Previous | Index | Next

The Columbia Press

Top News

OSU's new ship will conduct research off Oregon Coast

Officials from Oregon State University and the National Science Foundation toured the shipyard building the campus' new research vessel in Houma, La. (Justin Smith/OSU)
By Sean Nealon, University of Oregon, Thursday, November 29, 2018

Construction of a new research ship for Oregon State University began this month in Houma, La.

The 199-foot vessel is expected to help the school’s researchers and students advance the science of coastal environments and support research on topics such as ocean acidification, hypoxia and sea level rise.

A student and a teacher from Warrenton High School joined OSU scientists in September aboard another of the campus’ research vessels, the Oceanus.

The ship that’s under construction will be the first in a class of Regional Class Research Vessels funded by the National Science Foundation.

The ship will be christened “Taani,” a word used by the Siletz people meaning “offshore.” It’s scheduled for delivery to OSU in spring 2021 and will be fully operational after a year of outfitting and testing.

Research missions utilizing Taani will focus on the West Coast.

The National Science Foundation has contracted with the school to build a second similar research vessel, which will be operated by a consortium led by the University of Rhode Island.

“This new class of modern vessels will support future research focused on the physical, chemical, biological and geologic processes in coastal waters,” said Roberta Marinelli, dean of Oregon State’s College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences. “This research is critical to informing strategies for coastal resilience, food security, and hazard mitigation not only in the Pacific Northwest but around the world.”

The ships will be equipped to conduct detailed sea-floor mapping to reveal geologic structures important to understanding processes such as subduction zone earthquakes that may trigger tsunamis.

Taani will have a range of more than 5,000 nautical miles, with berths for 16 scientists and 13 crew members, a cruising speed of 11.5 knots and a maximum speed of 13 knots. The ship will be able to stay out at sea for about 21 days before returning to port, and will routinely send streams of sensor data to shore via satellite.

In 2013, the NSF selected Oregon State to lead the design, shipyard selection, construction and transition to operations phases for as many as three new regional class vessels for the U.S. Academic Research Fleet. Subsequently, the National Science Board authorized as much as $365 million for the project as part of the foundation’s Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction portfolio.

During the summer of 2017, the National Science Foundation awarded OSU a grant of $121.88 million to launch the construction of the first vessel, representing the largest grant in the university’s history. This past summer, the grant was supplemented with an additional $88 million, allowing Gulf Island Shipyards in Louisiana to proceed with the contract for the second vessel.

Officials from Oregon State University and the National Science Foundation toured the shipyard building the campus' new research vessel in Houma, La. (Justin Smith/OSU)

Officials from Oregon State University and the National Science Foundation toured the shipyard building the campus' new research vessel in Houma, La. (Sean Nealon/OSU)


Previous | Index | Next