[MARMAM] update on ziphius mass stranding in the Ionian Sea

Jasny, Michael mjasny at nrdc.org
Fri Dec 2 03:04:20 PST 2011

Dear all,


I have some additional information on activities taking place in the
Ionian Sea that may be associated with yesterday's mass stranding.


>From November 27 through today (Dec. 2), the Italian Navy has been
conducting a major exercise known as "Mare Aperto" in the
central-southern Tyrrhenian, Ionian, and southern Adriatic.   The
exercise includes maritime surveillance and force projection from the
sea.  In past years, Mare Aperto has involved as many as 12 ships
including frigates and aircraft carriers.


At least one of the participating ships in this year's exercise is an
Italian Maestrale-class frigate called the Scirocco.  The Maestrale
class is reportedly equipped with two active sonar systems: the
hull-mounted DE 1160B, which, according to Jane's Underwater Warfare, is
basically identical to the U.S. Navy's AN/AQS-56; and VDS DE 1164, which
is a variable-depth version of the same system.


Of course, the exercise covered a wide area, and we don't yet know how
closely it may be correlated in space and time with the mass strandings.
All possible causes, including other anthropogenic noise sources, should
be investigated.  But I would urge ACCOBAMS, and anyone with contacts in
the region, to request specific information from the Italian Navy on the
nature, timing, and location of activities associated with Mare Aperto,
including the use of active acoustic systems.


Best to all,




Michael Jasny

Senior Policy Analyst

Natural Resources Defense Council

4479 W. 5th Avenue

Vancouver, BC  V6R1S4

tel. 604-736-9386

mob. 310-560-5536

fax 310-434-2399

mjasny at nrdc.org 



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