naturalfeature:baltic sea

  • Le problème de la contamination des pétroles de l’Oural exportés via l’oléoduc Droujba (Druzhba) n’est toujours pas réglé.

    Russia Dirty Oil Crisis Drags On as Port Loads Tainted Cargo – gCaptain

    Russia’s efforts to resolve an unprecedented oil-contamination crisis suffered a setback as the nation loaded another tainted cargo from a port in the Baltic Sea, days after the government had said the port was clear.

    Traders receiving Urals crude at the Ust-Luga terminal said some oil continues to exceed acceptable levels of organic chloride, the contaminant blamed for major disruption to the nation’s exports since last month. At least one tainted cargo has been loaded onto a tanker since Monday, when Russia’s Energy Ministry said all shipments there were clean, according to the traders, who asked not to be identified because the information is confidential.

    A spokesman for Transneft, which operates the country’s pipeline network, declined to comment. Russia’s Energy Ministry didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.

  • The Giant Soviet Pipeline System That’s Full of Tainted Crude - Bloomberg

    A section of the Druzhba crude oil pipeline near Styri, Ukraine.
    Photographer: John Guillemin/Bloomberg

    Russia’s giant Soviet-era oil pipeline is a vital piece of Europe’s energy infrastructure, carrying crude to refineries across the region. This week it’s been hit by probably the biggest crisis in its 55-year history: both branches of the #Druzhba pipeline have been closed due to the presence of contaminated crude oil that can cause serious damage to refineries.

    What is the Druzhba pipeline?
    The Druzhba, or Friendship, pipeline system is a Soviet-era behemoth, originally designed to carry crude from the USSR to allied countries in eastern Europe. The line starts at Almetyevsk in the Republic of Tatarstan, a town that was founded in 1953 as an oil-processing center for the giant Romashkino oil field, then the mainstay of the Soviet oil industry. It’s now also a major pipeline junction, where conduits from the Volga-Urals region, West Siberia and the Caspian Sea meet.

    The Druzhba pipeline carries oil westwards to Mozyr in Belarus, where it splits into two branches. One continues westwards across Poland and into Germany. It delivers crude to refineries at Plock and Gdansk in Poland and Schwedt and Leuna in Germany. A southern branch crosses Ukraine to Uzhgorod on the border with the Slovak Republic, where it again splits. One leg delivers crude to the Szazhalombatta refinery near Budapest in Hungary. The other supplies refineries in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The total length of the line, including all its branches, is around 5,500 kilometers (3,420 miles).

    Construction of the system began in 1960 and the line was put into operation in October 1964.

    A spur line from Unecha in Russia that crossed Belarus to an export terminal on the Baltic Sea at Ventspils in Latvia was completed in 1968, but was closed in 2002 after Russia halted crude exports through Latvia, following the construction of its own Baltic export terminal at Primorsk. A new spur line from Unecha, bypassing Belarus to a second Russian Baltic export terminal at Ust-Luga, came into operation in March 2012.

    The importance of Druzhba
    Druzhba can carry between 1.2 million and 1.4 million barrels of crude a day, according to the International Association of Oil Transporters, with the possibility of boosting that to around 2 million barrels. It forms a vital source of supply for the refineries along its route in Poland, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

    During 2018, the Druzhba network was used to deliver about 1 million barrels a day of Russian crude to those five countries, with a further 500,000 barrels a day pumped to Ust-Luga for export by sea.

    While most of the refineries along its length can source at least some of their crude requirements via other routes, Druzhba has provided most of their feedstock and most were designed specifically to process the Russian Urals crude delivered through the pipeline.

    The #contamination
    Europe’s oil refineries stopped accepting piped deliveries of Urals crude from Russia this week after flows were found to be contaminated with abnormally high levels of organic chlorides that, when refined, become hydrochloric acid that can damage the plants.

    The issue was first raised by Belarus and has also affected supplies from the Russian port of Ust-Luga, according to a person familiar with the matter.

    There are no signs that shipments from Novorossiysk or Primorsk, two other Russian tanker-loading facilities, have been disrupted.

