USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) Underway in Japanese Waters Immediately Prior to Melon Headed Whale Stranding


By Kirsten Massebeau

150 melon headed whales washed up onto the shores of of Ibaraki, Japan April 10, 2015 (Japan time). Local residents and officials worked tirelessly to help the melon headed whales but sadly only three were eventually re-floated. These gregarious, and highly intelligent whales live in tight social communities, and are deep divers very susceptible to sonar and seismic testing. Each day strandings are increasing worldwide as the Navy, and Oil and Gas Corporations plunder the ocean with sound in warfare games, and in search of oil and gas pockets.

It is of no surprise to opponents of sonar and seismic testing that this tragic incident would take place. Immediately prior to the stranding the US Navy was roaming the Pacific Ocean U.S. 7th Fleet AOR in Japanese waters.

The Navy openly states, the USS Bonhomme Richard LHD 6 was “Underway” in the first weeks of April. While they will release some locations of their movements, their actions remain “top secret” because of “security”. The LHD 6 is not just one ship but a component of a “fleet” of destroyers, helicopters, and submarines, that move at high speeds emitting sonar, underwater charges, marine fire and many other activities that, “harass” and kill cetaceans. Deep divers like the melon headed whales can suddenly lose control of their ability to pressurize their bodies at deep depths due to the intensified ping of warships, sonar, sonar buoys, and underwater charges.

With the addition of the USS Green Bay to the LDH 6 Bonhomme Richard fleet the US Navy is more ready, and more deadly than ever before in the Pacific.

Armed with sonar, playing war-games, another Naval exercise whose exact locations will forever be undisclosed correlates with a mass stranding.

“Although the exact cause of dolphin stranding is not yet known, scientists had earlier suggested that low- and mid-frequency sonar used by military ships might be interfering with the mammals’ echo-location system, disorienting them and hindering their ability to navigate”.

Atlantic Seismic Survey Promises Death and Devastation for Dolphins,Whales, and other Sea Life


By Kirsten Massebeau

FIGURE 1. Location of the proposed seismic surveys and OBH/S instruments at the proposed study site in the northeast Atlantic Ocean during  June–July 2013, and marine protected areas in Spain.

FIGURE 1. Location of the proposed seismic surveys and OBH/S instruments at the proposed study site in the northeast Atlantic Ocean during
June–July 2013, and marine protected areas in Spain.

The month of June thru July 12, 2013 promises death and destruction for dolphins, whales, and all the sea life in the Northeastern Atlantic ocean as a seismic survey takes place in a marine protected area. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (L-DE) are planning to do a seismic survey with funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation to search for gas and oil deposits. This planned high energy seismic survey will take place  in International waters in and within the exclusive zone (EEZ) of Spain in water depths greater than 3000 meters or approximately 1 and 3/4 miles under the surface. The Marcus G. Langeth will be towing a 18 gun array of 160-190 Db of deadly sound. The intervals between blasts would be 15 seconds for 39 days without stopping. “Seismic airguns are used to find oil and gas deep underneath the ocean floor. Airguns are so loud that they disturb, injure or kill marine life, harm commercial fisheries, and disrupt coastal economies. These dynamite-like blasts—which are repeated every ten seconds, 24 hours a day, for days and weeks at a time—are 100,000 times more intense than a jet engine.  Seismic airgun testing currently being proposed in the Atlantic will injure 138,500 whales and dolphins and disturb millions more, according to government estimates”.

Blue Voice was on the scene as 2800 dolphins continued to wash up on the beaches of North Peru

Blue Voice was on the scene as 2800 dolphins continued to wash up on the beaches of North Peru

Every day more strandings and cetacean deaths are linked to seismic testing and sonar. In 2012 the deaths of 1000’s of dolphins off the coast of Peru was linked to acoustic trauma:

“The marine veterinarian, Carlos Yaipen-Llanos, who is president of the conservation group Orca Peru, said in an interview that necropsies that he and his colleagues performed on three separate expeditions indicated that the dolphins examined were bleeding in their middle ears and had suffered fractures there. They also had gas in their solid internal organs and severe acute pulmonary emphysema, symptoms consistent with death from decompression sickness — that is, the bends, he said.

“The animals died from decompression sickness caused by acoustic trauma,” he said” (source)

How a seismic test works

How a seismic test works

Air gun before and after discharge.  By Ocean Conservation Research


By Ocean Conservation Research

Listen to the sound of a seismic survey. Try to this explosion repeating every 15 seconds for over a month. Remember this survey has an 18 air gun array!

