Louisiana yard to build two oceanographic ships for NOAA

The NOAA research ship Ronald H. Brown (Photo: NOAA)

The US Navy has awarded Thoma-Sea Marine Constructors of Houma, Louisiana, a contract for the design and construction of two new oceanographic ships that will be operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The first ship, to be named Oceanographer, will be homeported in Honolulu. The second ship, to be named Discoverer, will be assigned a homeport at a future date.

The new ships will support a wide variety of missions, ranging from general oceanographic research and exploration to marine life, climate and ocean ecosystem studies. These missions include shallow coastal, continental shelf, and worldwide ocean survey and data collection.

Designed as single-hull ships, Oceanographer and Discoverer will be built to commercial standards. They will each be fitted with high efficiency, environmentally friendly EPA Tier IV diesel engines, emissions controls for stack gases, new information technology tools for monitoring shipboard systems, and underwater scientific research and survey equipment.

The ships will be equipped to launch workboats, perform maintenance on buoys and moorings, deploy scientific instruments to collect weather and water column data, and conduct seafloor mapping surveys. Each vessel will operate with a crew of 20 and will accommodate up to 28 scientists.

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