    Russia’s government has blamed a private storage terminal in the center of the country for the problem. It will now take two weeks to ensure uncontaminated crude is flowing along the entire length of the pipeline.

    The millions of barrels tainted crude will need to blended with larger quantities of unblemished oil to get the impurities down to safe levels, a task that might some weeks or months.

    Organic chlorides are generally not present in crude oils, but are used to dissolve wax and during cleaning operations at production sites, pipelines or tanks.

    #drujba #pipelines #oléoducs

  • Don’t Believe the Russian Hype – Foreign Policy

    Moscow’s missile capabilities in the Baltic Sea region are not nearly as dangerous as they seem.
    Drawing on expertise at the Swedish Defense Research Agency, we have published a report—“Bursting the Bubble”—that takes a closer look at Russia’s A2/AD capabilities in the Baltic Sea Region. We find that Russia’s long-range missile systems, though capable, fall notably short of the Kremlin’s maximalist claims. The technological limitations of the Russian missile systems, vulnerabilities apparent from their field operations in Syria, and the range of possible countermeasures available to NATO, suggest that Russia’s no-go “bubbles” are smaller than claimed, more penetrable, and arguably also burstable.

    Claims of far-reaching Russian A2/AD capabilities are mainly based on three systems: the S-400, the Bastion anti-ship system, and the Iskander ballistic missile. But early analyses have often equated maximum range with effective range, underestimated the inherent problems of hitting moving targets at large distances, and ignored a wide range of possible countermeasures. Together, this has led to the widespread overestimation Russia’s missile capabilities.
    Finally, it is vital that nonspecialist security professionals critically examine Russian A2/AD capabilities. Exposed to a flurry of announcements in recent years about new Russian #Wunderwaffen, no one should accept Russia’s stated capabilities at face value at a time when Moscow has every incentive to exaggerate, both to gain political influence and boost export sales.

    • Bursting the Bubble? Russian A2/AD in the Baltic Sea Region: Capabilities, Countermeasures, and Implications.

      Rapportsammanfattning - Totalförsvarets forskningsinstitut - FOI

      States with the ability to use a combination of sensors and long-range missiles to prevent adversaries from operating in an exclusion zone, or “bubble”, adjacent to their territory are said to possess anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) capabilities. This study examines Russia’s A2/AD systems and their implications for the Baltic Sea region. Much has in recent years been made of Russia’s new capabilities and the impact they might have on the ability of NATO member states to reinforce or defend the vulnerable Baltic states in case of crisis or war. On closer inspection, however, Russia’s capabilities are not quite as daunting, especially if potential countermeasures are factored in. In particular, surface-to-air missile systems currently create much smaller A2/AD bubbles than is often assumed and a number of countermeasures are possible. Experiences from Syria also raise questions about the actual capabilities of such systems in combat, relative to their nominal capabilities.

      Anti-ship and anti-land systems pose a greater threat but, here too, countermeasures are available. The dynamics of this strategic vortex affect Sweden directly and indirectly. This is one of the reasons why Sweden’s security is increasingly interlocked with that of its neighbours and of the transatlantic alliance.

  • Poland defies green activists, EU with Baltic canal project | Reuters

    A general view of the harvested forest on Vistula Spit near Skowronki, Poland February 20, 2019.
    Agencja Gazeta/Michal Ryniak via REUTERS

    Poland is pressing ahead with plans to dig a waterway across a narrow strip of land that separates its main eastern coastline from the Baltic Sea despite concerns among activists and in the European Union that it could damage the environment.

    The #Vistula_Spit is a heavily wooded sandbank 55 km (34 miles) long but less than 2 km wide which encloses a coastal lagoon. Poland shares both the lagoon and the spit with the neighboring Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.

    Currently, the only access to the lagoon from the Baltic Sea is a channel at the Russian end of the spit. Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS), deeply distrustful of Russia, says a canal is needed for both security and economic reasons.