What can you do? Sign the petition created by Ted Danson and be a voice for dolphins, whales and all ocean life. 

Next Post


By Ed Johnson
Again a whale death in a rather limited area being impacted by seismic testing . Strand No More has once again delineated the time and exact locations of three different testing vessels that could have been responsible. Great science great read.

Arctic Faces Acoustic Double Whammy


Arctic Bowhead Whale By Life of The Sea

The remote Arctic Beaufort Sea, Simpson Lagoon, and Chukchi Sea are bracing themselves as Shell Oil, and possibly BP power towards those pristine waters in search of oil. If BP is awarded this permit both Shell Oil and BP will be doing seismic surveys during the same period in the Beaufort Sea for and estimated 50 days. Two of BP’s  ships will be firing air guns 24 hours 24 a day at dB levels of  >160dB to 230dB  flooding the shallow Simpson Lagoon and Barrier Islands with sound for several months Source.

Since the beginning of 2012, 3000 dolphins have washed ashore on Peruvian coastlines, “One theory is that powerful sound caused by oil exploration ships could have resulted in internal damage for the mammals, Carlos Yaipen Llanos, science director of the marine mammal rescue group Organización Científica para Conservación de Animales Acuáticos (ORCA), told the Peruvian news” source. Follow this link to see pictures of dolphin tissue samples taken and analyzed by Dr. Carlos Yaipen and released by BlueVoice.org.

Shell Oil has already received their Letter of Authorization (LOA) to begin oil exploration activities in the Beaufort Sea, Camden Bay and the Chukchi Sea:”The authorization for taking by harassment is limited to the following acoustic sources(or sources with comparable frequency and intensity) and from the following activities”:

This Authorization is valid from July 1,2012, through October 31, 2012. Camden Bay, Beaufort Sea
(a). 8-airgun array with a total discharge volume of 760 in3
(b). continuous drill-ship sounds during active drilling operations;
(c). vessel sounds generated during active ice management or ice-breaking; source.

This Authorization is valid from July 1,2012, through October 31, 2012. Camden Bay, Beaufort Sea
(a). 8-airgun array with a total discharge volume of760 in3
(b). continuous drill-ship sounds during active drilling operations;
(c). vessel sounds generated during active ice management or ice-breaking; (d).aircraft associated with marine mammal monitoring and support operations. source.

Simpson Lake Located in the Beaufort Sea

“BP Exploration (Alaska), Inc. (BPXA) proposes to conduct a 3D ocean bottom cable (OBC) seismic survey in the Simpson Lagoon area, Beaufort Sea, for an estimated 50 days of work during the open water period of approximately 1 July to 15 October 2012”source BP plans to use three seismic ships that will carry a total of 40 air guns some of which will  fire simultaneously for 24 hours a day. “Again, the advantage of source vessels alternating shots is that more data can be acquired in shorter time. Seismic data acquisition is a 24 hour per day operation”source.

Seismic Survey

Although Seismic Testing is often presented as benign just seeing and hearing the underwater explosions one can only imagine the damage that is caused at every level of ocean life. The ships are using 40 air-guns and more. The guns are firing the air guns simultaneously so the explosions are never ending for the 50 days of seismic tesing. Here is a video of a visual video of an airgun firing video. Here is an acoustic recording of a single underwater airgun firing recovering then firing again: listen now.

As the evidence supporting horrific devastation to the oceans and marine life due to seismic testing continues to compile surely the federal government can spare the Arctic region where so little is known about the ocean life. This is a place where commercial fishing is not allowed, Home to bowhead, Beluga and gray whales this is an area so sensitive that no commercial fishing has been allowed under National Marine Fisheries Ruling established in 2009 source.

Arctic Bowhead Whales Mother and Calve

What can you do? Send NOAA/NMFS an email asking  not to award BP the permit for a seismic survey in the Beaufort Ocean. Comments and information must be received no later than May 31, 2012. Comments should be addressed to: Tammy Adams, Acting Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service at ITP.guan@noaa.gov or 1315 East-WestHighway, Silver Spring, MD 20910. The mailbox address for providing email comments is  source.

B P Makes Bid for Arctic Oil


By Kirsten Massebeau

BP's Proposed Area for Seismic Testing
BP is right on the heels of Shell Oil in the race for oil in the Fragile Arctic region. Shell  has been given permits to begin seismic testing and exploration drilling in the Chukchi Sea and the Beaufort Sea both to begin on July 1,2012, through October 31, 2012. British Petroleum (BP) is also requesting a permit to begin a seismic survey in the fragile Simpson Lagoon in the Beaufort Sea a small and pristine habitat teeming with life. BP is known for their environmental disaster in the Gulf Coast  that is still suffering from the spill, “Dolphins and fish are dying at distressing rates as oil and dispersants from BP’s 2010 spill lurk in Gulf waters and south Louisiana marshes”source.

