NOAA issues third new nautical chart for the Arctic

Chart aids safe shipping from Delong Mountain Terminal

July 7, 2014

Delong old

Vessels approaching Delong Terminal have been using this chart to supplement older NOAA chart 16005. Note the lack of soundings outside the lane. (Click for a high resolution image. Credit: NOAA)

NOAA has issued a new nautical chart for the Delong Mountain Terminal, a shallow draft port servicing the Red Dog Mine, one of the world’s largest producers of zinc concentrate, on the western coast of Alaska in the Arctic.

New chart 16145 fills in historically sparse depth measurements, using new survey data recently acquired specifically for this chart.

“This chart is important to the Arctic economy, providing navigational intelligence for the vessels shipping zinc and lead concentrate from Red Dog Mine and offers vastly more navigational information than the only other available chart of the area,” said Rear Admiral Gerd Glang, director of NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey. “The shipping season from the terminal only lasts about 100 days, so maritime efficiency is vital, and this chart will improve shipping safety during that time.”

Red Dog Mine is about 50 miles inland. The terminal uses self-loading barges to ferry the ore concentrates to the deep draft ships anchored several miles offshore.

Delong new chart

New NOAA chart 16145 (partial view) fills in sparse depth measurements throughout the area approaching Delong Terminal, giving mariners information they need if they have to transit outside the traditional lane. (Click for a high resolution image. Credit: NOAA)

Previously, the only official nautical chart available to transit the nearshore area was the 1:700,000 scale chart 16005, which shows one depth measurement within three nautical miles of the approach to Delong Mountain Terminal. New NOAA chart 16145 offers a much more usable 1:40,000 scale coverage, with updated shoreline measurements and newly acquired NOAA hydrographic information. It shows dozens of depth measurements, representative of thousands of soundings, to give the mariner accurate depths for navigation.

This is NOAA’s third new Arctic chart issued in the past three years. Chart 16161 (ENC US5AK97) for Alaska’s Kotzebue Harbor were issued in 2012, and chart 16190 (ENCs US4AK8D and US5AK8D) for Bering Strait North were issued in 2013.

NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey is the nation’s nautical chartmaker. Originally formed by President Thomas Jefferson in 1807, Coast Survey updates charts, surveys the coastal seafloor, responds to maritime emergencies, and searches for underwater obstructions that pose a danger to navigation. Follow Coast Survey on Twitter @nauticalcharts, and check out the NOAA Coast Survey blog at noaacoastsurvey.wordpress.com for more in depth coverage of surveying and charting.

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