University of Rhode Island has announced that it has been selected by the NSF to operate the second RCRV. Congratulations to them and welcome to the team! We’re looking forward to working closely with URI to ensure that we deliver them a ship suited to the work they’ll be doing in the Atlantic and that part of the world. The rendering currently shows it as blue. Will it be blue? Or white? Or blue and white? That’s up to them. We’ll see.
I should point out that OSU has actually been working with URI (and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) since the mid-70’s operating the Oceanus class. Though the same class and nearly identical at delivery, the ships diverged significantly over the years. Oceanus added a deck. Wecoma got a bit longer. And Endeavor added a deck AND got longer. But they continued to share a common propellor and drive shaft. The institutions took turns providing maintenance for these and sort of passed around the good one. When Wecoma was retired in 2012, the drive shaft and propellor was removed and added to the spare parts pool mostly obviating the need to ship parts around after that.
To date, we have worked closely with URI to help develop our Datapresence concept. They have been pioneers in the use “Telepresence” at sea, collaborating with Dr. Bob Ballard of Titanic finding fame and having success recently in helping with the extraordinary find of the “Black Box” from the ill-fated El Faro. They have also participated in the project’s Science Oversight Committee— a group of scientists from around the country representing different disciplines who have provided a voice for the nation’s science community to ensure that our ships met their needs.
What about the operator for vessel 3? I actually don’t know… so don’t ask me. But all things in good time…. First, Congress needs to pass a budget for FY19. That budget needs to contain funding for NSF to award to OSU to start the contract option for the third ship. After those ducks are in a row (or was that just one duck?), NSF will most likely be confident enough to make an announcement for a 3rd ship operator. They apparently received plenty of proposals to support that route (though again, I was not part of that process whatsoever). It should be noted that NSF has said in the past that a 3rd ship would most likely be operated out of the Gulf Coast. Just sayin…
But for now, congratulations again to URI! We’re looking forward to building you a great ship!
Thanks again for reading. Feel free to subscribe using the link above. Until next time… stay cool this summer. Especially you OSU guys down in Houma!