    Critics say it is a costly vanity project that could become another environment-related flashpoint between Warsaw and Brussels after increased logging in Poland’s Bialowieza Forest led to a ruling by the EU’s top court that it was illegal.

    Defending the project, which is estimated to cost 900 million zlotys ($237 million), Poland’s minister for maritime affairs, Marek Grobarczyk, said: “The first and basic reason for the construction ... is a threat from the east.

    This is the border of the EU, NATO, and above all of Poland, and it cannot really be controlled now because ships can only enter the Vistula Lagoon with Russia’s approval,” he said, adding that work would start in the second half of 2019.

    Russia has deployed advanced nuclear-capable Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad, while Warsaw is lobbying hard to have more NATO troops on its soil, especially since Moscow’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

    However an EU official said on Friday Poland should refrain from building the canal before getting the green light from the European Commission.

    As with the Bialowieza Forest, parts of the Vistula Spit are protected under the EU Natura 2000 program.

  • Our #5g Futures at 5GTechritory — DZone #iot

    Our 5G Futures at 5GTechritoryThe 5G loungeThe countries surrounding the Baltic Sea are renowned for their constant pushes for innovation. From #estonia’s “Government-as-a-service” to Finland and Latvia having some of the fastest Internet speeds in the world, these are nations unafraid to try new ideas. These pushes include the next generation of mobile communication standards, with the first commercial 5G networks launched in Tampere (Finland) and Tallinn (Estonia), years ahead of many other countries.5G is the fifth generation of the mobile communication standards we are currently using. It aims to continue the trends of increased speed and bandwidth, but also to introduce new features to complement our increasingly inter-connected world. These include reduced latency, lower power (...)

    #5g-futures #smart-cities

  • Photos: K-Line Car Carrier Aground Off Sweden – gCaptain

    Photo: Kustbevakningen

    A K-Line car carrier ran aground off Loftahammar, Sweden on Monday morning, causing some hull damage but no pollution has been reported thus far.

    K-Line reported Tuesday that the 139-meter vehicle carrier Makassary Highway, operated by its subsidiary K-Line European Sea Highway Services, ran aground 07:21 on 23 July 2018 during a voyage from Cuxhaven, Germany from Sodertalije, Sweden.

    The company has confirmed that all 18 crew members on board the vessel remain safe. No cargo on board the vessel is damaged, however, some damages to the ship’s hull have been noted.

    Swedish media has reported that one crew member who was determined to be intoxicated has been placed under arrest.

  • Germany starts to build Nord Stream 2

    Germany has started to pour concrete on a Russian gas pipeline that risks dividing the EU and harming its energy security.

    The construction began in Lubmin, on Germany’s Baltic Sea coast, on Thursday (3 May), by laying the foundations for a gas terminal that will receive 55bn cubic metres (bcm) of Russian gas via the Nord Stream 2 pipeline when it goes online in 2020.

    “We are moving within the framework of the planning approval decision,” a spokesman for Gazprom, the Russian firm behind the project, told German press agency DPA.

    “We are confident that we will receive all relevant permits,” the spokesman added.

    #nordstream #gazprom #guerre_du_gaz #russie #allemagne #mer_baltique #énergie

  • European Commission: EU Action on Ship Emissions Helping to Reduce Air Pollution in Ports and Along Coastlines – gCaptain

    Air pollution from shipping has been significantly reduced around European coastlines and ports thanks to the concerted action by the European Union and industry to reduce sulphur emissions from ships, the European Commission said in a report released Monday.

    The report is the first European Commission report on compliance with Directive (EU) 2016/802, more commonly referred to as the Sulphur Directive, which regulates SOx emissions from ships in European waters.

    Since 1 January 2015, the Directive has required all ships operating in designated Sulphur Limit Control Areas (SECAs), such as the North and Baltic Seas, to burn marine fuel with a sulphur content no greater than 0.1%. For ships operating outside of SECAs, the Directive lowers the maximum sulphur content for ships from 3.50% to 0.50% by 1 January 2020.

