Japanese shipper Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK)-operated Taharoa Destiny, a vessel dedicated to the transport of ironsand slurry, was recently awarded the Meteorological Agency's Director-General Award for the contribution the ship has made to meteorological business development by observing marine weather conditions and transmitting observation results over an extended period of time.
Every year, Japan’s minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MLIT), together with the director-general of the Japan Meteorological Agency, commend vessels that have participated in observing and reporting marine weather conditions. In fact, NYK-operated vessels received the MLIT's Minister Award and the Meteorological Agency's Director-General Award in 2005.
Taharoa Destiny, which was recognised this year, has been in operation since 2012 transporting 1.2 million tons of ironsand slurry annually from New Zealand to China and Japan.
A pipeline from shore is used to load this vessel by pumping the ironsand slurry into the vessel cargo holds. After the loading operation is completed, the water in the hold is discharged before the ship sails from port.
A press release said that NYK will continue to provide information on marine weather conditions to help ensure ship safety.
Because oceans cover 70 percent of the earth's surface, they greatly affect world weather. However, meteorological data on oceans is limited, which creates "blind spots" in the meteorological observation of the world.
Meteorological data collection by vessels sailing oceans helps compensate for the shortcomings of meteorological surveys. Not only is data collection encouraged by the UN's World Meteorological Organization (WMO), data collection is also stipulated in the International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS Convention) of the UN's International Maritime Organization (IMO).
The underlying concept is that vessels navigating oceans help collect information on weather conditions in the oceans, and in exchange, oceangoing ships receive weather data from meteorological agencies around the world.
The method for ships transmitting weather data is standardized. Observation results of wind direction, atmospheric pressure and temperature, water temperature, the height of sea swells, and the types and heights of clouds, are all converted into numerical codes. This information is then distributed throughout the world via WMO's international weather-data communication network. Based on such information, meteorological agencies around the globe compile meteorological data, such as weather charts, which are then fed back to traveling vessels.
Even vessels equipped with computers and other state-of-the-art devices need to be warned of dangerous weather conditions, such as typhoons and thick fog. On the other hand, even cutting-edge weather-forecast technology using the most sophisticated computers is of little use in the absence of meteorological data for vast oceans around the globe.
It may be said, therefore, that our day-to-day life on land, not to mention the safety of oceangoing vessels, benefits immeasurably from the ongoing cooperation between land and oceans in the observation of weather conditions