July 12, 2005
VT Halter Marine launches second NOAA ship
VT Halter Marine, Inc. and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently launched the second of four planned NOAA fisheries survey vessels. The ship was christened Henry B. Bigelow.
The christening was termed "a significant milestone in the modernization of our NOAA fleet," by retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher Jr., Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.
He said the ship "was an important asset as we carry out NOAA's mission to assess and protect the nation's living marine resources" and said the vessel and and its sister ships will provide higher quality data to fisheries managers about targeted fish populations and the environment that sustains them."
The ship is named for oceanographer Henry B. Bigelow who worked as a researcher, instructor and professor of zoology at Harvard from 1906 to 1962. He was also a founder of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 1931.
The vessel is the second of four planned 208 ft. fisheries survey vessels to be built by VT Halter Marine that will either augment or replace aging ships in the NOAA fleet.
Its capabilities will far exceed those of older NOAA ships.
It has been built to meet specific data collection requirements of NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service as well as to meet tough standards for a low acoustic signature set by the International Council for Exploration of the Seas. This feature will allow the ship to study fish quietly without altering their behavior. After calibration, the vessel will replace Albatross IV, and will be home ported in New England
Construction of the third fisheries survey vessel has started at VT Halter Marine's Moss Point shipyard. The third vessel's base cost exceeds $39 million. It will be home ported in Pascagoula, Miss.
"VT Halter Marine has a proven global track record of designing and constructing ships that meet our clients' specific requirements. We are delighted to be working with NOAA on this sophisticated new class of quiet fisheries survey vessels that will greatly increase NOAA's technical capabilities at sea," said Boyd E. King, CEO of VT Halter Marine, Inc.