AGOR 23 Thompson
Oceanographic Research Ship
These research ships provide general purpose oceanographic research capabilities in coastal and deep ocean areas. They are capable of collecting oceanographic, acoustic and geophysical data and have the speed and endurance to meet worldwide ocean research and data collection requirements year round. The ships are 274 feet in length, have a beam of 53 feet and displace 3,250 tons fully loaded.
The mission of the Oceanographic Research Ship (AGOR 23 class) is to provide general purpose oceanographic research capabilities in coastal and deep ocean areas. Typical scientific missions will include: Physical, Chemical and Biological Oceanography; Multi-discipline Environmental Investigations; Ocean Engineering and Marine Acoustics; and Marine Geology and Geophysics. In addition to these scientific roles, the AGOR 23 is also be called upon to perform survey tasks (bathymetry, gravimetry, and magnetometry) in deep ocean and coastal areas.
To carry out the mission, the AGOR 23 is capable of performing the following tasks: Oceanographic sampling and data collection of surface, midwater and sea floor parameters using state-of-the-art scientific instrumentation; Launch, recovery and towing of scientific packages, both tethered and autonomous, including the handling, monitoring and servicing of remotely operated vehicles; Shipboard data processing and sample analyses in modern well-equipped scientific laboratories; Precise navigation and station keeping and track-line maneuvering to support deep sea and coastal surveys.
Design and outfitting provide for rapid scientific payload changes and for ship turnarounds and redeployments. This includes optimum access to work and storage areas, and laboratory facilities to permit changeout of electronics and other laboratory internal equipment.
The choice of shipboard hull and machinery systems, their location and their installation minimize interference with the operation of shipboard scientific acoustic systems. All radiators and receptors of electromagnetic energy and related electronics on the AGOR 23 are designed and installed to ensure electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and to avoid hazards of electromagnetic radiation to personnel (HERP) and fuels (HERF).
The objective of the AGOR 23 Ship Acquisition Program was to acquire an oceanographic research ship to meet worldwide ocean research and data collection requirements. The 274-ft. Auxiliary General Oceanographic Research (AGOR) 23-class vessels are equipped with the latest oceanographic and scientific equipment and instruments, and have almost 4,000 square feet of laboratory space. With an endurance of more than 11,000 nautical miles at 12 knots, they have the speed, endurance, and seakeeping capabilities needed to meet worldwide research and data collection needs. The AGOR 23 was built to commercial standards and complied with all the applicable laws of the United States and the requirements of the regulatory bodies, American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), 46 CFR Subchapter U (Oceanographic Ships), Public Health Service and Federal Communications Commission, in force at the time of delivery. Design included emphasis on economy of operation. Because of limitations of potential operating institutions' berthing facilities, the ship could not exceed a draft of 17 feet and a length overall of 275 feet. Compliance with the General Specifications for Ships of the U.S. Navy, NAVSEA Technical Manuals, or other military requirements, was not required.
The Department of the Navy christened the Oceanographic Research Ship, R/V Roger Revelle (AGOR-24), during a ceremony at 1 p.m., Thursday, April 20, 1995, at Halter Marine, Moss Point, Mississippi. The Roger Revelle was the first of three ships under contract with Halter Marine. The Roger Revelle and AGOR 25, upon delivery, are managed by the Office of Naval Research (ONR). These ships are operated by the Scripps Institute of Oceanography and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, respectively. Roger Revelle is named after the late Roger R. D. Revelle (1909-1991), a renowned oceanographer. A distinguished university researcher and professor, wartime naval officer and officer in charge of the oceanographic section of the Bureau of Ships (now Naval Sea Systems Command), Dr. Revelle established the Office of Naval Research and headed its Geophysics Branch; directed the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in La Jolla, California; and founded the University of California at San Diego. After World War II, he confirmed the Navy's role in funding oceanographic expeditions by assisting in the conversion of Navy ships to research vessels.
The RONALD H. BROWN is the third ship built under a contract to build one ship for the Navy-funded university fleet with options to build two additional ships. The contract was awarded competitively to Halter Marine by the Naval Sea Systems Command. The first and second ships are operated by Scripps Institute of Oceanography and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Through an agreement with the Navy, NOAA exercised the option in February 1994 to build a ship for the NOAA fleet. The RONALD H. BROWN is operated and managed by the Office of NOAA Corps Operations, which consists of NOAA Corps commissioned officers and civilian staff. It was the first ship the Commerce agency had built in more than 16 years, and replaced one of two aging oceanographic ships retired later in 1996.
The need for a next-generation research vessel in the NOAA fleet, to replace the 60's era vessels OCEANOGRAPHER, DISCOVERER, and RESEARCHER (later renamed MALCOLM BALDRIGE), was first recognized in the NOAA Fleet Modernization Program in the early 1990's. The opportunity to acquire a new vessel through an existing contract for the Naval AGOR 24-Class ships was recognized as the best option to meet the needs of the NOAA fleet. The new NOAA AGOR-24 was originally intended to be named RESEARCHER, following the tradition of the original NOAA Class I fleet. However, on April 3rd, 1996, the untimely death of Ronald H. Brown, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce and an ardent supporter of the NOAA fleet, gave cause to the memorial action of naming the new ship in his memory.
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