If BP is awarded this permit both Shell Oil and BP will be doing seismic surveys during the same period in the Beaufort Sea for and estimated 50 days. Two of BP’s  ships will be firing air guns 24 hours 24 a day at dB levels of  >160dB sometimes creating blasts as high as 230dB  flooding the shallow Simpson Lagoon and Barrier Islands with sound for several months Source.  

What is a seismic survey? “Seismic surveys are used to locate and estimate the size of offshore oil and gas reserves. To carry out such surveys, ships tow multiple air gun arrays that emit thousands of high-decibel explosive impulses to map the sea floor. The auditory assault from seismic surveys has been found to damage or kill fish eggs and larvae and to impair the hearing and health of fish and marine mammals, making them vulnerable to predators and leaving them unable to locate prey or mates or communicate with each other. These disturbances can disrupt and displace important migratory patterns, pushing marine life away from suitable habitats like nurseries and foraging, mating, spawning, and migratory corridors. In addition, seismic surveys have been implicated in whale beaching and stranding incidents” source. “The source level of most air gun arrays can be 200dB or higher. For comparison, a loud rock concert is about 115dB and a jet engine at 100 feet is about 140dB. A typical seismic air gun array pulled by a ship might fire its compressed air bubbles into the ocean five or six times a minute — more than 7,000 shots in 24 hours”source. To see an air-gun underwater explosion click on  this link .

Imagine the damage the air guns will do to a shallow fragile, coastal environment of the Simpson Lagoon, “The survey area in Simpson Lagoon has water depths of 0 to 9 ft between the shore and barrier islands and 3 to 45 ft depths north of the barrier islands”source.

BP plans to use three seismic ships that will carry a total of 40 air guns some of which will  fire simultaneously for 24 hours a day. “Again, the advantage of source vessels alternating shots is that more data can be acquired in shorter time. Seismic data acquisition is a 24 hour per day operation”source.

How many cetaceans and pinniped is BP asking to expose to greater than 160dB of sound? These number are for the Simpson Lagoon area not including the barrier islands. To see incidental take number for barrier islands follow this link. In addition,  what will happen to the algae, phytoplankton, krill, fish, squid and other diverse marine life of this Arctic region? Home to Bow head, Beluga and gray whales this is an area so sensitive that no commercial fishing has been allowed under National Marine Fisheries Ruling established in 2009 source. When so little is known about the sea life and eco-system  in this remote part of the world is it really prudent to open it up to oil and gas exploration? There are few protections for even dolphins and whales protected marine mammals. Marine Mammals Observers (MMO) are stationed two to a ship watching for whales. This crude form of monitoring does not take into account underwater activities of cetaceans and other sea life. There is little known about  Simpson Lagoon and Barrier Islands, “Information on fishes in coastal waters of the Alaskan Arctic is outdated or nonexistent” source.

Is the risk of an oil spill worth it? Isn’t the death of just one whale from air guns or an oil spill too much? Isn’t the death and destruction of the algae, and other nutrients and low level life on the ocean floor too much? Isn’t allowing BP to do seismic testing or any kind of oil exploration in the Arctic Beaufort Sea asking too much?

What can you do? Send NOAA/NMFS an email asking  not to award BP the permit for a seismic survey in the Beaufort Ocean. Comments and information must be received no later than May 31, 2012. Comments should be addressed to: Tammy Adams, Acting Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National MarineFisheries Service ITP.guan@noaa.gov or 1315 East-WestHighway, Silver Spring, MD 20910. The mailbox address for providing email comments is  source.


U.S.Navy Surtass LFA program and the taking of Marine Mammals


By Stephen Hambrick

A Dead Humpback Whale That Stranded

Send all comments on latest permit RIN 0648–XA792 request to use sonar/air guns  to NOAA e mail at ITPCody@noaa.gov.org 

The U.S. Navy has recently applied for a permit authorizing the incidental taking of up to 94 species of Marine Mammals over the next five year period beginning in August 2012 thru August 2017,being incidental to its testing of low frequency sonar under it’s Surtass program.70 Cetaceans and 24 Pinnipeds during what it calls military readiness activities.The Navy has stated that it will not exceed 180 decibels of sonar ping,in prior years and over the last 50 years the acceptable level of decibels was classified at 120 to comply with safety issues regarding Marine Mammals.The Navy’s application for permit with the NMFS states that it will not use this sonar testing within 12 miles of any coastline,and that such tests will not be performed within the Arctic Ocean or Antarctica,or any biologically recognized breeding areas of Marine Mammals.

