Thursday, September 12, 2013

New Aids to Mapping and Chemical Characteristics May Help Shippers and Freight Forwarders

Hazard Identification and Bathymetric Survey Tools both Available On Line
Shipping News Feature

US – SWEDEN – BALTIC SEA – Amongst the electronic flotsam and jetsam that washes up in the Handy Shipping Guide mailboxes every day are many pieces irrelevant to our target audience interested in the multifarious aspects of the freight and shipping industry. Occasionally however something that may be on the periphery of the subject might prove of some interest to a few of our readers and this week these include a new web-based tool, developed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which will expand access to scientific and regulatory information on chemicals, and a new database that charts information about the water depth of the Baltic Sea.

By combining data from the Toxic Substances Control Act, EPA’s web tool ChemView displays key health and safety data in an online format that allows comparison of chemicals by use and by health, or environmental, effects. Searching by chemical name or Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) number, use, hazard effect, or regulatory action, ChemView will be able to create tailored views of the information on individual chemicals or compare multiple chemicals sorted by use, hazard effect or other criteria. Additionally, the tool will also link to information on manufacturing, processing, use, and release data reported under the Chemical Data Reporting Rule, and the Toxics Release Inventory. James Jones, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, said:

“This online tool will improve access to chemical health and safety information, increase public dialogue and awareness, and help viewers choose safer ingredients used in everyday products. The tool will make chemical information more readily available for chemical decision-makers and consumers.”

In Europe, the Baltic Sea Bathymetry Database (BSBD) website has been developed, as part of the EU TEN-T project MONALISA (Motorways & Electronic Navigation by Intelligence at Sea) with the Swedish Maritime Administration as the lead partner, to meet the requirements of maritime and environmental planning as well as scientific research.

Bathymetric data of sufficiently high quality is a requirement for many administrative and research related tasks. The BSBD offers complete, homogeneous and up-to-date Baltic Sea bathymetry data from official sources, i.e. all Baltic Sea national hydrographic offices under the umbrella of the Baltic Sea Hydrographic Commission.

There are several fields of application where bathymetry data is needed like climate modelling, geological research, wind craft planning or habitat mapping to name but a few, and these can ultimately lead in turn to more accurate and effective aids to navigation. The compiled bathymetry model has a resolution of 500 metres, featuring more than ten times as many data points as the currently available models and more data is regularly being added to the model.

Measuring bathymetry is mostly a national duty for each country, primarily because the production of nautical charts lies within each state’s responsibility. Many applications span over country borders, hence requiring a level of detail in bathymetric data which cannot be supplied by conventional nautical charts.