    The European Report report released Monday shows high compliance by ships, particularly in the North and Baltic Seas SECAs where 93% of ships inspected complied with the Directive. This compliance has lead to a significant reduction in harmful sulphur dioxide concentrations in regions bordering the SECAs, including up to a 60% reduction in Denmark, 50% reduction in the German North Sea, and over 20% in the Rotterdam area, according to the report.

  • Boy unearths legendary Danish king’s trove in Germany | News24

    A 13-year-old boy and an amateur archaeologist have unearthed a “significant” treasure trove in Germany which may have belonged to the legendary Danish king #Harald_Bluetooth who brought Christianity to Denmark.

    Rene Schoen and his student Luca Malaschnitschenko were looking for treasure using metal detectors in January on the northern island of Ruegen [Rügen] when they chanced upon what they initially thought was a worthless piece of aluminium.

    But upon closer inspection, they realised that it was a shimmering piece of silver, German media reported.

    A dig covering 400 square metres (4,300 square feet) that was finally started at the weekend by the regional archaeology service has uncovered a trove believed to be linked to the Danish king, a member of the Jelling dynasty, who reigned from around 958 to 986.

    Braided necklaces, pearls, brooches, a Thor’s hammer, rings and up to 600 chipped coins were found, including more than 100 that date to Bluetooth’s era.

    This trove is the biggest single discovery of Bluetooth coins in the southern Baltic sea region and is therefore of great significance,” lead archaeologist Michael Schirren told national news agency DPA.

    The oldest coin found in the trove is a Damascus dirham dating to 714 while the most recent is a penny dating to 983.

    The find suggests that the treasure may have been buried in the late 980s - also the period when Bluetooth was known to have fled to Pomerania, where he died in 987.

  • Merkel Says Nord Stream 2 Not Possible Without Clarity for Ukraine - The New York Times

    BERLIN — A gas pipeline planned to run from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea cannot go ahead without clarity on Ukraine’s role as a transit route for gas, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday, appearing to harden her stance on the scheme.

    The project, Nord Stream 2, would double the existing Nord Stream pipeline’s annual capacity of 55 billion cubic metres.

    Eastern European and Baltic states fear the pipeline could increase reliance on Russian gas and undermine Ukraine’s role as a gas transit route, which provides valuable revenues to a country hit by a civil war with pro-Russian separatists.

    #gaz #guerre_du_gaz #gazprom #allemagne #russie #ukraine #pologne #europe

  • Statoil Enters Offshore Wind Market in Poland – gCaptain

    Norway’s Statoil has signed an agreement with Polish power company Polenergia to acquire a 50% interest in the two early phase offshore wind development projects in the Polish sector of the Baltic Sea.

    The two projects, Bałtyk Środkowy III (BSIII) and Bałtyk Środkowy II (BSII), have a planned capacity of 1200 MW with the potential to power more than 2 million Polish households.

    Statoil is also entering into a 50/50 joint venture with Polenergia to further mature these projects with Statoil being the Manager for the development, construction and operational phases.

  • THE SOUTH CHINA SEA : - the Mediterranean of Asia, Ellen Wasylina - livre, ebook, epub

    the Mediterranean of Asia
    The geostrategic Maritime Review n°9
    Ellen Wasylina

    The South China Sea is a classic Mediterranean sea-structure with a long history of populations living in the basin and taking advantage of a permanent trading activity interrupted by some dramatic war moments. The Chinese preponderance on the development and the history of the basin has been a permanent element of both equilibrium and dilemma. Political and military tensions are heating up with a sharp increase in commercial relations amongst the regional countries and the great international powers.


    Revues QUEST OF THE ARCTIC, Ellen Wasylina, The geostrategic Maritime Review 7

    The geostrategic Maritime Review n°7
    Ellen Wasylina

    This seventh issue of the Geostrategic Maritime Review comes on the sixth year of activity of the International Geostrategic Maritime Observatory. This publication contains five articles : Arctic Geopolitics as a Major Public Issue : the Reasons Behind a Lack of Awareness ; Harvesting Arctic Authority : The Protection of Arctic Biomarine Resources, Sovereignty and Global Security ; The Case for an International Régime for the Arctic ; 25 years ago : the Odyssey of the Astrolabe and A life in the service of France, of the Pacific, and the Arctic and Antarctica : Michel Rocard (1930-2016), Regions.


