The newly constructed aluminum research and survey vessel, R/V Shearwater, both a research platform and classroom at sea, is expected to dock by the end of November at the Duke University Marine Lab in Beaufort.
After decades of service, the university’s 135-foot Cape Hatteras was retired in 2012, and the 50-foot Susan Hudson was retired in 2014.
While the university does have two smaller research vessels for daylong trips, these vessels are not equipped to travel longer distances offshore or able to support overnight operations. The newly constructed 77-foot catamaran will enable faculty and students to travel several hundred nautical miles offshore and to stay at sea for several days, which will expand expand teaching, research and outreach capabilities at the marine lab, Professor Andy Read, director of the marine lab, said.
The University in July 2017 received a gift of $11 million to fund a new research vessel, which was constructed by All American Marine, Inc. based Bellingham, Washington, where the vessel launched Sept. 26.
On Oct. 6, Duke Marine Lab lab took over delivery and ownership of the research vessel, currently on a larger ship being transported from the west coast through the Panama Canal. The vessel will arrive in Southern Florida before being brought up the east coast to its final destination of Beaufort, North Carolina.
The fully equipped oceanographic research vessel has state-of-the-art scientific support infrastructure and equipment and includes a dry lab, wet lab, galley, dining table and settee, head and stateroom, scientific and trawl winches used for deploying and recovering scientific equipment, a crane for loading and discharging the vessel, a 16-foot auxiliary boat and an outdoor space for meetings, meals and R&R, Read said.
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