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World War II bomb ignites off Okinawa beach

Aug 13, 2010

September 1921, Air burst of a white phosphorus bomb over the USS Alabama during a test exercise.

By David Allen and Chiyomi Sumida
Stars and Stripes

YOMITAN, Okinawa - A large plume of white smoke spotted about 875 yards off the beach at Torii Station turned out to be a rare spontaneous detonation of a World War II-era explosive, a Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force spokesman said Friday.

“The bomb just happened to wash up onto the reef by the forces of nature, exposing the content to air, which led to ignition,” 1st Lt. Masakazu Karimata, spokesman for the JMSDF base at White Beach, said of the Wednesday phosphorus-bomb explosion. “This is the first such case in our recorded ordnance disposal operations on Okinawa since the reversion to Japan in 1972.”
A second unexploded bomb was discovered Thursday during a search of the marine area.

The beach, on Okinawa’s central west coast, was one of the main landing sites U.S. troops used during the Battle of Okinawa in April 1945. The discovery of unexploded ordnance dating from the battle, referred to locally as the “Typhoon of Steel,” is a common occurrence.

During a search of the area, a JMSDF explosive ordnance disposal team also discovered and removed an unexploded 105 mm artillery shell about 65 feet away from where the phosphorous bomb exploded, according to JMSDF Lt. Commander Akihito Matsunaga. Because of deterioration, it was unclear whether the ordnance was Japanese or American.

The U.S. Army is cooperating in the investigation, said Chip Steitz, spokesman for the 10th Support Group.

“It is not unusual to find such rubble of war in Yomitan,” said Hitoshi Yonaha, spokesman for Yomitan Village. “There are probably more various things to surface around here. Experts tell us it will take another 70 years to dispose all of such remnants of the war.”

Yonaha urged beachgoers to be on the lookout for such items whenever they enter the water.

For more information regarding Aqua Survey’s unexploded bomb and munitions and explosives of concern underwater surveying capabilities please visit our web site or call Ken Hayes (908-347-4144).

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Oil Spill Response: Back from the Frontlines

Jul 01, 2010

Oil Boon

The challenge of oil speculation in the gulf has changed tack recently. The focus now is not only where oil is surfacing, but predicting where the huge submerged plume will end up. Some of the impacted sites like Mobile Bay, Pascagoula, Plaquemines Parish, Pensacola might not be tomorrow’s hot spots. The options are vast and are weather and current driven. Where next and what can be done?

In cooperation with DEC Environmental, Aqua Survey, Inc. is offering to provide modular floating soil cleaning services on barges that can be strategically deployed and shifted to follow the oil slick combined with early warning detection. The equipment will consist of oily water separators to handle excess water and sand washing equipment to handle the contaminated soils that can no longer be legally disposed of in landfills.

Aqua Survey’s Director of Engineering, Dave Morgan, just returned from visiting affected areas in the Gulf with DEC personnel.  DEC has extensive experience in oil skimming and sediment/soil treatment and has a plant that has just become available after its tour of duty to decontaminate soils at the future London Olympic site. We believe just as in warfare, the mobility of DEC’s proposed barge-based plant will be key to meeting the challenge and overcoming obstacles presented by the plume’s mobility. 

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ASI Captain Returns from Egypt to Work on Philadelphia-area Drilling Project

Jun 17, 2010

ASI Captain Eric W. Smith Returns from Egypt to Work on Philadelphia-area Drilling Project

It’s funny how life works sometimes.  Earlier this month an exhibit entitled “Cleopatra: the Search for the Lost Queen of Egypt” made its American debut at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute.  The exhibit details much of the work renowned underwater archaeologist Franck Goddio has conducted on the sunken city of Heracleion.  Aqua Survey employee Eric Wartenweiler Smith has worked as part of Goddio’s international team for the past ten years and recently returned from Egypt after a month long diving expedition with Goddio.  Smith is also headed to Philadelphia.  He’ll be captaining the R/V Hayes which is currently in its sixth week of a drilling project on the Delaware River.  Too see a video detailing the work the R/V Hayes has been doing in Philadelphia, including aerial footage, Click Here.

