An inspiring week for our DSEM Cluster

Throughout the week, the presence of several researchers developing innovative environmental monitoring, the visit of Prooceano and Sintef Ocean and the Fosnavåg Conference (FosnavagKonferansen2017) presenting the “New possibilities in the ocean space”, inspired REC.

During the Conference, NTNU, NGU and Kongsberg presented the new generation of systems and sensors for monitoring the environment.

Automation, autonomy and connectivity are the keywords.
We all get the feeling of enthusiasm and the interest in exchanging experiences is just beginning.


 Picture: Asgeir Johan Sørensen – Prof.Director of AMOS/NTNU.

Thanks for the visit from PROOCEANO & Sintef Ocean

Yesterday was a special day at Runde Environment Center with the visit from Mauricio da Rocha Fragoso, Francisco dos Santos (Prooceano), Atle Kleven, Ståle Johnsen and Emlyn John Davies (Sintef Ocean).

Claudia, Karsten and Jenny  presented an overview about the REC projects and discussed with the visitors hot topics in environment monitoring, to develop new projects in collaboration with Prooceano and Sintef Ocean.

We all agree that the DeepSea Environmental Monitoring Cluster can create an arena to inspire innovative thinking and identify the opportunities to stimulate research and business in Norway and Brazil.

We are pleased to see our network growing with enthusiastic and high-level professionals.

Takk for besøk!


REC, NTNU & NINA collaborating to understand seabirds, fishes and habitats at Runde.

During this week REC have the visit from NTNU Trondheim, AMOS and NINA.
This is a unique project to study the correlation between feed avaibility and decline in seabird populations at Runde.
The scientists wants to use the high technological equipment to identify, map and monitor the habitas in the area (land and sea).
About 20 scientists are in the area to study the pelks skog, zooplankton distribuition, primary production, fishes and benthic biodiversity.
The scientific vessel R/V Gunnerus is equiped with Rolls-Royce equipment and many other instruments: ROV SF30k, Telemetron, FRRF, Sil cam and Net WP3.
The scientists will use differents plataforms as L-AUV, USVROV Blue Eye and DJI Phantom Drone  with many instruments and sensors (Eco triplet, O2, CTD, ADCP, side scan, UHI, AZFP and Norbit MBE) to correlate man activities, as direct influence  (for example kelps harvesting) and indirect  influence (climate change and over population) with the seabird’s population decline.

One more scientist from USP to give strengh to our network

Helio Mitio Morishita holds a degree in Naval and Oceanic Engineering from the University of São Paulo (1975), a master’s degree in Naval and Oceanic Engineering from the University of São Paulo (1979) and a PhD in Naval and Oceanic Engineering from the University of São Paulo (1986). He is currently associate professor at the University of São Paulo. The research area is dynamic and control of oceanic systems and the recent projects have been the multibody dynamics and the dynamic positioning system of oceanic vehicles applying non-linear approaches for the estimation of the state vector and control.
The Naval Engineering Course of the Polytechnic School of USP has existed since 1956. It was created because the Brazilian Navy needed naval engineers and chose USP to form them. In addition to training students for the Navy, the course also formed engineers for the naval market, which required qualified professionals for the Brazilian fleet. During the 1980s, the Department of Naval Engineering expanded its activities, incorporating new topics such as materials engineering and deepwater exploration technology. Since 1990, the department has been named Department of Naval and Oceanic Engineering.
Helio’s Research Project: Dynamic Positioning Systems
Ocean vehicles with dynamic positioning systems are increasingly used in the offshore oil industry because they ensure the feasibility of various operations in which the seasonality of the vessel is essential. For example, these systems are used in most platform support vessels and also in the relief vessels carrying oil stored in FPSOs (Floating, Production, Store and Offloading). However, the design of dynamic positioning systems is not simple, since in theoretical terms it is a multivariate, over-actualized system with non-linear mathematical model and stochastic perturbations. In addition, it is necessary to include a peculiar block that is to estimate the state vector of the low frequency movements from the measurements of the positions corrupted by high frequency movements due to the waves and errors of the measurements.
In this project, besides the methodology of design of dynamic positioning systems, system modeling aspects and applications of nonlinear theories are studied for both the state estimator (signal filtering) and the control law. Empirical Mode Decomposition is currently being tested for signal filtering, and for control the backstepping technique and the design of hybrid systems are being analyzed. The approach consists of the integration of theoretical, computational and experimental methods.

