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Historic shipwreck discovered in northern Gulf of Mexico

NOAA, BOEM discovered a 19th century shipwreck during Gulf of Mexico expedition During a recent Gulf of Mexico expedition, NOAA, BOEM and partners discovered an historic wooden-hulled vessel which is believed to have sunk as long as 200 years ago. Scientists on board the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer used underwater robots with lights and high definition cameras to view remnants of the ship laden with anchors, navigational instruments, glass bottles, ceramic plates, cannons, and boxes of muskets.While most of the ship's wood has long since disintegrated, copper that sheathed the hull beneath the waterline as a protection against marine-boring organisms remains, leaving a copper shell retaining the form of the ship. The copper has turned green due to oxidation and chemical processes over more than a century on the seafloor. Oxidized copper sheathing and possible draft marks are visible on the bow of the ship.Equipped with telepresence technology, Okeanos Explorer reached audiences around the world who participated in theexpedition through live streaming Internet video.As members of the publicashorewatched live video from the ocean bottom, they became "citizen explorers," sharing in the discovery with maritime archaeologists, scientists and resource managers from a variety of federal, academic, and private organizations.The NOAA-funded 56-day ...

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BOEM and BSEE Update Guidance for Offshore Archaeological Protection

More than 2,100 historic shipwrecks in the Gulf of Mexico The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) issued guidance to oil and gas companies operating in the Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) extending existing guidance on how to conduct archaeological resources surveys and prepare archaeological reports, and adding certain additional areas for examination based on new information about the likely location of historical resources."There are more than 2,100 historic shipwrecks in the Federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and we have a shared responsibility to protect our cultural and historical resources," said BOEM Director Tommy P. Beaudreau. "In light of new information, recent discoveries, and advances in hydrographic survey technology, we are updating our guidance to operators to help meet this responsibility.""Oil and gas operators in the Gulf must ensure that drilling is conducted in a manner that is safe and protects environmental and cultural resources - including historical sites," said BSEE Director James Watson.Both BOEM and BSEE are required by Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and Executive Order 11593 to institute procedures to assure that Federal plans and programs contribute to the ...

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BOEM Issues Conditional Approval for Shell 2012 Chukchi Sea Exploration Plan

All Proposed Activities Must Meet New Rigorous Safety and Environmental Standards The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) today issued conditional approval of Shell Gulf of Mexico, Inc.'s revised Exploration Plan under leases in the Chukchi Sea Planning Area. In its Exploration Plan, Shell proposes drilling up to six exploration wells in Alaska's Chukchi Sea beginning in the 2012 drilling season. This decision follows the bureau's completion of a site-specific Environmental Assessment that examined the potential environmental effects of the plan. The conditions of approval require Shell to comply with a range of important safety and environmental protection measures.BOEM's conditional approval does not authorize Shell to commence exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea. Shell must satisfy the conditions of BOEM's approval, as well as obtain approvals from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) regarding its Oil Spill Response Plan and well-specific applications for permit to drill."Our scientists and subject matter experts have carefully scrutinized Shell's proposed activities," said BOEM Director Tommy P. Beaudreau. "We will continue to work closely with agencies across the federal government to ensure that Shell complies with the conditions we have imposed on its Exploration Plan and all other applicable safety, environmental protection and ...

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BOEM approves first offshore exploration plan since Deepwater Horizon incident

BOEM confirmed BP's compliance with the bureau's standards establish after the oil tragedy The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has approved a supplemental Exploration Plan (EP) submitted by BP for deepwater oil and gas activities. BOEM conducted a site-specific Environmental Assessment (EA) of the activities described in the plan. This is the 44th plan that has been approved following the completion of a site-specific EA since stronger regulations were implemented in June 2010.Prior to any drilling under the plan, BP must obtain drilling permits from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), which will continue to assess the information that is necessary to allow specific activities.This is the first EP that BP has had approved since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent oil spill. Before approving this EP, BOEM confirmed BP's compliance with the bureau's rigorous, heightened standards established following the Deepwater Horizon tragedy. In July 2011, BP announced additional safety enhancements and performance standards they would voluntarily implement in connection with its deepwater drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico. BOEM has verified that BP has met the relevant voluntary performance standards."BOEM is dedicated to ensuring that the development of the nation's energy resources is conducted ...

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