    Revues STRATEGIC BALTIC SEA, Ellen Wasylina, The geostrategic Maritime Review 8

    The #geostrategic_Maritime_Review n°8
    Ellen Wasylina

    This issue of the Geostrategic Maritime Review gives the reader some background and depth on the history of the Baltic Sea region. The studied topics are the geostrategic situation, the geopolitical and geoeconomic stakes of logistic hubs in the Baltic states, and finally, the digitalization and modernization of European transportation and the roles that the US, Russia and the EU play together to ensure national, economic and energy security in Eurasia.

    #arctique #mer_de_chine_méridonale #pays_baltes #mer_baltique #bibliographie #

  • DNA from Viking cod bones suggests 1,000 years of European fish trade | University of Cambridge

    Norway is famed for its cod. Catches from the Arctic stock that spawn each year off its northern coast are exported across Europe for staple dishes from British fish and chips to Spanish bacalao stew.

    Now, a new study published today in the journal PNAS suggests that some form of this pan-European trade in Norwegian cod may have been taking place for 1,000 years.

    Latest research from the universities of Cambridge and Oslo, and the Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology in Schleswig, used ancient DNA extracted from the remnants of Viking-age fish suppers.

    The study analysed five cod bones dating from between 800 and 1066 AD found in the mud of the former wharves of #Haithabu, an early medieval trading port on the Baltic. Haithabu is now a heritage site in modern Germany, but at the time was ruled by the King of the Danes. 

    The DNA from these cod bones contained genetic signatures seen in the Arctic stock that swim off the coast of Lofoten: the northern archipelago still a centre for Norway’s fishing industry. 

    Researchers say the findings show that supplies of ‘stockfish’ – an ancient dried cod dish popular to this day – were transported over a thousand miles from northern Norway to the Baltic Sea during the Viking era.

    Prior to the latest study, there was no archaeological or historical proof of a European stockfish trade before the 12th century.

    #Hedeby Commerce de la #morue #Vikings

    • Ancient DNA reveals the Arctic origin of Viking Age cod from Haithabu, Germany

      Knowledge of the range and chronology of historic trade and long-distance transport of natural resources is essential for determining the impacts of past human activities on marine environments. However, the specific biological sources of imported fauna are often difficult to identify, in particular if species have a wide spatial distribution and lack clear osteological or isotopic differentiation between populations. Here, we report that ancient fish-bone remains, despite being porous, brittle, and light, provide an excellent source of endogenous DNA (15–46%) of sufficient quality for whole-genome reconstruction. By comparing ancient sequence data to that of modern specimens, we determine the biological origin of 15 Viking Age (800–1066 CE) and subsequent medieval (1066–1280 CE) Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) specimens from excavation sites in Germany, Norway, and the United Kingdom. Archaeological context indicates that one of these sites was a fishing settlement for the procurement of local catches, whereas the other localities were centers of trade. Fish from the trade sites show a mixed ancestry and are statistically differentiated from local fish populations. Moreover, Viking Age samples from Haithabu, Germany, are traced back to the North East Arctic Atlantic cod population that has supported the Lofoten fisheries of Norway for centuries. Our results resolve a long-standing controversial hypothesis and indicate that the marine resources of the North Atlantic Ocean were used to sustain an international demand for protein as far back as the Viking Age.

  • Lithuanian Military Gathers Data on Russian-Chinese Naval Drills for NATO - Sputnik International

    arrivée du DDG-174 Hefei, type 052D à Baltiisk
    © Sputnik/ Igor Zarembo

    Lithuania has been closely following Russian-Chinese naval exercises Naval Interaction — 2017 in the Baltic Sea and has been informing NATO on its progress, Lithuanian Deputy Defense Minister Vytautas Umbrasas said Tuesday.

