R/V Nathaniel B. Palmer
The R/V Nathaniel B. Palmer (NBP), completed in 1992, is 308 feet long and is ice-classed ABS-A2, capable of breaking three feet of level ice at three knots. The Palmer can accommodate 39 scientists and staff in one and two-person staterooms. Each stateroom has a television and computer network connection. The ship has a galley and a common dining area, conference room/library, lounge with audio and visual systems, a sauna, and an exercise room.
The RVIB Nathaniel B. Palmer is operated by Leidos ASC on a long-term charter from Offshore Service Vessels LLC, Galliano, Louisiana. ASC staffs the vessel with a charter representative to coordinate cruise planning and scheduling and with technical staff to support science operations. Offshore Service Vessels LLC provides the vessel master (captain), ice pilot, and crew.
In 1992, Edison Chouest Offshore Inc., Galliano, Louisiana (ECO), built and delivered this 94-meter research ship with icebreaking capability for use by the U.S. Antarctic Program for 10 years or more. The charter was extended and was effect until March 2017. The ship, Nathaniel B. Palmer, is a first-rate platform for global change studies, including biological, oceanographic, geological, and geophysical components. It can operate safely year-round in Antarctic waters that often are stormy or covered with sea ice. It accommodates 37 scientists, has a crew of 22, and is capable of 75-day missions.
The ship is named the Nathaniel B. Palmer to commemorate the American credited with first seeing Antarctica. The son of a Connecticut ship builder, Nathaniel B. Palmer (8 August 1799 - 21 June 1877) Palmer had a prosperous and adventurous life as a sealer and whaler, a sea captain, and a ship designer and builder. Some historians credit Palmer with the discovery of Antarctica, although others challenge this view. Nathaniel Brown Palmer, then 21 years old, commanded the 14-meter sloop Hero, which on 16 and 17 November 1820 entered Orleans Strait and came very close to the Antarctic Peninsula at about 63° 45' S. Later in his life, Palmer also won wealth and fame as a pioneer clipper ship master and designer.
Living arrangements on the NBP are comfortable, and consist of two bunks, a head and a shower. The Chief Scientist and Marine Projects Coordinator (MPC) cabins have dayrooms as well as the sleeping compartment. All cabins are equipped with a TV, stereo, telephone and a LAN jack for connection to the network. This network access includes the ability to connect to the ship's primary data acquisition computer system for viewing and logging data. With the exception of the Chief Scientist cabin on the 03, most grantee and all ASC berthing is on the 01 Deck, which is on the same level as the Sauna and Gym. Laundry facilities are provided on each level.
The 02 Lounge is open 24 hours a day for everyone's use and is stocked with more than 150 movies. A small book library is also housed in the 03 Conference Room for all to use. This is a donation-only library, so feel free to leave any books aboard that will lighten the load on the way home. They will be greatly appreciated. The Conference Room also has a TV which is open for use to all as well. Another lounge is available on the 04 Level.
The NBP's Workout Room is equipped for both weight and endurance training. A universal weight machine, treadmill, rowing machine and exercise bike occupy the weight room. Just across the passageway is a sauna for relaxing after a hard day's work or workout. This area is open 24 hours a day as well, but there are people sleeping 24 hours a day on the 01 Level. The Mess Hall is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is located all the way forward on the starboard side of the Main Deck. Please refrain from wearing greasy or dirty work clothes in the Mess. Edison Chouest provides vegetarian meals upon request.
The United States Antarctic Program (USAP) and Edison Chouest Offshore are committed to providing the safest possible environment for the ships’ crews, Antarctic Support Contract (ASC) staff, and grantees. Working at sea is inherently dangerous. This is especially true for those who are unfamiliar with the peculiarities of ships and shipboard life. While the goal is to provide the most useful seagoing platform possible for conducting scientific research, safety requirements are an overriding priority. Every person deploying to a research vessel must be aware of a number of specific safety issues.
There are two rigid lifeboats on board, one on the portside and one on the starboard side. If the captain orders an “Abandon Ship” personnel will be directed from your muster station to one of these lifeboats. Each lifeboat on the NBP is capable of carrying all personnel aboard the vessel.
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