OSU lands $3 Million grant to design three new oceanographic research vessels – later build them for a total of $300 million
OSU’s oceanographic research vessel Oceanus has been on the job for less than a year, and already plans are being made for its retirement in 2020. But in the meantime OSU has received a grant from the National Science Foundation to design THREE brand new oceanographic vessels averaging 175 feet in length each, one of which would be based here in Newport and sail the Pacific. One would ply the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the other in the Atlantic.
Here’s more from OSU:
OSU initially will receive nearly $3 million to coordinate the design phase of the project – and if funds are appropriated for all three vessels, the total grant is projected to reach $290 million over 10 years. The final number constructed, and the geographic positioning of these vessels, will be determined by the National Science Foundation based on geographic scientific requirements and availability of funding.
If all three vessels are built, it is likely that one would be positioned on the East Coast, West Coast and Gulf Coast, officials say.
A project team led by Oregon State’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences will finalize the design for the 175-foot long, technically enhanced Regional Class ships, select a shipyard, oversee construction, and coordinate the system integration, testing, commissioning and acceptance, and transition to operations.
“These will be floating, multi-use laboratories that are flexible and can be adapted for different scientific purposes, yet are more seaworthy and environmentally ‘green’ than previous research vessels,” said Mark Abbott, dean of the OSU College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. “These ships will be used to address critical issues related to climate change, ocean circulation, natural hazards, human health, and marine ecosystems.”
OSU vice president for research Rick Spinrad, who previously directed research programs for the U.S. Navy and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), said the new vessels would “revitalize and transform” coastal ocean science in the United States.
“Many of the most pressing issues facing our oceans are in these coastal regions, including acidification, hypoxia, tsunami prediction, declining fisheries, and harmful algal blooms,” Spinrad said. “Because of their flexibility, these new vessels will attract a broad range of users and will become ideal platforms to training early-career scientists and mariners.”