Daily Archives: June 14, 2012
|This week the SubseaIQ team added 1 new projects and updated 25 projects. You can see all the updates made over any time period via the Project Update History search. The latest offshore field develoment news and activities are listed below for your convenience.|
- Chariot Spuds Tapir South Prospect Offshore Namibia (mb50.wordpress.com)
- SMU Report: Permitting delays & new regs stifling offshore drilling (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Ocean Rig Corcovado Starts Drilling Offshore Brazil (mb50.wordpress.com)
Today, the Senate has two hearings scheduled on the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST). The Senate will have had three hearings on the LOST after today—yet, not for the purposes of educating Senators on the flaws versus the benefits of the treaty. These hearings are a pretext for a lame duck strategy to railroad the treaty through the Senate after the November election.
The first hearing today is titled “Perspectives from the U.S. Military.” Witnesses include Admiral James A. Winnefeld, Jr, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and representatives from other government stakeholders in navigation on the high seas. The question that these witnesses can’t sufficiently answer is, “What can’t you do today, because of the LOST, that you could do if the treaty were to be ratified?” The answer is nothing.
Heritage’s Kim Holmes, former Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs, wrote for The Washington Times last year that the navigational provisions in the treaty are not necessary.
The treaty’s navigational provisions offer nothing new. Yes, the U.S. Navy says (LOST) might improve the “predictability” of these rights, but does the Navy’s access to international waters really depend upon a treaty to which we are not even a member? The last time I checked, the U.S. Navy could go anywhere it wanted in international waters. Though redundant, the navigational provisions of (LOST) are actually pretty good. That’s why President Ronald Reagan supported them. But Reagan and others objected to the unaccountable international bureaucracy created by the treaty.
The second hearing today will include former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Heritage Foundation expert Steve Groves, former Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, and former Legal Advisor at State John B. Bellinger, III. This hearing will be an excellent opportunity for the opponents of LOST to make the case that this treaty is flawed.
The bottom line is that Senator John Kerry (D–MA) has been stacking hearings in favor of proponents of LOST. The first hearing this year included Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
As I wrote in an op-ed at Townhall, opponents of the treaty made a strong case against ratification.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) professed to be starting from a neutral position vis a vis ratification. Directing a query to Ms. Clinton, he said, “A lot of people believe that the administration…wants to use this treaty as a way to get America into a regime relating to carbon, since it has been unsuccessful doing so domestically. And I wonder if you might respond to that.” Ms. Clinton’s response? She said she has a legal analysis that knocks down that argument. But not all Americans are willing to rely on a politically driven legal memo from the Obama Administration as a guarantee that this treaty will not empower the International Sea Bed Authority to force regulations on American business. Those seeking certainty on this vital issue would rather take a pass on the treaty than take a chance on Ms. Clinton’s promises.
Senators Mike Lee (R–UT) and Jim Risch (R–ID) expressed dissatisfaction with the Administration’s alleging that opponents of the treaty were engaging in “misinformation” and “mythology.” Risch argued that “you addressed the people who oppose ratification of the treaty, and…I hope you weren’t scoffing at us.” Proponents have engaged in name calling to avoid the central issues to be considered before ratification.
These hearings are intended to show that Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Kerry allowed conservatives to have their say before the lame duck strategy is implemented. The deck has been stacked, with two hearings in favor and one with a 50–50 split between proponents and opponents. Kerry used a similar strategy the last time the Senate considered the LOST.
Make no mistake; these hearings are part of the strategy of the treaty’s proponents to wait until after the election to push through LOST—in November or December of this year when the American people have no recourse against this offense against American sovereignty.
- Law of the Sea Treaty: A Tool to Combat Iran, China, and Russia? or Redistribution of wealth (mb50.wordpress.com)
- The Republicans’ secret weapon on LOST: information (humanevents.com)
- Colin Hanna: Congress needs to tell Law of the Sea Treaty to get lost (junkscience.com)
- Obama Seeks Ratification Of Power-Grabbing Law Of The Sea Treaty (mb50.wordpress.com)
There are plenty of obvious concerns about the use of domestic drones. Their use by law enforcement is expanding rapidly, and it’s only normal to be concerned about privacy laws. Even if you don’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy in a public place, with drones the size of hummingbirds, will you have a reasonable expectation of privacy on your own property, or even through your own windows? In the long run, what will constitute the need for surveillance? In Washington state it could be a nice new way to fine litterers.
Let’s not forget the original intent of this technology. Drones are used by our military to spy on, and to kill our enemies. Or at least, those we perceive to be our enemies, whether guilt has been proven or not, and with a callous disregard for collateral damage.
While it could be argued that some use of surveillance drones is reasonable; for example, border patrol or missing persons cases, how soon does it become difficult to draw the line? Are we there already?
Just this week members of Congress accused the EPA of using drones to conduct surveillance flights over Iowa and Nebraska farms. Though they were assured by the EPA that they are using only manned aircraft to check for violations of federal clean water laws, it does make one wonder about the right of the EPA to conduct this type of surveillance in the first place. Not to mention the fact that even Congress doesn’t know what the EPA is doing.
