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Australia and Republic of Korea Participate in Sinking of U.S. Naval Ship

Live fire from ships and aircraft participating in the Rim of the Pacific 2016 exercise sank the decommissioned USS Thach (FFG 43) at 7:25 p.m. Thursday in waters 15,000 feet deep, 55 nautical miles north of Kauai, Hawaii.

PACIFIC OCEAN (July 14, 2016) Sailors aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) fire an RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile during an international sinking exercise, or SINKEX, for Rim of the Pacific 2016. Twenty-six nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft, and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 30 to Aug. 4, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2016 is the 25th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jason Noble/Released)

PACIFIC OCEAN (July 14, 2016) Sailors aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) fire an RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile during an international sinking exercise, or SINKEX, for Rim of the Pacific 2016. Twenty-six nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft, and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 30 to Aug. 4, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2016 is the 25th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jason Noble/Released)

Units from Australia, the Republic of Korea and the U.S. participated in the sinking exercise (SINKEX), which provided them the opportunity to gain proficiency in tactics, targeting and live firing against a surface target at sea.

“This SINKEX was a tremendous event for all the units who participated. As you can imagine, the opportunity to fire live ordnances at a real target is incredibly rare and I know that these men and women learned so much today,” said Royal Canadian Navy Rear Adm. Scott Bishop, deputy commander of the RIMPAC Combined Task Force. “This kind of training is vital to strengthening our interoperability and increasing our readiness for operations in the future.”

Former Navy vessels used in SINKEXs are prepared in strict compliance with regulations prescribed and enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency under a general permit the Navy holds pursuant to the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act.

Each SINKEX is required to sink the hulk in at least 1,000 fathoms (6,000 feet) of water and at least 50 nautical miles from land. Surveys are conducted to ensure humans and marine mammals are not in an area where they could be harmed during the event.

Prior to the vessel being transported for participation in a SINKEX, each vessel is put through a rigorous cleaning process, including the removal of all polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), transformers and large capacitors, all small capacitors to the greatest extent practical, trash, floatable materials, mercury or fluorocarbon-containing materials and readily detachable solid PCB items. Petroleum is also cleaned from tanks, piping and reservoirs.

RIMPAC 2016

A Navy civilian environmental, safety and health manager and a quality assurance supervisor inspect the environmental remediation conducted in preparation of a vessel’s use in a SINKEX. Upon completion of the environmental remediation, the manager and supervisor provide signed certification of the work in accordance with EPA requirements.

The decommissioned USS Thach (FFG-43) was the 34th ship of the Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigates. The ship was named for Naval aviator Adm. John S. Thatch, the developer of the “Thach Weave”; dogfighting tactic in World War II and former Commander, U.S.

USS Thatch

USS Thatch

Naval Forces Europe from 1965-1967. Thach participated in a number of maritime security exercises and operations both independently and as part of carrier strike groups in U.S. 3rd, 4th, 5th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility during nearly three decades of service.

Held every two years by Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet and executed by Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, RIMPAC is a multinational maritime exercise that takes place in and around the Hawaiian Islands and off the coast of southern California. This year’s RIMPAC exercise, the 25th in the series that began in 1971, is scheduled from June 30 to Aug. 4. Twenty-six nations, 45 surface ships, five submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 are participating in this year’s exercise.

Lava Flow Remains Active – Now 0.4 Miles From Emergency Road

The flow front remains active on the coastal plain, but has only moved about 60 m (~200 ft) closer to the ocean in the past three days.

hvo 71516

As of midday on July 15, the slow-moving pahoehoe is roughly 870 m (~0.5 mi) from the ocean. Activity upslope continues to widen the flow margins. The light gray surface in this image is the new pahoehoe of the 61G flow.

Aerial view of the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Coastal Ranger Station at the end of Chain of Craters Road with the active lava flow (61G) in the distance.

Correlative thermal image highlighting the hot, active flow at the top portion of the photo (right).

Correlative thermal image highlighting the hot, active flow at the top portion of the photo (right).

This map is a georeferenced thermal image mosaic showing the distribution of active and recently active breakouts on the Pūlama pali and coastal plain. The thermal images were collected during a helicopter overflight on July 15. The episode 61g flow field as mapped on July 8 is outlined in yellow to show how the flow has changed. Most surface flow activity is on the coastal plain, but breakouts also continue on pali.

The leading tip of the active flow was 870 m (about half a mile) from the ocean.

The leading tip of the active flow was 870 m (about half a mile) from the ocean.