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Rapid Turnaround on Your Oil Dispersant Test

May 20, 2010

Oil Dispersant

Need a rapid turnaround on an oil dispersant test?  When you have important laboratory testing you need done on the hurry up, you can count on Aqua Survey’s experienced lab staff to get the job done right and on time.

Contact Lab Director to discuss your laboratory project today. 

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Speaker Presentations Available from the Mid-Atlantic Contaminated Sediment/Soils Symposium

Mar 31, 2010

We would like to thank all the speakers who recently presented at the Mid-Atlantic Contaminated Sediment/Soils Symposium in Jersey City, NJ.  Several of the speakers have given us permission to post their presentations here on our website.  Please follow the links to view the Agenda, the Symposium Program or any of the presentations.

Mid-Atlantic Contaminated
Sediment/Soils Symposium
Sampling, Testing, Remediation and Disposal Strategies

Symposium Program (includes abstracts, bios and 3 Do’s and Don’ts for each speaker)

Speaker Presentations
Eric Stern- U.S. EPA Region 2 - Innovative Sediment Decontamination Processing/Management and their Application to Integrated Sustainable Systems
Philip Spadaro – Arcadis U.S. Inc. - A Survey of the Current Approaches to Contaminated Sediment Remediation in Various Countries
Guy Pomphrey and Stany Pensaert – DEC/DEME Group - How to Approach Complex Remediation Projects: Some European Examples
Ric Traver – CH2M Hill - Treatment Methods for the Remediation of Contaminated Soils at the London Brownfield Redevelopment Site
Bill Priore – GeoSyntec Consultants - Robust Delineation of Contamination for Remedial Design Planning to Minimize Uncertainties for Project Execution
Tom Fikslin – Delaware River Basin Commission - The Role of Sediments in Managing PCBs in the Delaware Estuary
Bob Engler – Moffat & Nichol - Contaminated Sediments/Soils: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
Mary Sorensen – Environ Corporation - Chromium in Estuarine Environments: Geochemical Influences on Toxicity
Lyle Trumbull* – O’Brien & Gere Engineers - Investigation of the Ecological Risk Associated with the Groundwater /Sediment/Surface Water Interactions at a Mid-Atlantic Superfund Site
Scott Douglas – NJDOT / Office of Marine Resources - Beneficial Use of Dredged Material in New Jersey - a Decade of Experience with Contaminated Sediment and Site Remediation
Dennis Grubb* – Schnabel Engineering - Evaluating the Properties of Dredged Material-Steel Slag Fines (DM-SSF) Blends for the Maryland Port Administration
Bill Potter – demaximis - Contaminated Sediment Sites: Challenges in Working in An Urban River Setting
* this presenter requested that their presentation not be posted on the website, contact the presenter directly for questions

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Cleopatra Exhibit Soon to Make American Debut

Jan 13, 2010

Ken Hayes and Franck Goddio inspect a newly discovered antiquity from Alexandria Bay in Egypt

The World’s Most Fascinating Woman

As a little kid I grew up watching National Geographic specials and the series Bold Journey.  On a daily basis I went on expeditions into the swamps near my childhood home in New Jersey.  Back in the 1950’s and 60’s I never imagined someday I would be a scientist working with an international marine archeology expedition in Egypt.  That would all change when I received a phone call from the Smithsonian’s Nile River Delta expert Dr. Jean Daniel Stanley.  He invited Aqua Survey to provide high-resolution sediment coring services in, of all places, Egypt.  Stanley told us our cores would be used to try to determine why Cleopatra’s recently found, long-lost palace was now submerged under the murky water of the Mediterranean.  We mobilized people and equipment to Alexandria; collected dozens of sediment vibracores and then packed the samples for shipment to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. It was fascinating to watch The Discovery Channel film crew capture our amazing adventure on film.