    The Russian-Chinese joint naval drills were first held in 2012. Joint drills Naval Interaction — 2017 are the first naval maneuvers in the Baltic sea in the history of cooperation between the two fleets. The active phase of the exercises is scheduled for July 25-27, during which the fleets of the two countries will practice joint anti-sabotage, air and anti-ship defense.

  • Indian Punchline - Reflections on foreign affairs
    By M K Bhadrakuma – July 23, 2017

    No sooner than the annual Malabar 2017 exercise (July 14-17) ended in Bay of Bengal, another naval exercise has begun with equally profound geopolitical implications for India – Joint Sea 2017, Russia’s week-long joint drills with China (July 21-26) in the Baltic Sea. Each highlights in its own way the realignments under way in the Asia-Pacific and Eurasia. India is a participant in one, more than a curious observer in the other.
    The four-day Malabar-2017 (US, India and Japan) had a distinct anti-China flavor. India downplayed that aspect, while Japan hyped it up and the US embellished the optic. The Japanese ambassador to India Kenji Hiramatsu penned a rare opinion piece, euphorically hailing Malabar-17 as the harbinger of an Asian security alliance.
    On the other hand, Joint Sea 2017 is being watched closely by Western powers and reportedly “raised alarm in Washington” (Telegraph). Interestingly, it comes in two parts. The Baltic exercise will be followed by a second Russia-China naval exercise in September in the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk. Indeed, the Baltics is to Russia’s defence line vis-à-vis NATO what the Sea of Japan is to China’s vis-a-vis the US-Japanese alliance.

  • Germany Is Addicted to Russian Gas - Bloomberg

    Hidden by pine forests near the deserted site of what was once East Germany’s biggest nuclear reactor, two shiny pipelines emerge from the Baltic Sea to mark the spot where Chancellor Angela Merkel is trying to secure the country’s energy future.

    Not far from the Hanseatic town of Greifswald — an area Merkel represents in parliament — the chancellor wants a $10 billion pipeline expansion built to increase the amount of Russian natural gas imported from Siberia, more than 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles) away.

    The project, led by Russia’s state-run Gazprom PJSC, is intended to bolster German confidence that it has enough gas to underpin an unprecedented transition from the coal and nuclear plants, which are being closed, to a future dominated by renewable energy.

    But the plan has opponents, both close to home and further afield.

    People living in the sparsely populated area have filed almost 160 objections. Local approval is still pending and the site also requires removal of two shipwrecks sunk by the Swedish navy in the 18th century. European allies have also objected — worried that the project will deepen Europe’s reliance on supplies from an increasingly antagonistic Russia — and U.S. lawmakers have proposed stiffer sanctions on energy companies that do business with Russia.
    Undeterred, Gazprom is forging ahead. About 37,000 12-meter-long pipes are stored at an industrial site bigger than 20 soccer pitches on the island of Ruegen, waiting to be coated with concrete long before being laid on the seabed at an average depth of 50 meters.


  • Russia beefs up Baltic Fleet amid NATO tensions : reports | Reuters

    Russia is sharply upgrading the firepower of its Baltic Fleet by adding warships armed with long-range cruise missiles to counter NATO’s build-up in the region, Russian media reported on Wednesday.

    There was no official confirmation from Moscow, but the reports will raise tensions in the Baltic, already heightened since Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, and cause particular alarm in Poland and Lithuania which border Russia’s base there.

    The reported deployment comes as NATO is planning its biggest military build-up on Russia’s borders since the Cold War to deter possible Russian aggression.

    Russia’s daily Izvestia newspaper cited a military source as saying that the first two of five ships, the Serpukhov and the Zeleny Dol, had already entered the Baltic Sea and would soon become part of a newly formed division in Kaliningrad, Russia’s European exclave sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania.

    Another source familiar with the situation told the Interfax news agency that the two warships would be joining the Baltic Fleet in the coming days.