According to this mornings USGS HVO Lava flow report the flow is now 0.4 miles from the emergency road:

The 61G lava flow, southeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō remains active on the coastal plain on Kīlauea’s south flank. HVO geologists visited the flow field on Friday. As of midday, the lava flow front was about 730 m (0.4 miles) from the coastal emergency road and 870 m (0.5 miles) from the ocean, an advance of only about 60 m (200 feet) since July 12. The leading tip of the flow was active on Friday and the area around the flow tip has widened. The most vigorous flow activity was nearer the base of the pali and extending out about 1.3 km (0.8 miles) from the base of the pali. See the most recent HVO thermal map and images of lava for additional information http

Robotics and STEM Events Receive Funding From Hawaiian Electric

sgcAs part of its 2016 second quarter contributions, the Hawaiian Electric Companies have donated $20,000 to the Hawaii Space Grant Consortium for the:

  • Pan Pacific VEX (high school) and VEX IQ (elementary and middle school) Championships, Oct. 7-9 at Kamehameha Schools Kapalama Campus Kekuhaupio Gym. Initiated in 2008 as a means to have Hawaii teams participate in an international robotics tournament, the Pan Pacific VEX has hosted more than 100 teams from China, Taiwan, the U.S. mainland and Hawaii, growing to become at one time the second largest VEX tournament in the world. The Hawaiian Electric Companies’ support will help to reinstate the Pan Pacific VEX Championship which has not been held for the past two years.
  • Astronaut Lacy Veach Day of Discovery, Oct. 29 at Punahou School. The event honors the late Astronaut Charles Lacy Veach who considered Honolulu his home, and promotes interest in science and technology among educators, students and their families. The 2016 event will include hands-on workshops, displays and a VEX IQ qualifying robotics tournament involving 18 school teams. Hawaiian Electric is a founding sponsor of the event that was first held in 2002. Company employees continue to actively participate in providing workshops, a display and volunteers at the event.
  • 2016-17 Hawaiian Electric Companies Hawaii State High School and Middle School VEX Championships, featuring the high school event on Jan. 5, 2017 at Keaau High School on Hawaii Island, and the middle school event on Jan. 7, 2017 at Stevenson Middle School on Oahu. In these team-based games, first held in 2013, students must design, build and control their robots to participate in various skills challenges that demonstrate their grasp of STEM concepts. The event will qualify teams to participate in the 2017 Worlds VEX Championships.

To date in 2016, the Hawaiian Electric Companies have provided more than $60,000 in corporate contributions to advance STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) learning and enrichment programs for Hawaii students and educators, including math and science bowls, engineering and science fairs, education summits, robotic programs, and STEM projects and events.

Company employees also volunteer countless hours to provide student mentoring as well as staffing at robotic tournaments, science, engineering and math fairs, and other related events. Hawaiian Electric has supported STEM programs and initiatives in Hawaii for more than 30 years and contributed more than $1 million during that time.

Good Outdoor Ethics Encouraged as “POKEMON GO” Craze Impacts Hawaii

A DLNR Division of State Parks employee reports that two people searching for virtual reality Pokemon Go figures wandered into a sensitive heiau on Kauai where a cultural protocol was underway.

Pokemon Hawaii

DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “Unfortunately, we are quickly seeing unintended consequences of this new application by Google, in the outdoor issues that the hunt for Pokemon characters via digital devices can create, for both cultural and natural resources here in Hawai’i and elsewhere.”

In the first week since the release of Pokemon Go, the media has reported on two men walking off a cliff in California while using the app.  This increases the potential of increasing public safety and unauthorized access problems for local people and visitors venturing into our state parks, onto our trails and onto beaches, when paying attention to electronics rather than trails and signs.

This phenomenon provides a good opportunity to remind people to practice good outdoor ethics.  Curt Cottrell, DLNR Division of State Parks Administrator reminds folks heading into the outdoors:

  • Be safe.  Use electronic devices responsibly and in emergencies to call for help. Distracted hiking, like distracted driving, can lead to accidents.
  • Stay on designated trails.  Follow all signs and closures.  Do not trespass, or enter natural or cultural areas where access is prohibited.
  • Carry out what you carry in.  Leave no trace.

“We want and encourage people to enjoy all of the outstanding natural and cultural resources  Hawai’i has to offer.  Given the release of Pokemon Go, this is an opportune time to remind everyone that these resources can and should be enjoyed in a pono way,” Case concluded.

U.S. Senate Passes Hirono Resolution Honoring 100th Anniversary of Hawaii’s National Parks

The United States Senate passed a resolution authored by Senator Mazie K. Hirono honoring the 100th anniversaries of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii Island and Haleakala National Park on Maui. Senator Hirono’s resolution recognizes August 1 as “Hawaii Volcanoes and Haleakala National Parks Day.”

Volcano at night

“For the last century, residents of Hawaii, the United States, and the world have visited Haleakala National Park and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and gained a greater appreciation for the natural environment, the history of Hawaii, and Native Hawaiian culture,” said Senator Hirono. “I thank my colleagues for joining me in this effort, and encourage as many people as possible from across the nation to come to Hawaii to visit these national treasures.”

Senator Hirono’s resolution recognizes the economic, scientific, and cultural value of Hawaii’s national parks. In 2015, visitors to Haleakala National Park spent over $76 million in surrounding communities, supporting nearly 1,000 jobs. Visitors to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park spent over $151 million in areas around the park, and supported nearly 2,000 local jobs.