This June, Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute will be featuring an exhibit on Cleopatra’s palace and possibly reveal what forces sent the palace to its watery grave.  The last time I held some of the artifacts to be displayed, they were neatly organized in large bins soaking in freshwater (the first step in curation).  No doubt, I won’t be allowed to touch them again in Philadelphia.

Aqua Survey would like to encourage you to visit the exhibit this summer.  We are planning an Aqua Survey reception at the Franklin Institute to celebrate the exhibit.  On-hand to interpret the exhibit will be Eric Smith (archaeological diver from Franck Goddio’s team and now ASI employee) and me.  We look forward to sharing our personal experiences in Egypt.  Goddio has often referred to Cleopatra as being the most fascinating woman to ever live.  Visit Franck Goddio’s website or visit the Franklin Institute to see if you agree. Visit Aqua Survey’s website to find out more about how we are currently using geophysical tools to locate cultural artifacts.  Let us know if you would like more information on the reception at the Franklin Institute.

Ken Hayes
President and Founder
Aqua Survey , Inc.

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Samurai Invasions, Stepping Stones & Human Ingenuity

Jan 06, 2010

Admiral Yi Sun-sin and Turtle Boats

Ancient Korea’s Struggle For Survival
by Garrett Hayes, Aqua Survey Staff Writer

The year is 1592 and the Joeson Dynasty of Korea is about to be confronted by one of the world’s fiercest professional armies, the Japanese samurai.  After more than one hundred years of civil war, Toyotomi Hideyoshi of Japan has recently unified his country.  Suddenly faced with a large force of battle-hardened, aggressive Japanese soldiers with little to do, Hideyoshi decides to invade China and use its small neighbor Korea as a mere stepping stone.  Better to attack a neighbor now than to deal with the possibility of a military coup. 

Suffering from a mismanaged government and a poorly trained army, Korea most likely would have suffered quick defeat by the Japanese had it not been for the efforts of one man and his innovative vessel design.  That one man was Admiral Yi Sun-sin.  Admiral Yi would not only go down in history as the brilliant strategist and charismatic leader who led the Korean navy to victory against the Japanese, but, to many Koreans, he would also be remembered as the inventor of the infamous Turtle Boat. 

Taking into account the enemy’s strengths and weaknesses, Yi’s Turtle Boat would play an integral role in the repulsion of the Japanese invasion.  At one hundred ten to one hundred twenty feet in length the Turtle Boat featured a U-shaped hull constructed of thick timber as well as what amounted to a heavily armored “turtle shell” which covered the entire top deck of the vessel to protect combatants from enemy fire.  In order to counter the Japanese’s favored battle strategy of grappling onto and then boarding enemy vessels to engage in hand-to-hand combat, this shell was covered with iron spikes, which would impale anyone who attempted to board the vessel.  This design played to the Koreans’ favor in that they were very advanced in terms of cannon weaponry.  A small group of Turtle Boats could rapidly close in on the enemy to deal out massive damage through cannon fire while sustaining little damage themselves.

Over the course of the war, perhaps a dozen Turtle Boats were constructed.  None of them have ever been seen by modern man.  To this day no one has found the remains of a single Turtle Boat. To make matters more complicated, Admiral Yi is said to have won every single naval engagement in which he was a part of, thus making the locations of his battles unlikely areas to search.  What happened to the Turtle Boats?  Perhaps part of the answer lies in the Battle of Chilcheonryang, one of the few naval engagements during the war in which Admiral Yi was sidelined and did not lead Korea’s fleet.  The Battle of Chilcheonryang was by all accounts a Korean slaughter.  The Korean fleet lost 157 ships while the Japanese sustained only minimal damage.  Does the bottom of the Chilcheonryang hold the remains of one or more of Yi’s Turtle Boats?  Other Turtle Boats survived the war, but have seemingly disappeared into the annals of history.  Can a Turtle Boat be found and excavated?  And if so, what will be the key to finding its location? 

Under contract to the prestigious Marine Resource and Cultural Foundation, Aqua Survey is slated to arrive with their advanced geophysical survey instruments this Spring to attempt to locate a Turtle Boat. 

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