    With the appearance of two small missile ships armed with the #Kalibr cruise missiles the Fleet’s potential targeting range will be significantly expanded in the northern European military theater,” the source told Interfax.
    Izvestia said Russia’s Baltic Fleet would probably receive a further three such small warships armed with the same missiles by the end of 2020.

    It said the Baltic Fleet’s coastal defenses would also be beefed up with the Bastion and Bal land-based missile systems. The Bastion is a mobile defense system armed with two anti-ship missiles with a range of up to 300 km (188 miles). The Bal anti-ship missile has a similar range.

  • Germany to spend 1.5 billion euros for more navy ships - navy | World | Reuters

    Germany has agreed to spend 1.5 billion euros to buy five more corvettes for the navy, the navy said on Friday, and Die Welt newspaper quoted lawmakers as citing the need for greater security in the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean.

    Die Welt said lawmakers planned to introduce the funding proposal in parliament in mid-November.

    To meet new security needs in the Baltic Sea, in the Mediterranean Sea, and globally, the coalition plans to buy five new corvettes for 1.5 billion euros for the German Navy,” the paper quoted Social Democrat Johannes Kahrs and Christian Democrat Eckhard Rehberg as saying

  • Up to 80,000 rainbow trout escape into Danish sea | Reuters

    Danish anglers could be in for the fishing trip of their lives in a few days’ time, after a ship crashed into a fish farm and caused up to 80,000 rainbow trout to escape into the open sea.

    The cargo vessel, sailing from the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea to Kolding in Denmark, collided with the fish farm between the Danish islands Funen and Jutland on Tuesday, aquafarming firm Snaptun Fisk told Reuters.

    The trout, weighing about 3 kg (6.6 lb) each, had been due to be slaughtered this week and were worth up to 10 million Danish crowns ($1.5 million), said Tim Petersen, co-owner and director at Snaptun Fisk.

  • Germany’s Schroeder Confirmed as Chair of Nord Stream 2 Director Board

    Former Chancellor of Germany Gerhard Schroeder has been appointed to the top post in the second pipeline consortium Nord Stream 2 AG, the company’s spokesman Jens Mueller confirmed to Sputnik on Wednesday.

    The appointment was made at the end of July, he added.
    The start of the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is planned for 2018. It aims to deliver up to 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Russia to Germany annually via the Baltic Sea. Russian energy giant Gazprom has a shareholder agreement to extend the existing Nord Stream with partner European energy firms.

  • Rise of the Nazi-Grave Robbers

    Talis Esmits was felling trees near his home in Latvia when he received a phone call about two dead Nazi soldiers. The caller, a national guardsman in the Courland Peninsula, a horn of forested land between the capital, Riga, and the Baltic Sea, said that a friend had unearthed the remains while driving his tractor and wasn’t sure what to do. It was a Wednesday in March. Esmits told the man to leave the bones where they were and that he would come pick them up.

    A few days later, Esmits drove a white van rapidly down a country road. A stout 52-year-old, he had dressed for the occasion in golden army boots, a replica World War I hat, and dark-green camouflage. Esmits is the co-founder of a Latvian volunteer group, Legenda, that exhumes the scattered and forgotten bodies of World War II combatants for proper burial. In the van sat his crew of six diggers and a flatulent 150-pound Italian mastiff named Bagram, all of them violently jostling back and forth on the bumpy road while Rebecca Black’s song Friday played on the stereo. Most of the diggers were also dressed in camouflage and wouldn’t have looked out of place in the Latvian army. Toward the rear, Viktors Duks, a professor of screenwriting at Riseba University in Riga, slouched and moaned about a hangover. Further up, Andris Lelis, a 22-year-old militaria seller, cheerfully pointed out battle sites next to the road. “There are still probably lots of bodies in that farmer’s field,” he said.

  • Divers in Sweden sniff out 340-year-old shipwrecked cheese | World news | The Guardian

    Divers exploring a historic royal shipwreck off the south-east coast of Sweden have discovered what they believe is probably a chunk of exceedingly smelly, 340-year-old cheese.

