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Environmental crisis looms large for Singaporean container ship

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MV X-Press Pearl in flames.

An environmental crisis is unfolding off the coast of Sri Lanka.

Local authorities are dousing the flames on a Singaporean container ship, which is carrying chemicals and oil.

The container ship, MV X-Press Pearl, has been burning off the country’s west coast for over a week.

Dharshani Lahandapura is the chairperson of the Marine Environment Protection Authority, who said the fire intensified overnight.

“The fire has intensified and spread across the ship by Wednesday evening.”

Authorities have found oil spills around the vessel. But they are struggling to contain the fire due to the extreme heat and strong winds.

The container ship was carrying 300 tonnes of fuel, and over 25 tonnes of nitric acid. It was also carrying 1,486 containers.

Sri Lanka’s navy has deployed special patrols along the coast to avoid a further environmental crisis. But containers have fallen into the ocean and debris has started washing up over 10 kilometres away.

“We have warned the public not to collect items washed ashore from the ship as they could be mixed with chemicals,” Ms Lahandapura said.

But hundreds have already gathered across coastal areas to collect items that have washed ashore.

The fire broke out in the upper deck of the ship. But it has since spread to the quarterdeck, where a bridge is situated.

The vessel was travelling from the Indian port of Hazira back to Singapore. All crew members have safely arrived back on shore.

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Business

Jaguar Land Rover is developing a hydrogen-powered car

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Jaguar Land Rover will develop a new hydrogen-powered prototype of its iconic Defender SUV

The prototype program, known as Project Zeus, is part of JLR’s larger aim to only produce zero-tailpipe emissions vehicles by 2036.

Hydrogen only emits water making it ideal for larger vehicles with longer driving ranges, according to the car-maker.

It follows the company working towards cutting its tail-pipe emissions to zero by 2036.

The venture will be partly funded by the UK Government and will begin testing by the end of this year.

The UK plans to ban car sales that run entirely on combustion engines from 2030.

JLR has also made a commitment to have zero carbon emissions across its supply chain, products, and operations by 2039.

The automaker has also tapped AVL, Delta Motorsport, Marelli Automotive Systems, and the UK Battery Industrialization Center to help develop the prototype.

The testing program is designed to help engineers understand how a hydrogen powertrain can be developed that would meet the performance and capability (like towing and off-roading) standards that Land Rover customers expect.

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Climate

Climate change hot on the G7 agenda

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Climate Problems are forcing us to move

Climate change was hot on the agenda at last week’s G7 Summit in the United Kingdom.

To dissect the latest on the environment, Kristina Haverkamp from the German Energy Agency joined ticker Climate hosts, Holly Stearnes and Scott Hamilton.

Ms Haverkamp said the results from last week’s G7 Summit were “satisfactory”.

“Some say that not enough has been decided but I’ve started to see that as a pavlovian response to what’s been decided at the international level,” she explained.

Ms Haverkamp also said her company, dena, has played a fundamental role in Germany’s renewable future. But there is still a lot of work to do.

“The attitude of the German population is ambivalent. We have 80 to 90 percent support in principle… but at the same time there is strong global resistance that is delaying the necessary expansion of our high voltage transmission grids,” she said.

The G7 leaders – from the United Kingdom, United States, Italy, Germany, France Canada and Japan – have all committed to net zero emissions by 2050. G7 partners also signed a landmark joint agreement at the Summit last week.

President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen tweeted “we will do everything we can to stick to 1.5 [degrees].”

The G7 Summit comes ahead of the COP26, United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. 

ticker Climate airs Monday 4:15pm AEST, or 2:15am EDT.

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Climate

New GPS tracker tech puts whales on the radar

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Experts say the GPS tracker will pave the way for less-invasive methods of wildlife tracking

Dr Olaf Meynecke from Griffith University’s Coastal and Marine Research Centre (CMRC) shows the new device.

An Australian researcher has developed a world-first GPS technology which will make it easier to track whales in real-time, right from their phone.

Dr Olaf Meynecke from Griffith University’s Coastal and Marine Research Centre (CMRC) led the study. He says the tech could provide important environmental insights. His team will be focusing on coastal and the fine-scale movement of the whales.

“One application will be in resting and breeding areas of species like humpback whales, which use coastal waters and link behaviour to today’s threats such as vessel traffic, water pollution and risk of entanglements,” he told Ticker NEWS.

Advancements in technology

“IT OPENS NEW WAYS OF TRACKING ANIMALS,” MEYNECKE TOLD TICKERNEWS LIVE.

This technology will be a far cheaper option than traditional satellite transmission, and will be able to work on a mobile network. This means the technology is suitable for both short-term and long-term tracking.

“I believe this technology to have a lot of potential as the mobile network is extending and we will undertake further modification to improve the tag design itself. We are planning more deployments along the east coast of Australia and have longer deployments aiming for several days.”

Customised Animal Tracking Solutions

MEYNECKE TELLS TICKERNEWS BRITTANY COLES, WHAT HE HOPES THE TRACKING DEVICE TECHNOLOGY WILL ACHIEVE.

It will monitor migrating humpback whales using a CATS (Customised Animal Tracking Solutions) suction cup tag. The CATs device temporarily attaches to the whale’s skin.

Suction cup tags do not have to penetrate the animals’ skin. Therefore, researchers can use them for short-term and small-scale studies. This GPS technology is usually used in cars and cargo ships.

“These tags are a more cost-effective method and capture more data locations and data points over time. The principle is the same as other suction cup tags. The tag sucks onto the whale’s skin and just falls off. The whales don’t seem to notice them at all,” Dr Meynecke said.  
“wE’RE INTERESTED IN NEAR SHORE WATERS” MEYNECKE TOLD TICKERNEWS LIVE.

The tags are about 20cm long and 10cm wide. They are hydrodynamic for minimal resistance, with water-tight protections.

“Ideally for future studies, we would like to modify the tag so that the antennae is out of the water enough to transmit after the tag comes off the whale,” Dr Meynecke said. 

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