DSEM Cluster expanding partnerships with USP.

Decio Crisol Donha is the Head of The Department of Mechanical Engineering (PME). His expertise extends to Control Systems Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Ocean Engineering .

He holds a Masters Degree in Naval and Oceanic Engineering from the University of São Paulo (1983) and a PhD in Naval and Oceanic Engineering from the University of São Paulo (1988) in a sandwich program with the University Technique from Berlin, Germany. He is currently an associate professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of São Paulo. Its line of research has an emphasis on Automation and Control of Vehicle Systems, especially automotive and marine, working mainly in the following subjects: industrial control, dynamic positioning, position control of ships and platforms, modeling and simulation of dynamic systems, robust control, Intelligent control based on fuzzy logic, optimization of systems using genetic algorithms, navigation and guidance of autonomous and semi-autonomous submersible vehicles, active and semi-active suspensions with magnetoreological elements, production of clean energy from sea waves and wind systems. He is also, participation at the NAP-OceanoS (Sustainable Ocean Research Support Center) as a researcher and member of the Board of Directors and research coordinator in the field of vehicles.

PME is one of the fifteen departments in the Polytechnic School at the University of São Paulo (Poli-USP). The PME remains aware of its calling for education, research and development and seeks constant enhancement through its projects, programs and undergraduate and graduate courses, reaffirming the School’s position as a center of excellence in educating and training its faculty and student bodies.
Aware of and integrated into the productive sector, the Department has led lines of research in the most varied areas of academic interest and for productive sectors. With its substantial scientific production, the Department’s faculty is outstanding on a national and international level in the areas of education, research and university extension in Mechanical Engineering, proving its commitment to sustainable technological development in the social, economic and environmental areas.




The future holds opportunities.

Patience and predictability are the key words for the future of the maritime and offshore sectors.

There is the need to stimulate innovative thinking, coordinate and facilitate new business with international forums.

Diversity of players in close cooperation and intense competition is the receipt for success.

Collective action, capacity building and cultures of integrity will lead to a better global economy.

The ocean is the new economic frontier.

Nor-Shipping 2017

Nor-Shipping  is the leading maritime event week. Its top-quality exhibition, high-level conferences and prime networking opportunities attract the international maritime industry to Oslo every other year.

For more than 50 years, Nor-Shipping has been, activity-filled event that attracts key maritime industry players from across the world. The presence of leading figures from the entire maritime value chain makes Nor-Shipping a recognized arena for strategic deal making and networking.

Nor-Shipping aims to connect, challenge, provoke and inspire the industry, encouraging silo-breaking development while identifying the new business opportunities arising in a world undergoing major transformative shifts. Leaders who drive change and utilize challenging markets through outside-the-box thinking, meet their peers to share sneak peeks into the future.

Norway builds and supplies some of the most advanced vessels in the world. As the ocean space opens up new industries, technology leaders from the Norwegian clusters present their cutting-edge solutions developed through decades of spearheading advanced offshore operations in the world’s harshest conditions.

The program on business opportunities in Brazil:

BRAZIL PODIUM:Wednesday 31 May, 13:00 – 16:30 Ocean Industry Podium


Moderated by Tom Mario Ringseth, Vice President, DNB Brazil

The event starts by setting the scene for the rest of the day. What is the Global and Brazilian outlook? What are the main challenges and opportunities seen from both countries? How the fast changing scenarios will prepare the countries for a sustainable economic growth? How the Brazilian Government’s agenda of reform is changing the country?

José Roberto Neves – President ABRAN

Sturla Henriksen – CEO The Norwegian Shipowners’ Association

Terje Søviknes – Norwegian Minister of Petroleum/Norwegian Governement

Tom Mario Ringseth – Vice President DNB Brazil

Wednesday 31 May, 14:00 – 15:30


Moderated by Tom Mario Ringseth

Industry leaders will present and discuss the new rules of the Brazilian oil & gas sector and its impacts on the maritime offshore industry. What are the new rules of the game? What are the main challenges and opportunities? What are the new roles of ANP, Petrobras, NOC and IOC?

