Scene on the Sound: What it means when there's nothing there

Friday, July 20, 2018

Marine app says there's
nothing to see here
By Jan Hansen

I once had the privilege of being onboard one of our Ohio Class submarines, the USS Alaska SSBN-732. We were underway, and I glanced down at the coffee in my cup. The surface was perfectly still. These submarines make no noise. Appropriate ocean sounds are broadcast, so that these vessels won’t be detected by a submarine shaped hole of silence moving through the waters

My kitchen window gives a view of the Shoreline Sea, a very busy section of the marine highway.

I now notice what I don’t see.

When the traffic is cleared, when even the ferries that run between Edmonds and Kingston are held at their docks, I look for a special military vessel coming through. The Marine Traffic app covers the globe. I routinely zoom into our area to identify ships.

Marine Traffic shows a large empty section, not the usual busy corridor, when these special ships are moving.

Emptiness draws my attention to find the unreported vessel, an aircraft carrier, a destroyer, a submarine, etc. This morning it is a submarine. 

But this is the view for Shoreline residents
Photo by Jan Hansen

My mind plays with the idea of integrating random “ghost” vessels into the Google monitoring, a parallel to the generated sounds for our submarines.


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