

Minister visits veterans charity in Aberdeen

Marine Scotland News list - Wed, 2019-08-14 14:29

The Gurkha Centre praised for work with community.

Scottish Government demands assurance over vital EU meetings

Marine Scotland News list - Wed, 2019-08-14 11:20

External Affairs Secretary warns against Scotland’s interests being ignored.

Vacancy: Mechanical Engineer, closing date 16 September

Marine Scotland Blog - Wed, 2019-08-14 10:00

We are currently seeking applications for a Mechanical Engineer within the Directorate for Marine Scotland based in Aberdeen. This is a permanent and pensionable appointment and new entrants will normally start on the minimum of the pay range. Candidates with a disability who meet the essential criteria below will be invited to the assessments.

The Engineering Group would like to employ a B1 Mechanical Engineer in a business critical service area of Marine Scotland Science. This will allow us to continue to deliver the group’s objectives and the support provided to MSS in areas of work including:

  • Management of Marine Protected Area conservation objectives;
  • Fulfil our EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive requirements for Descriptors 1 and 6;
  • Renewables installation and interaction with the marine environment;
  • Commercial fish stock assessments; and
  • Consequences of oil and gas infrastructure decommissioning.
Qualifications Required:

Candidates must hold a Mechanical Engineering qualification or equivalent.

Other qualifications equivalent to these may also be acceptable, if you are in any doubt please contact to discuss.

Please note: If you fail to demonstrate how you meet the minimum qualifications as stated above, your application will be automatically sifted out.

Essential Criteria:
  1. Proven, practical, time-served workshop experience in Mechanical Engineering
  2. Candidates should have proven experience in working effectively within a team of mechanical engineers, with the capacity to work independently in the workshop if required
  3. Demonstrate familiarity with all aspects of a Mechanical Engineering facility, including use of machine tools, welding, fabrication and basic materials technology.
  4. Effective communication at all levels
Further Information:

For further information on this vacancy please download and review the “Person Specification and Further Information for Job Applicants” which you will find below. To apply, you must fully complete and submit an online application via this website before the closing date. To learn more about this opportunity, please contact Neil Collie who can be reached at neil.collie@gov.scot or 0131 244 3669 or Brian Ritchie at brian.ritchie@gov.scot or 0131 244 2866.

If you experience any difficulties accessing our website or completing the online application form, please contact the Resourcing Team on 0131 244 5739 or via recruitment@gov.scot.

Further information for this job:

Person Specification and Further Information for Applicants

The post Vacancy: Mechanical Engineer, closing date 16 September appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Scotland's population

Marine Scotland News list - Wed, 2019-08-14 09:30

The Registrar General’s Annual Review of Demographic Trends. 

Labour Productivity Statistics, 2019 Quarter 1

Marine Scotland News list - Wed, 2019-08-14 09:30

An Official Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Bee disease confirmed in Perthshire

Marine Scotland News list - Tue, 2019-08-13 17:27

American Foulbrood found near Pitlochry.

Vacancy: Offshore Chemical Risk Assessor – closing date 10 September

Marine Scotland Blog - Tue, 2019-08-13 15:00

We are currently seeking applications for an Offshore Chemical Risk Assessor within the Directorate for Marine Scotland based in Aberdeen. This is a 18 month fixed term and pensionable appointment and new entrants will normally start on the minimum of the pay range. Candidates with a disability who meet the essential criteria below will be invited to the assessments.

The post-holder will work within OEEAG at MSS to contribute to the requirements of the SLA. This will be achieved through the provision of recommendations, and the assessment and evaluation of chemical permits relating to offshore oil and gas exploration and production with regards to their physical and chemical impact on the marine environment

To underpin this advice, the post-holder will ensure that the best available information is included in assessment decisions, through maintaining a working knowledge of best practices and technologies developed in the oil and gas sector and by application of appropriate modelling techniques.

The post-holder will need to be able to maintain and develop good working relationships with relevant staff in external organisations, including BEIS, Cefas, and the Oil & Gas Industry and consultancies. There will be a requirement to ensure that the post holder continues to develop their skills and knowledge through understanding the relevant literature and continuous professional development. This will be a varied and interesting post in a highly applied scientific field, which will be suited to someone who has the ability to successfully handle competing priorities.

Qualifications Required:

Applicants must hold a scientific based degree or equivalent

Other qualifications equivalent to these may also be acceptable, if you are in any doubt please contact to discuss.

Please note: If you fail to demonstrate how you meet the minimum qualifications as stated above, your application will be automatically sifted out.

Essential Criteria:
  1. Demonstrable ability to interrogate and assess information provided in applications to identify discrepancies and provide solutions.
  2. The ability to work independently with good organisational skills and the ability to prioritise workload.
  3. Excellent written and oral communication skills, including the ability to explain scientific concepts to varied audiences, maintain good working relationships and proactively support colleagues.
  4. Experience of reviewing and summarising environmental data/information with a good working knowledge of standard scientific computer packages (e.g. Microsoft Office) and spreadsheets.
Further Information:

For further information on this vacancy please download and review the “Person Specification and Further Information for Job Applicants” which you will find below. To apply, you must fully complete and submit an online application via this website before the closing date. To learn more about this opportunity, please contact Margaret McCann who can be reached at Margaret.McCann@gov.scot or 0131 244 2623.