    We’re pretty sure it’s some kind of dairy product, butter or cheese,” said Kalmar county museum’s Lars Einarsson, who is in charge of the dive on the wreck of the #Kronan, a 126-gun warship that sank in 1676.

    It’s like a mixture of yeast and Roquefort, a sort of really ripe, unpasteurised cheese,” Einarsson told local media. He added that, while he was partial to cheeses “whose character lives on in their smell”, this one was “probably not for everyone”.

    The tin in which the pungent mess was found has been sent for lab analysis, Einarsson told Kvällsposten. He said divers found it “pressed into the clay” of the seabed, and that the fall in pressure when it reached the surface had allowed some of the contents to leak out of the threaded lid.

    That’s when the smell hit us,” he said. “I certainly don’t recommend tasting it. It’s a mass of bacteria.

    The malodorous find was unveiled earlier this week along with a number of other discoveries from a two-week exploration of the wreck, including 14 gold coins, a diamond ring and a significant quantity of 17th-century pharmaceuticals.

    The 53-metre (174ft) Kronan, one of the largest warships of its day, exploded and sank off the southern tip of the Baltic Sea island of Öland on 1 June 1676 while manoeuvring before a battle with an allied Danish-Dutch fleet.

    Historians believe the vessel foundered while attempting a turn under too much sail and in rough weather, somehow igniting its gunpowder magazine, which blew off most of its bow. Only 42 of the ship’s 800-strong crew survived.

    Discovered in 1980, the Kronan – currently Sweden’s largest underwater archaeology project – has yielded nearly 30,000 artefacts, including dozens of bronze cannon, coins, medical items, bottles and about 400kg of victims’ bones.

    Now 90% complete, the exploration will continue for two or three more seasons, Einarsson said, and may eventually result in a museum dedicated to the wreck.

    He did not say whether the cheese would be among the displays.

    Après les vins millésimés (Champagne 1916, si je me souviens bien), la #Baltique fournit le #fromage_qui_pue

  • There’s Nothing Average About This Year’s Gulf of Mexico ’Dead Zone’

    The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released Thursday its annual forecast for the size of the Gulf of Mexico “dead zone”—an area of coastal water where low oxygen is lethal to marine life. They say we should expect an “average year.” That doesn’t sound so bad, but as we wrote last year, the dead zone average is approximately 6,000 square miles or the size of the state of Connecticut. Average is not normal.

    The hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico is the second only in the world to the flush of toxins from Eurasia that pollute the Baltic Sea. Hypoxic zones occur naturally wherever major rivers meet the ocean. However, human activity has increased their area, and these persistent dead zones lead to health threats, economic losses and diminished food supplies. Photo credit: NOAA

    This is especially troubling when we know that solutions exist for reducing agricultural pollution, which contributes to the dead zone. And for many years, there’s been a lot of effort dedicated to reducing the #dead_zone’s massive footprint.

    #hypoxie #agro-industrie #pollution #algues_vertes #littoral

  • Baltic Sea first in world to ban cruise ship wastewater dumping | Yle Uutiset |,+Royal%20Caribbean,%20Hernesaari,%20matkailu,%20Helsinki

    On Friday the International Maritime Organization announced that ferries and ships would be banned from dumping untreated wastewater into the Baltic.

    The ban is set to come into force in 2019 for newer ships and in 2021 for older vessels. The ban is chiefly directed towards the large ships that cruise the Gulf of Finland in the summer.

    The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, HELCOM, works to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea, and has been campaigning for the sea-dumping ban for the past decade.

    Hermanni Backer, the professional secretary of HELCOM’s maritime, response and fish departments, said that once the measure goes into effect, the Baltic will be the world’s first sea region which outright bans passenger vessels’ commonplace sewage-dumping practices.

    “This is actually very important,” Backer said. “We have gotten a concrete decision and that’s always positive. Now the most important thing is to get all countries [in the region] onboard. There is a slight risk that Russia would not participate,” he said.

    #eaux_usées #pollution #assainissement #océan #Baltique #navigation via Pierre Ageron sur l’oiseau bleu