We have many large government agencies like this. The EPA might not actually be using drones to monitor your compliance with federal laws now, but how long until they are? With domestic drones getting smaller and easier to come by, it seems that it is only a matter of time. And if the EPA now, then who next? The FDA? It would be a lot easier for them to keep tabs on who you are selling your raw milk to, if they could only monitor everyone who comes and goes from your property.
Then there is the fact that law enforcement is already talking about arming drones with rubber bullets. Of course this is mainly for things like crowd control. But At some point do you look up at the drone flying over head and feel a sudden solidarity with citizens in Islamabad, wondering; am I next? Perhaps the idea seems a little far fetched now, but not so very long ago, the idea of drones surveying your neighborhood was also far fetched.
Welcome to our new reality.
James Madison once warned us that “the means of defense against foreign danger have always been the instruments of tyranny at home.”
Is doesn’t seem like wisdom to treat our government, who can so easily brush off the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians, as if they are somehow different people when it comes to surveillance here at home. We need to be vigilant about how this technology is used.
H.R. 5925, The Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act, was recently introduced by Rep. Austin Scott, R-GA, “To protect individual privacy against unwarranted governmental intrusion through the use of the unmanned aerial vehicles commonly called drones, and for other purposes.” The text of the bill is not available yet, but it would require the government to obtain warrants for surveillance purposes.The bill is currently bound up in judicial committee where many bills go – never to be heard from again. It’s a good start though, and a reminder that we can enact our own surveillance regulation in our own states. In the meantime, we should be asking our Congress men and women to support this kind of legislation that would protect our 4th amendment rights.
- Sen. Paul proposes bill protecting Americans from drone surveillance (thehill.com)
- Sen. Paul Introduces Bill to Protect Americans Against Unwarranted Drone Surveillance (ConservativeActionAlerts.com)
- EPA Drones, part 2 (nebraskaenergyobserver.wordpress.com)
- Is EPA Using Drones Over Missouri? (stlouis.cbslocal.com)
- Public Intelligence identifies 64 aerial drone bases in the US (theverge.com)
- Why Is the EPA Using Drones to Spy on Cattle Ranchers in Nebraska and Iowa? (foxnewsinsider.com)
- Farmers vs. EPA – EPA now using drones for surveillance (revolutionarypolitics.tv)
STX OSV Holdings Limited (“STX OSV”), one of the major global designers and shipbuilders of offshore and specialized vessels, has received an order for the design and construction of a large, advanced Offshore Subsea Construction Vessel (OSCV) for Ocean Installer and Solstad Offshore.
The contract value amounts to approximately NOK 1.4 billion. Ocean Installer and Solstad will have joint ownership of the vessel, which is to be operated by Ocean Installer. The vessel is scheduled for delivery from STX OSV in Norway in 2Q 2014. The hull will be delivered from STX OSV in Romania. The contract is subject to board approval by the Norwegian Guarantee Institute for Export Credits (GIEK), expected to be received on or around 20 June 2012.
The vessel, of type OSCV 06L, has been designed by STX OSV and Solstad in close cooperation with Ocean Installer, and is highly advanced in terms of station keeping, efficiency and operational performance. The vessel is designed to operate efficiently under demanding conditions and is well fitted for SURF (Subsea,Umbilicals, Risers, Flowlines) operations.
The vessel is 156.7 meters long, 27 meters wide and has an aft cargo deck area of 2,100 m2. She will be equipped with a 150 t Vertical Lay System (VLS) and a 3,000 t below deck carousel, Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) in hangars launched through moonpools, and two AHC offshore cranes (400 t and 100 t) which both can operate down to depths of 3,000 meters. The accommodation facilities will have a capacity of 140 persons. The vessel is designed according to the latest environmental standards with focus on low fuel consumption.
Steinar Riise, CEO of Ocean Installer said: “We are very satisfied with placing the contract for this new-build, and are looking forward to developing our operations with this vessel, which is built for heavy construction work, and is highly advanced when it comes to station keeping, efficiency and operational performance. This investment is in line with our growth strategy, as the vessel is capable of conducting the full range of subsea construction operations in the global market. Moreover, this joint venture consolidates the strategic cooperation between Solstad and Ocean Installer”
Ocean Installer is a Norwegian subsea entrepreneur headquartered in Stavanger,Norway. Ocean Installer holds strong EPCI expertise within the SURF (Subsea, Umbilicals, Risers, Flowlines) segment and is rapidly expanding its operations andorganization within and beyond the North Sea basin. Solstad Offshore ASA is among the largest shipping companies in Norway, providing advanced vessels and extensive maritime competence for operations related to the offshore petroleum industry. The company has about 1,600 employees, and operates 50 vessels all over the world. Solstad Offshore is headquartered in Skudeneshavn, Norway and has branch offices in Brazil, Singapore, United Kingdom and Australia
- STX OSV Adds to their Backlog, DOF ASA Sends Newbuild Order for Subsea Construction Vessel (mb50.wordpress.com)
- STX OSV to Build Two OSCVs for Siem Offshore (Norway) (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Norway: STX OSV Strengthens Specialist Technology with New Acquisitions (mb50.wordpress.com)
- PHOTOS: Express installing subsea manifolds ” Helix Currents (mb50.wordpress.com)