If you experience any difficulties accessing our website or completing the online application form, please contact The Resourcing Team on 0131 244 5739 or via recruitment@gov.scot.

Further information for this job:

The post Vacancy: Offshore Chemical Risk Assessor – closing date 10 September appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Disability benefits applications made easier

Marine Scotland News list - Tue, 2019-08-13 12:28

People able to apply online for first time.

Increased school holiday support

Marine Scotland News list - Tue, 2019-08-13 12:12

Access to healthy food and activities for more children.

Scotia and Carbon

Marine Scotland Blog - Tue, 2019-08-13 10:00

The 1019S Scotia cruise (21–31 July) was a 10 day long oceanographic research cruise focusing on the role of carbon within the marine environment, primarily within the water column and marine sediments. I took part in this cruise in order to gather samples for use in my PhD research project from hot spot fishing grounds around Scotland.

Removing pore water from a core

There has long been research focusing on the influences of bottom trawlers on the biodiversity of seabed communities (e.g. how does trawling change what kind of marine species we can expect to find in an area); however a research gap remains in terms of understanding how long term carbon stores might be influenced. For my PhD research project, I am focusing on how bottom trawling and seabed disturbance might influence the amount of carbon that is stored within marine sediments.

Due to my research interests, I wanted to collect samples from areas which we know are active fishing grounds. The first stop on our cruise for my research was in the North Minch which is an active Nephrops fishing ground. I collected samples from two sites in this area. We deployed a CTD (conductivity, temperature, and depth) profiler, collected a grab sample, and deployed the multicorer. The multicorer was set up to allow for 4 short cores to be collected at a time. Of the multicores collected in the Minch at my sites, one core was sliced up and frozen for analysis back in the lab, while the other was taken into the ship lab where I could then remove the pore water (the water that makes the mud wet) for future analysis.

Multicorer out at the Fladen grounds

The other main area for my research was the Central Fladen fishing grounds out in the middle of the North Sea. Here, I had 4 main research sites – two in the north of the Fladen grounds and two in the south of the grounds. The sample sampling routine was done at these sites as was done in the Minch, with the exception of an extra core for pore water removal at each site.

Now that we are back on dry land, the real work begins! Over the next few months a lot of time will be spent in the labs processing and analysing my samples for my thesis.

 

by Kirsty Black

 

Further Information:

The post Scotia and Carbon appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Doubts over Erasmus+ after EU exit

Marine Scotland News list - Tue, 2019-08-13 10:00

Concern that UK Government could consider international exchange programme for England only.

New healthy food support launches

Marine Scotland News list - Mon, 2019-08-12 09:59

Payment card replaces paper vouchers.

Nephrops on the East Coast

Marine Scotland Blog - Fri, 2019-08-09 10:00

MRV Alba na Mara Programme

 

Survey 1319A

Duration: 8-24 August 2019

 

Objectives:

  • To obtain estimates of the distribution and abundance of Nephrops burrows in the Firth of Forth and the Moray Firth using underwater camera.
  • To use the TV footage to record the occurrence of other benthic fauna and evidence of commercial trawling activity.
  • To collect trawl caught samples of Nephrops for comparison of reproductive condition and morphometrics in each of the different survey areas.
  • If time permits, deployments of the sledge followed by the drop frame will be carried out on the same ground to compare Nephrops burrow density estimates obtained by using the two different methods.

 

Procedure: 

Where possible, a random stratified approach will be adopted to investigate Nephrops burrow density in different regions of the study areas.  A list of proposed stations for the survey will be made available to the ship prior to sailing.

 

  1. TV Observations: At each station a video camera mounted on the TV sledge will be towed across the seabed, into the tide and for approximately ten minutes at approximately one knot.  Nephrops burrow abundance, other benthic fauna and signs of anthropogenic activity will be recorded on to DVD.  Distance traveled by the sledge, the depth at which the sledge is at and camera height from the seabed will be monitored and recorded automatically.
  2. Trawling: Fishing trawls of approximately 60 minutes duration will be made within each sediment type and within each survey area.  A range of biological and morphometric data will be collected on Nephrops caught.
  3. Drop Frame: The drop frame will be used where conditions are not suitable for using the TV sledge, recording similar data as to that of the TV sledge.
  4. Comparative work: Following on from work carried on previous surveys, on known Nephrops grounds the sledge will be towed along parallel tracks approximately 200 m in length (ten minutes towing time) and 100 m apart.  Video footage and all observed data will be recorded as usual.  Following this, the drop frame will then be drifted across the same area at 90o to the sledge tracks.  The frequency of this operation will depend on the weather and available time.

 

General:

TV work will normally take place during daylight hours.

 

There will be a requirement for trawling to take place in the evening.  On days where trawling will take place, work patterns will be arranged so not to exceed WTR recommendations.

 

It is proposed that work will initially commence in the Moray Firth and then the Firth of Forth.

The exact date of the half landing will be weather, location and work dependent.

 

Further Information:

The post Nephrops on the East Coast appeared first on Marine Scotland.

Independent review of Coatbridge school campus

Marine Scotland News list - Fri, 2019-08-09 10:00

Report finds no link between school and ill health.

 

Action on NHS pension plans

Marine Scotland News list - Thu, 2019-08-08 19:35

Urgent review of pension tax legislation welcomed.

Action to address climate emergency

Marine Scotland News list - Wed, 2019-08-07 14:16

New measures announced as Cabinet meets in Stirling.

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