Keynotes & Roundtable discussion:

Jorge Camargo – President Instituto Brasileiro do Petróleo

Kristian Siem – Founder, Chairman & CEO Siem Industries

Lars Peder Solstad – CEO Solstad Offshore

Tom Mario Ringseth – Vice President DNB Brazil


Moderated by Tom Mario Ringseth

The new strategy of Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) will be presented and discussed with leaders from the Norwegian finance industry. What is the new role of BNDES stimulating the expansion of the maritime offshore and infrastructure industry? How is the partnership with the Norwegian finance institutions? How the finance institutions supports the maritime and offshore industry?

Keynotes & Roundtable discussion:

Claudia Prates – Deputy Managing Director BNDES

Eberaldo de Almeida Neto – Executive Manager Petrobas

Felipe Meira – Executive Vice President Americas Farstad Shipping LTDA

Harald Sundby – Vice President Operations Maritime PGS

Kjetil Solbrække – Head of Rio de Janeiro Office Rystad Energy Brazil

Mauro Andrade – VP Supply Chain Statoil Brazil

Rachid Felix – President The Norwegian-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (NBCC)

Tom Mario Ringseth – Vice President DNB Brazil


Petrobras and Statoil Brasil will present and discuss market opportunities for maritime and offshore shipping suppliers. What are the main challenges and opportunities of the new market environment? What are the requirements and main opportunities for the maritime and offshore shipping industry?

Eberaldo de Almeida Neto – Executive Manager Petrobas

Felipe Meira – Executive Vice President Americas Farstad Shipping LTDA

Harald Sundby – Vice President Operations Maritime PGS

Kjetil Solbrække – Head of Rio de Janeiro Office Rystad Energy Brazil

Mauro Andrade – VP Supply Chain Statoil Brazil

Olav Akselsen – Director General of Shipping and Navigation Norwegian Maritime Authority

Rachid Felix – President The Norwegian-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (NBCC)

Tom Mario Ringseth – Vice President DNB Brazil


Thursday 01 June, 10:00 – 12:00 Rådhusgaten 25, Norwegian Shipowners’ Association,


Moderated by Godfredo Mendes Vianna, Partner OAB/Kincaid

Keynote speeches from the Directors of Ports and Coasts and Norwegian Maritime Authority share their views on the main regulatory challenges of the offshore and shipping industry. The industry requires clear, stable and predictable framework conditions. However, stability is not the same as being static, so how can regulations be adjusted or changed smartly without negatively affecting the market.

Keynotes & Roundtable discussion:

Camila Mendes Vianna Cardoso – Partner Kincaid

Christine Rødsæther – Partner Simonsen Vogt Wiig

Godfredo Mendes Vianna – Moderator Partner OAB/Kincaid

José Roberto Neves – President ABRAN

Olav Akselsen – Director General of Shipping and Navigation Norwegian Maritime Authority

Ricardo Cesar Fernandes – Executive Director Norwegian Shipowners’ Association Brazil (ABRAN)Vice Admiral

Wilson Pereira Lima Filho – Director DPC



Expanding our group: with Carsten Frank from Kongsberg Maritime Subsea

Carsten Frank is a Product Manager Underwater Monitoring at Kongsberg Maritime, Product and Application Manager at Kongsberg Maritime Embient and works with Research & Development at CONTROS Systems & Solutions GmbH. His works include the development of sensors / analyzers for seawater and his focus is on – wet chemical nutrient sensors based on sequential injection analysis (nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, and phosphate)) – direct determination of nitrate via UV spectrophotometry (eg. ProPS & SUNA) – high precision pH determination via flow injection analysis – and topics around CCD spectrometers and how to correct their errors and then to be used in the applications described above.


Kongsberg Maritime operates in close collaboration with customers to develop instruments and solutions that support challenging applications.

Kongsberg Maritime solutions for Subsea environmental monitoring are used for a wide range of applications within Offshore Oil & Gas, Renewables, Ocean observatories , oceanographic, metocean and research applications, Arctic applications and Deep Sea minerals exploration.

The offshore Oil & Gas industry has a duty of care in its treatment of the oceans and to reduce negative environmental impact. KM solutions are designed to support the industry and are built to operate during the whole life cycle of a field:

KM monitoring solutions are a natural part of mandatory impact assessment strategies throughout the entire life cycle of a field. Today’s higher level of offshore activities increases the need for fast, efficient and accurate monitoring. KM solutions provide Real Time Monitoring, which is also an important tool for making all operations more effective.