The Navy will operate these exercises in the Atlantic,Pacific,and Indian Oceans and the Mediterranean Sea.Outlying within the permit application,the Navy states that the probability of taking Marine Mammals through levl “A” harassment is at 0.001 percent,yet because it is not scientifically predicted to attain a rating of 0 percent,that is the basis for requesting level “A”.

Whales and other Marine Mammals rely exclusively on hearing for their basic life functions.Such as orientation and communication,feeding,finding pod members and calfs,how they mate with each other,and how they navigate the seas.

When sounds emit making more noise than a jet aircraft fills their ears,the results can be tragic and deadly.Whether the sounds emit from air guns used for oil exploration or from ships and submarines emitting sonar,Man made sounds can drown out noises Marine Mammals rely upon for their very survival,causing injury and death.At 140 decibel sound ping as far away as 300 miles from it’s source,The intensity impact on Marine Mammals has been shown to be 100 times the recorded statistics to alter the behavior of Marine Mammals.The current Navy application for permit requests NMFS to approve up to 180 decibels ping. ” There is no question and has been scientifically proven,that sonar injuries kill whales and dolphins” stated Senior Attorney Joel Reynolds of the National Resource Defense Council. Many of the Whales affected by the testing have suffered Bleeding of the brain,ears,and other tissues and have caused large bubbles within their organs.Scientists also believe that mid frequency sonar blasts drive certain whales to change diving patterns that are harmful to their bodies,further causing severe injury or death.Naval sonar has also proven to be detrimental to feeding and other behaviors causing whales and dolphins to panic and flee their habitat. The U.S. Navy has admitted that it estimates increased sonar training will significantly harm Marine Mammals more than 10 million times during a five year period.

In 2006,after a Surtass exercise,more than 200 whales stranded on Hawaii beaches,and in 2000,when the Navy conducted testing in the Bahamas,13 whales from 4 separate species were stranded on beaches,The Navy denied responsibility initially,But a federal investigation revealed that Navy mid frequency sonar was indeed the cause of this stranding.Directly following testing in this area,the populace of the Cuvier’s beaked whale nearly disappeared from their habitat,which led scientists to believe they had either fled or died at sea as a result.Similar mass strandings have also occurred in the Canary Islands,Greece,Madeira,U.S. Virgin Islands and Hawaii as a result of low frequency sonar testing by the U.S.Navy.And also as a direct result,many calfs have been separated from their Mothers.

In 1998 The SRS conducted research off Hawaii under a permit issued by NMFS, Numerous reports from whale watch captains and observers stated that Humpback whales fled the area during testing,And it was also reported that a Humpback whale calf,and dolphin calf appeared and were separated from their mothers.A seperated Melon Whale calf also appeared abandoned during this testing.When this program originated,the Navy conducted secret testing of LFAS known to be harmful to cetaceans,without filing for permits and violating environmental protection laws.When the program caught the attention of the general public and the national resource defense council,the Navy only then conducted minimum research studies and only concentrated on a few of the effects that sonar had on a limited number of oceanic species. When adverse effects became public knowledge,which led to litigation and a congressional call to suspend the program,the Navy suspended funding further research.The NMFS and the Navy cooperated with Dr.Peter Tyack of the Woods -Hole Oceanographic institute,to disguise the nature of the program, and permitted research to be conducted outside of U.S.territorial waters,and limited mandatory reports of such research to once a year,ensuring that individuals and organizations opposing the program would not have the benefit of reviewing such reports.LFAS Surtass started off as an unlawful and classified secret program,and the Woods-Hole Oceanographic Institute collaborated with the Navy and NMFS in keeping the program at a secret level to avoid further public exposure.

Latest proposed permit:

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration
RIN 0648–XA792
Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to
Specified Activities; Physical
Oceanographic Studies in the
Southwest Indian Ocean,January through February, 2012

Take Action!

Comments must be submitted by Dec. 21, 2011

You may voice your objections and enter your commentary,and or request a public hearing be conducted before the granting of said permit.The permit application and access to public commentary please write to : P.Michael Payne -Chief of permits,conservation and education division-National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West highway,Silver Spring,Maryland.20910-3225 or e mail at ITPCody@noaa.gov.org