P18 2016 Weekly Report 0

30 November 2016

From Brendan Carter (Chief Scientist)

Cruise Report # 0, 11/20/2016

The science team with a few of the crewThe science team with a few of the crew.

“After one more delay that pushed our sailing date back to 1500 on Saturday, Nov. 12th, we are excited and relieved to be underway.”

This was the original start of this report written on Nov. 13th.  Unfortunately, we since returned to San Diego for diagnosis and repairs to the port Z drive.  It was an approximately 48 hour round trip followed by an additional 5 days in port with 2 sea trials.  We are pleased to again be about a day from port and heading to the P18 line.  The modified schedule has us getting to Easter Island around Christmas.  The date of the Punta Arenas arrival at the end of leg 2 is less certain.  This report contains an updated timeline of issues affecting the P18 schedule at the bottom (dates of new updates are in bold). 

We went through the flurry of activity that usually marks the beginnings of a cruise on our first round trip:  We had a brief all-science meeting to share a broad overview of the many critical questions about Earth’s climate that the P18 GO-SHIP data will help to address.  We had several meetings to square away aspects of our planned ship operations and to train newer watch-standers in laboratory and GO-SHIP protocols.  These meetings covered console watching protocols, CTD-rosette and bongo net deployment protocols, and data management plans.  We completed emergency drills and took group pictures.  Instruments were unpacked, tested, and secured. 

The major concern is currently renewing our clearance to conduct research in the Mexican Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).  Our permit was approved for the window of Nov. 1st through 18th, with only 7 days of planned work in the EEZ.  Unfortunately, this means the Brown has re-entered the EEZ on the same day the permit expired.  We are allowed to transit through, just not conduct science.  We’ve therefore shut down all underway scientific instrumentation until we can extend our clearance.  The application to extend clearance was originally submitted to US authorities once the Brown turned back to San Diego, i.e. as soon as it became clear that an extension would be needed.  We are currently transiting and expect to arrive on our first station at approximately noon on Tuesday in the Mexico City time zone, so we are hopeful we will be able to begin station work soon thereafter.  We understand we have many people pushing for this clearance to be granted at various levels of the US and Mexican State Departments.  However, we are naturally working on contingency plans in case it is not granted in time.  In total, 18 stations over ~7 degrees are in jeopardy.  These are important stations in the oxygen deficient zones of the Eastern Tropical North Pacific. 

Two CTD-rosette issues arose on test casts and were troubleshot by our experts: one was a CTD with damaged electronics from seawater intrusion on an early test cast and the second was a compromised CTD pump from a suspected biofouling incident on the second test cast.  Otherwise, the sensors are responding and agreeing well, though we will not have had a test cast to deeper than 1300 m prior to beginning station work.  This is an unfortunate byproduct of our schedule deadlines and our lack of an extension for our Mexican clearance.

Schedule changes and mechanical issues are an inevitable aspect of oceanographic science, but knowing to expect them doesn’t always make them easy to adjust to.  The Mexican clearance took 6 months to secure, and we have unfortunately now missed our window.  We are also short 3 scientists who could not join Leg 1 after the delays were incurred.  Their work has been absorbed by the remaining scientists, many of whom already had a full plate.  We are tentatively continuing as planned for now.  If workload issues become problematic then we may later need to reevaluate that plan. 

I am glad and grateful for the patience, commitment, volunteerism, and good humor that the scientists and crew have already demonstrated.  I look forward to having our plates full again, and to getting into the swing of our important work.  I will remain committed to listening to the needs of the many parties that have come together for this project as we plan our path forward, and to communicating the certainties and the uncertainties involved in any plans we make.

List of science and PIs on P18 

I foolishly said I’d give an overview of the science going on this cruise in this update.  When I wrote that I’d momentarily forgotten the tremendous volume and diversity of the science efforts on this cruise.  So, in this update I’m going to cheat and just provide a list of the programs.  Subsequent reports will provide some details on these projects.  Many of these programs are core Global Ocean Ship-based Hydrographic Investigations Program (GO-SHIP) projects that are detailed in this report.

Data to be collected:             Lead PI(s):

CTD:                                     Greg Johnson

                                             Molly Baringer

Salinity:                                Molly Baringer

LADCP:                                Andreas Thurnherr

Dissolved Oxygen:                Chris Langdon

Nutrients:                              Calvin Mordy

                                             Jia-Zhong Zhang

CFCs/SF6:                              John Bullister

Total CO2 (DIC):                   Richard Feely

                                             Rik Wanninkhof

Total Alkalinity/pH:              Frank Millero

Inorganic Carbon Isotopes:   Ann McNichol

                                             Robert Key

Organic Carbon Isotopes:      Ellen Druffel

Dissolved Organics:              Brett Walker

DOM:                                   Dennis Hansell

Helium/Tritium:                    Scott Doney

Stable Gases (O, N, Ar):        Annie Bourbonnais

Floats:                                   Greg Johnson

                                             Steve Emerson

                                             Lynne Talley

                                             Craig McNeil

                                             Giorgio Dall’Olmo

Drifters:                                Shaun Dolk

HPLC:                                   Emmanuel Boss

Transmissometry:                  Wilf Gardner

Flour./backscatter:                 Emmanuel Boss

Chipods:                               Jonathan Nash

Net tows:                               Laura Sanchez Velasco

Bathymetry:                          Ship personnel

Underway TSG:                    Ship personnel

Underway pCO2:                   Rik Wanninkhof

Genetics:                               Adam Martiny

iTag Genetics:                       Eric Allen

                                             Bethany Kolody

Nitrate/nitrite isotopes:          Daniel Sigman

                                             François Fripiat

                                             Annie Bourbonnais

N2O isotopomers:                  Annie Bourbonnais

Radiometry/Chlorophyll:      Michael Ondrusek

H2O isotopes:                        Kim Cobb

In addition, we have a number of individual projects being conducted by our graduate and postdoctoral students aboard.  These include two types of incubations, additional genetics work, micro-plastics analysis, and an analysis of the natural radiocarbon concentration of a component of dissolved organic carbon.