For Oil & Gas applications, KONGSBERG is developing a new integrated solution for data visualization and data logging.

For oceanography & ocean observatories, KONGSBERG uses special set-ups to cover a variety of projects in the category of research, metocean, marine life, fishery research and aquaculture (sea farming). Commonly used sensors are echo sounders, sonars, hydrophones and oceanographic sensors like Salinity, ADCP and CTD. In these applications KM use both wireless and cable communications solutions. Sensor carriers may be subsea sensor nodes, surface vessels, AUVs or gliders depending on the application.

Rigs-to-reefs Program can be a good solution for the decommissioning of offshore structures?

Offshore rigs and platforms  for oil and natural gas extraction have increased in abundance throughout the world’s oceans in recent decades. Estimates put the existing number of offshore rigs worldwide at >7500 and analysts predict that this number will continue to rise over the coming decades, as demand for petroleum products increases. The finite nature of hydrocarbon supplies means that many existing rigs, particularly fixed rigs in shallow waters, are now approaching the end of their production life and are due for removal (ie decommissioning). Despite international legislation concerning procedures for rig decommissioning (eg the 1958 Geneva Convention on the Continental Shelf, the 1982 United Nations Law of the Sea Convention, and the 1989 International Maritime Organization Guidelines and Standards), there is still, little international consensus on best practices for decommissioning.

The rigs-to-reefs (RTR) program was developed by the former Minerals Management Service (which, after the 2010 Deepwater Horizonexplosion and spill, was reorganized into the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement) of the US Department of the Interior to convert decommissioned offshore rigs (namely the large steel jacket portion of fixed rigs) into artificial reefs. The program operates under a “win–win” premise, whereby obsolete rigs are recycled as artificial reefs to (1) assist with benthic habitat conservation and fishery management (under the assumption that rigs increase the amount of hard substrate for reef-dwelling organisms and enhance fishery resources) and (2) provide substantial cost savings for the oil and gas industry. Since the first planned RTR conversion took place in 1979 off the coast of Florida, similar programs have been implemented throughout Southeast Asia and in Mexico, and related discussions are ongoing in North Sea countries.

So far, RTR programs have only been considered for sites in relatively shallow marine waters; however, in light of habitat degradation attributable to fishing and other anthropogenic activities, maybe it is time to consider RTR programs in deep-sea ( >500 m) locations.

Recommended areas for future research – in the application of RTR programs for the deep-sea,  include:

•Longer term (decadal) investigations of the effects of rig deployment on communities in waters deeper than 200m, including community-scale investigations of trophic interactions around deep-water rigs.

•Further understanding of the importance of connectivity for maintaining populations of deep-sea biota.

•Accurate estimates of abundance, species composition, and size/age classes of fauna across vertical and horizontal profiles. To allow the determination of important structural features of rigs as habitat and their potential for increasing production of population biomass, and improve the understanding of how faunal assemblages vary with time since rig deployment, as well as with location and time of year.

•Tissue analysis of sampled fauna for the presence of contaminants to determine the risks and improve estimating the spatial scale of chemical pollution associated with disintegrating rigs.

Opinions on human impacts in the deep sea vary. Some predict that the deep sea will remain relatively unaffected by anthropogenic activities and climate change by the year 2025, relative to the rest of the planet ; others suggest that the deep sea is already severely affected by such disturbances and call for further action to protect deep-sea ecosystems. The a RTR program in the deep sea, in conjunction with the establishment of marine protected areas, may offer a means of conserving deep-sea communities. Partnerships between scientists and industry (eg The SERPENT project) will improve the capacity for further research, and the RTR program should support independent research and monitoring programs to evaluate the effectiveness of rigs in fulfilling the companies intended purpose as artificial reefs in the deep sea. Environmental impact assessments carried out by independent bodies and overseen by representatives from a variety of stakeholders (eg government, community, industry) will ensure control and transparency during a RTR program, especially given that the program is expected to represent a financial windfall for industry.



Front. Ecol. Environ. 2011; 9(8): 455–461, doi:10.1890/100112

Rigs-to-reefs: will the deep sea benefit from artificial habitat?
Peter I Macreadie, Ashley M Fowler, and David J Booth.


