CH2MHill Polar Services (CPS) has been tasked by the National Science Foundation (NSF) with supporting ship to shore and local operations in Barrow, Alaska as it relates to some port call activities including US Coast Guard (USCG) icebreaker cruises. Other federal agencies are purchasing these support services for their cruises through NSF. CPS proceeds with the following assumptions:
The potential scope of support per project could include the following, though not all will apply to every project:
CPS will be happy to provide input on the following, but will not provide support for:
CPS will review individual cruise plans in the proposals and/or at the USCG cruise planning website http://www.icefloe.net . Each Chief Scientist will be solicited to provide specific information for their respective cruise. This includes numberof personnel, dates in/out of Barrow, cargo requirements on/off vessels, lodging, transportation, meals, and special needs (i.e. “Keep Frozen” samples, forklifts, etc.). It will be essential for these participants to communicate with Faustine Bernadac and Joshua Bacon with their specific information well in advance of the cruise dates.
CPS will review the proposed scope and budget against current approved budget and approach NSF with any variations. Each port call will be treated as a separate project plan and user days will be tabulated and budgeted as such.
CPS will work with the ship captain, logistics officers, and vessel liaisons (Dave Forcucci and Phil McGillivary) to identify and anticipate port call needs such as cargo receiving/movement, ship personnel movement, personnel housing, and transportation related to the researchers’ needs.
CPS provides the following definitions for reference:
The scope of work for a Community Observer (CO) is to represent the native subsistence community and to impart an awareness and understanding of the subsistence culture to ship-board personnel of a US Coast Guard icebreaker. This position represents the interests of the subsistence culture on the North Slope, and reports back to this community. A CO is typically requested by an organization such as the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission (AEWC) if there is the potential to interfere with subsistence hunting of whale, polar bear, walrus, or seals. A fluency in Iñupiaq and an understanding of subsistence activities including whaling and marine mammal hunting is required. The Chief Scientist will be the point of contact with the CO during the cruise.
Duties for the Community Observer include scanning the horizon and maintaining communication between the ship, subsistence hunters, and land base stations to ensure to the best of their ability that all conflicts between animals, subsistence hunters, and the ship are avoided. A daily log of significant events is kept including observations of number and type of marine subsistence species sighted, the ship’s location, and simple weather observations. Duties are generally performed on the ship’s bridge or by ship personnel once they have been trained so that the CO can sleep, eat, and take breaks from the observations.
It is expected that the Community Observer will gain an understanding of shipboard operations, science activities, the tools used for data collection, as well as the overall goals of the cruise. A CO should expect to spend several hours over the course of the cruise learning about the research projects onboard through discussions with the research team and, when possible, participating in some of the operations.
At the end of the cruise, the Community Observer is expected to give a verbal presentation to the Barrow community. No specific recordkeeping is presently required. However all parties (North Slope community, Community Observer, USCG, and the research community) should consider if there are specific end products such as a copy of the records or a slide presentation that might share the CO’s findings and experiences with the broader community.
CPS, through subcontracts with local support organizations and under the National Science Foundation’s direction can provide Community Observers in compliance with community wishes.
Certain science activities such as seismic work and some fishing may require additional oversight. A Marine Mammal Observer (MMO), now called a Protected Resource Observer (PRO), may be required depending on the science objectives of the cruise. The MMO/PRO is a formally trained observer that monitors activities in order to be in compliance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The US Coast Guard and the Chief Scientist will work directly with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to obtain an Observer.
There are specific training requirements fot the PRO including having a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in marine science or related field of biological sciences, successful completion of a NOAA-approved training course with a passing grade of 80% or greater, and/or specific experience or training in observing protected species found in the operating area, and US citizenship, among others.
The Protected Resource Observer has specific requirements related to documenting activities and sightings, and is required to submit a final report at the conclusion of the cruise. PROs are hired by UMIAQ from companies specializing in this work such as those listed with NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center.