Timeline of issues affecting the P18 schedule

10/04/2016 Scheduled completion of dry dock repair period is delayed from 10/16/2016 to 10/20/2016:  Two significant items were discovered during the drydocking which caused the delays:  (1) the #2 main propulsion diesel generator (MPDG) had mechanical damage where the rotor had touched the windings = rewinding the generator which took 30 days and (2) the thrust collars where the z-drives insert into the ship were worn and out of round.  These required machining of the hull and fabrication of the new collars. 

10/07/2016 Leg 1 of the P18 GO-SHIP project is delayed by 5 days in light of the shifting schedule.  Leg 2 is delayed by 4 days.

10/20/2016 Brown completes the dry dock repair period.  Many repairs were completed.  Notable repairs for GO-SHIP work include: (1)overhaul of both Markey winches, and (2)replacement of the aft winch wire with new 0.322” wire.  The forward wire is “gently used.”

10/22/2016 Brown completes sea trials (1 of 5) in the San Francisco Bay.  This trial is considered a success.

10/24/2016 A previously unsolved intermittent issue with the GE propulsion motor drive cabinets (automation that runs the propulsion motors) re-surfaces on the transit from San Francisco to San Diego.

10/26/2016 A second sea trial (2 of 5) is conducted with the goal of resolving the drive cabinet issue that resurfaced on the transit, but work done on the sea trial does not identify the cause. 

~10/27/2016 An issue is communicated regarding the aft winch’s ability to spool.

~10/28/2016 A Markey representative identifies a wiring error on the aft winch.  Fixing it resolves the winch issue.

11/01/2016 A third (3 of 5) sea trial is scheduled for Monday 11/07 with representatives from the company that creates the drive cabinets on board.

11/04/2016 Overtightened screws on an engine part (the aluminum rocker arm baseplate) are reported to have caused damage.  This damage was first apparent at the end of the second sea trial and manifested with oil leaking onto the engine.   The report comes near the end of the business day, so no parts are scheduled to be ordered on 11/07. 

The cruise is delayed to 11/09 or 11/10 on a TBD basis in the evening.

11/07/2016 Sea trials (3 of 5) are conducted and the drive cabinet issue is identified, a fix is made, and the issue is declared resolved.  Replacement parts are considered ordered for the damaged engine part (first business day since discovery). 

The expected sailing date is of 11/09 is ruled out at 1000.

11/09/2016 Delays getting the part order completed and a longer estimated delivery timeframe pushes back the sailing date to 11/12/2016 at 1700.

11/11/2016 Parts arrive and CAT technicians work alongside engineers to get the parts installed quickly.  The departure time is pushed up 2 hours to 1500.  The ship is deemed ready to go in the late evening. 

11/12/2016 Departed San Diego at 1500.  Fuel redistribution operations result in loss of fuel from a small holding tank.  The vessel stops for 1-3 hours while this tank is being refilled.  Separately, high temperatures are noted in two areas of the engine.  Engineers work to identify the cause of the elevated temperatures.

11/13/2016 Troubleshooting for elevated engine temperatures is ongoing until 1700.  Engine RPM are slowed to 660 during troubleshooting, but speed over ground remains consistent at ~11.5 kts.  At 1700, ~250 km from San Diego, it is announced that the troubleshooting has been unable to identify the root cause.  Given the inability to operate the engine safely at full capacity, the Brown is turned around to return to San Diego for shore-side diagnosis and repairs by engineers working alongside Wärtsilä representatives (the company that makes the engine).  Turnaround at ~28° 36’ N. 

Contacts at the Mexican Department of State are informed of the change of plan on the same day (separate from the extension request).

11/14/2016 We return to San Diego making good time. 

The transit is halted at 31° 46.07’ N 117° 6.31’W for an impromptu test cast to ~1300 m.  The Markey winch requires 1 adjustment at ~200 m wire out, but the winch otherwise is not a major concern.  

Contacts at the Mexican Department of State are provided a translated formal request for an extension.

11/15/2016 A potential engine fix (a replaced pump) is identified and implemented.  A sea trial (4 of 5) is planned for 11/16/2016. 

11/16/2016 The sea trial (4 of 5) is conducted, and the potential engine fix is determined to have not resolved the elevated temperature issue.  A representative from Wärtsilä is scheduled to join the ship on 11/17/2016 for troubleshooting. 

A second test cast is conducted at 32° 37.64’ N 117° 26.55’ W in ~280 m of water.

11/17/2016 Sea trial (5 of 5) is conducted with the Wärtsilä rep on board.  An oil pump is determined to have been in a bypass mode, restricting oil flow.  The mode is switched and engine temperatures remain stable for several hours of travel at ~12.5 kts.  Confirmation of this diagnosis is planned for 11/18/2016.  Scientists that returned home are recalled with ~36 hours’ notice to return to the vessel.

11/18/2016 Two of four Offices have reported approval for an extension of Mexican clearance by the end of the business day.  The Mexican offices close for a 3 day weekend without hearing from the remaining 2 offices.

11/19/2016 The Brown departs San Diego for P18 for the second time, conducting 4 tests casts in 1300 m depth at the edge of US waters.  Only the first cast goes below 200 m, with the subsequent 3 casts being used to troubleshoot a CTD pump. 

The Brown departs for the first P18 station at ~2000.

11/22/2016 Projected arrival of the Brown on the first station off Cabo San Lucas at 1000 Pacific Time.