State of deep-sea marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction

UN Technical Abstract of World Ocean Assessment I


The waters of areas beyond national jurisdiction below about 200 metres depth are of great importance for biodiversity. This vast deep-sea realm contains the largest variety of species on the planet but, for the open sea, much less than 0.0001 per cent of the over 1.3 billion km3 of deep water has been studied. Although we know much less about it than about the coastal areas or the land, there is strong evidence that the richness and diversity of organisms, from the animals to the microbes, in the deep sea exceeds that in all other parts of world that support life. This biodiversity supports ecosystem processes necessary for the Earth’s natural systems to function. Many of the theories to explain high biodiversity in the deep sea emphasise the range of habitats and the slow time scales at which they operate.

Deep-sea ecosystems are crucial for global functioning. For example, the breakdown in the deep sea of organic matter into inorganic components (remineralization) regenerates the nutrients that help fuel the ocean’s primary production (photosynthesis by microscopic plants). In turn, this primary production accounts for the production of about half of the oxygen in the atmosphere. Whilst coastal and shallow-water processes and functions produce services within relatively short time scales and on local and regional spatial scales, the deep-sea processes and ecosystem functions often translate into useful services only after centuries of continuous activity. (Chapter 36F)

Biodiversity beyond the continental slope

Between the deep-sea bottom and the sunlit surface waters are the open waters of the deep pelagic or “midwater” environment. The major physical characteristics structuring the pelagic ecosystems are depth and pressure, temperature, and the penetration of sunlight. Below the surface zone (or epipelagic – down to about 200 m), the deep layer where sunlight penetrates with insufficient intensity to support primary production, is called the mesopelagic zone. This zone is a particularly important habitat for fauna controlling the depth of CO2 sequestration.

Below the depth to which sunlight can penetrate (about 1,000 m) is the largest layer of the deep pelagic realm and by far the largest ecosystem on our planet, the bathypelagic region. This zone – also called the abyssal zone – comprises almost 75 per cent of the volume of the ocean and is mostly remote from the influence of the bottom and its communities. Temperatures there are usually just a few degrees Celsius above zero.

The transitions between the various vertical layers are gradients, not fixed boundaries. Hence ecological distinctions among the zones are somewhat blurred across the transitions. The abundance and biomass of organisms generally varies among these layers from a maximum near the surface, decreasing through the mesopelagic, to very low levels in the bathypelagic, but increasing somewhat in the benthopelagic. Although abundances are low, because this is such a huge volume, even species that are rarely encountered may have very large total populations.

The life cycles of deep-sea animals often involve shifts in vertical distribution among developmental stages. Even more spectacular are the daily vertical migrations of many mesopelagic species. This vertical migration may increase physical mixing of the ocean water and also contributes to a “biological pump” that drives the movement of carbon compounds and nutrients from the surface waters into the deep ocean. The amount of biomass of both kinds of animal is unknown. Studies of microbes and their roles in the deep pelagic ecosystems are only just beginning to reveal the great diversity of such organisms.

The strong swimmers of the deep pelagic, the “nekton”, include many species of fish and some sharks, crustaceans (such as shrimps and krill), and cephalopods (including squids, “dumbo” and other octopods, and “vampire squids”). In terms of global fish abundance, deep pelagic fishes outnumber those in other parts of the ocean – the genus Cyclothone alone outnumbers all coastal fishes combined, and is likely to be the most abundant vertebrate on earth. Furthermore, mesopelagic fishes dominate the world’s total fish biomass and constitute a major component of the global carbon cycle. When bathypelagic fish biomass is included, deep pelagic fish biomass is likely to be the overwhelming majority of fish biomass on Earth. The deep pelagic fauna is also important prey for mammals (toothed whales and elephant seals) and even birds (emperor penguins) and reptiles (leatherback sea turtles). The amount of deep-sea squids consumed by sperm whales alone annually has been estimated to exceed the total landings of fisheries worldwide.

