September 5, 2015
Hazardous shoal is confirmed
Saturday morning began in a bank of thick fog. However, the flat calm seas were ideal for the smaller boats, and the three survey launches were away quickly to their survey blocks before 8:00 am. All of our vessels, including the launches, are equipped with modern-day equipment including radar and GPS, allowing them to function even in poor visibility conditions. With temperatures just barely above freezing, the marine weather report confirmed we could also expect fog patches throughout the day. The helicopter was stood down, and Nunavut's archeologists spent their day in the forward lab documenting and preparing the new collections for shipment. The Moncton carried on with her surveys in sight of the Laurier throughout the day.
Following up on the shallow feature that was first sited on August 27 during the ice reconnaissance flight, the Investigator was able to confirm the existence of a shoal and began detailed multibeam surveys to ascertain its full outline and dimensions. The only report of a shoal in this inadequately charted area was observed several decades ago nearly two miles to the north and is minimally depicted on the largest scale chart of the current area. The newly discovered shoal, identified with only three meters of water over it in some places, is particularly hazardous as it exists in an area where the existing (but sparse) soundings indicate deep water, and could be interpreted incorrectly as an area safe for ships to transit. Once the multibeam data collection on the shoal is completed, the information will be added as a Notice to Shipping and will be broadcast by Coast Guard to warn any vessels transiting the area of the potential danger. It will then be appear as a Notice to Mariners so that this new information is permanently incorporated into the nautical charts, as well as all future editions and products generated by the CHS. By informing mariners of these obstacles as quickly as possible, all ships in the area will able to circumvent this hazard and avoid potential groundings, ultimately resulting in safer and more efficient navigation.
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