Generally, the great depth of areas beyond national jurisdiction has made surveys of the seabed beyond the continental rise virtually impossible until recently. What is known about the seabed life (benthos) of the main areas beyond national jurisdiction can be summarized as follows:

(a)     Such studies as have been possible suggest that, for nearly all groups of species, there is less biodiversity the nearer to the poles one goes;

(b)     There are marked, but unexplained, divergences in that pattern for some groups of species in some areas, such as the North Atlantic;

(c)     In the South Atlantic, there are marked differences between the sub-basins;

(d)     The Southern Ocean is different because the weight of the Antarctic ice sheet, pushes the continental margin downwards, meaning that it has markedly deeper water.

Biodiversity in the hadal zone

The hadal zone is the ocean floor deeper than 6,000 m. It covers about 3.4 million km2 – less than 1 per cent of total ocean area. There are over 80 separate basins or depressions in the sea floor, dominated by 7 great trenches (>6,500 m deep) around the margins of the Pacific Ocean, five of which extend to over 10 km depth: the Japan-Kuril-Kamchatka, Kermadec, Tonga, Mariana, and Philippine trenches. The Arctic Ocean lacks hadal depths.

Biota dependent on chemosynthesis, rather than photosynthesis, occur in hadal depths in the Japan Trench: the deepest known methane seeps and associated communities are found at 7,434 m deep in this area. Cold-seep communities also commonly occur in trench areas, such as the Aleutian and Kuril Trenches. Sampling to date suggests that hadal basins are populated by a higher proportion of endemic species (species not found elsewhere) compared with much shallower waters40.      At depths over 8000 m, scavenging species dominate the mobile megafauna, along with predators.

Cold-water corals have been known for a couple of centuries, but it is only very recently that the extent of their occurrence has been appreciated. They cover a wide range of depths (39 – 2,000 m) and latitude (70°N – 60°S). Many are found below 200 m, the average depth below which photosynthesis does not occur. Because of their association with deeper water, cold-water corals are often found beyond areas of national jurisdiction. The nearer they are to the poles, the shallower the water they are likely to be found in. Cold-water coral reefs, mounds, and gardens support communities that are highly diverse – orders of magnitude in diversity above the surrounding seafloor. In addition to this tightly-associated community, cold-water corals also serve as important spawning, nursery, breeding and feeding areas for a multitude of fishes and invertebrates, and as habitat for transient daily vertical migrators.

Hydrothermal-vent and cold-seep communities

Hydrothermal vents and cold seeps are energy hotspots on the seafloor that sustain some of the most unusual ecosystems on Earth. Occurring in diverse geological settings, these environments share high concentrations of the chemicals that drive primary production by chemosynthetic microbes, and are therefore not directly reliant on photosynthesis from sunlight. Hydrothermal vents are located at mid-ocean ridges, volcanic arcs and back-arc spreading centres or on volcanic hotspots. Sediment-hosted seeps occur, in areas beyond national jurisdiction, in subduction zones, where they are often supported by subsurface hydrocarbon reservoirs.

Both vent and seep ecosystems are made up of a mosaic of habitats covering wide ranges of conditions. These communities have all been discovered within the last 40 years. Given their location, exploration is difficult, and inventories of the biodiversity are far from complete. Pressures on them are likely to arise from hydrocarbon exploitation, deep-sea mining and (to a lesser extent) the general pressures on the ocean from climate change.


Seamounts are predominantly submerged volcanoes, mostly extinct, rising hundreds to thousands of metres above the surrounding seafloor. Some also arise through tectonic uplift. Estimates of their numbers range up to more than 100,000 seamounts over 1,000m. At least half are in the Pacific, with progressively fewer in the Atlantic, Indian, Southern, and Arctic Oceans. Seamounts can influence local ocean circulation, often bringing a sufficient flow of organic matter to support suspension-feeding organisms, such as corals and sponges. Depending on depth and ocean current regime, the seamount benthos may be dominated by an invertebrate fauna typical of the surrounding sediment-covered slope or abyssal plain or a more specialized fauna adapted to a high-energy, hard substrate-dominated deep-water environment. Seamounts that rise to mesopelagic depths or shallower (< ~1,000 m) often have an associated fish fauna adapted to feed on the elevated flux of zooplankton, as well as vertical migrators intercepted by the seamounts during their downward daily migrations. More than 70 fish taxa have been commercially exploited around seamounts.

Mineral exploitation

At present, exploitation of mineral resources (both hydrocarbons and other minerals) is entirely within areas of national jurisdiction. However, exploration for a wide range of metals is already under way in areas beyond national jurisdiction, and exploitation may soon start. Although commercial deep-sea mining has not yet commenced, the three main deep-sea mineral deposit types – sea-floor massive sulphides (SMS), polymetallic nodules and cobalt-rich crusts – have been the subject of interest for some time. The economic interest in SMS deposits is for their high concentrations of copper, zinc, gold, and silver; for polymetallic nodules for manganese, nickel, copper, molybdenum and rare earth elements; and and for ferromanganese crusts for manganese, cobalt, nickel, rare earth elements, yttrium, molybdenum, tellurium, niobium, zirconium, and platinum.

The International Seabed Authority (ISA), which regulates deep-sea mining (the seabed, ocean floor and its subsoil beyond the limits of national jurisdiction) has entered into 15-year contracts for exploration for polymetallic nodules, SMS and cobalt-rich ferromanganese crusts in the deep seabed. Further information on the current situation can be found on the ISA website ( The decision to commence deep-sea mining  will depend in part on the availability of metals from terrestrial sources and their prices in the world market, as well as technological and economic considerations based on capital and operating costs of the deep-sea mining system and costs of compliance with environmental requirements.

Marine scientific research

Understanding the working of the marine environment is an essential basis for moving towards a complete understanding of our planet and for managing the impact of human activities. The observation of marine biodiversity is a necessary part of such a task. The relation of marine scientific research to the search for marine genetic resources (“bioprospecting”) is under debate.

Deep-sea observatories are becoming increasingly important in monitoring deep-sea ecosystems and the environmental changes that will affect them. One of the major goals of deep-sea observatory initiatives is to better understand and predict the effects of climate change on the linked ocean-atmosphere system, and on marine ecosystems, biodiversity and community structure. A new initiative involves the integration of submarine cables into a real-time global climate and disaster monitoring system, including re-use of out-of-service cables.

Knowledge gaps to inform capacitybuilding needs

Despite technological advances and a sharp increase in deep-sea exploration in the past few decades, a remarkably small portion of the deep sea has been investigated in detail. There are therefore large gaps in what we know about the deep sea. − Although the species which are specifically considered in this Assessment are vertebrates, it is important to improve the knowledge base about invertebrates, microbes and viruses. − Deep-sea biodiversity is very poorly characterized compared to the shallowwater and terrestrial realms. Without better characterization of deep-sea biodiversity, its protection will be hampered. − The deep ocean has many species, with genetic, enzymatic, metabolic and biogeochemical properties which may hold potential for major new pharmaceutical and industrial applications. Without better knowledge of these species and their properties, important opportunities may be missed. − The deep oceans are estimated to have up to millions of species. Because conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity is improved when the species are known and their biological characteristics inventoried, much effort and time will be required to describe them. − The deep seas are threatened by ongoing global climatic changes due to increasing anthropogenic emissions and resulting biogeochemical changes. The impacts of climate drivers on the deep sea biota and the magnitude of the drivers in the deep sea need to be better documented. − The deep oceans may be threatened by, e.g., oil and gas exploitation, mining for metals, fishing practices (both destructive fishing techniques and an excessive scale of fishing) and pollution. More measurement is needed of the scale of these pressures and their potential impacts. − Perhaps the most important knowledge gap is the knowledge of the effectiveness of alternative management options when applied in such a vast, dynamic space, much of which is beyond national jurisdiction, to reduce the impact of man-made stressors. − The design of protected areas based on geographic definitions must necessarily account for the fluxes through the system as well as the movement of the inhabitants. − Deep-sea observatories are becoming increasingly important in monitoring deep-sea ecosystems and the environmental changes that will affect them. These observatories aim at addressing important societal issues, such as climate change adaptation, ecosystem conservation and sustainable resource management. Tackling these issues, along with efficient and clear stakeholder communication, is particularly important for the deep sea, which remains largely unexplored, yet affects the lives and livelihoods of the global population directly or indirectly. Technological advances in recent years offer the ability to continuously monitor the ocean in time and space; in particular, the development of in-situ sensors, autonomous vehicles, and cyber-infrastructure, including telecommunications and networking. If these technologies are applied more widely in the world’s oceans they would add to the capacity to monitor the deep sea and feed the obtained information into science-policy interfaces and marine management and policy