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U.S. Navy Christens And Launches Trinity-Built Oceanographic Ships

R/V Atlantis, the U.S. Navy's newest oceanographic ship, was christened and launched on February 1, 1996, at Halter Marine Inc., of Moss Point, Miss. When completed in the spring of 1997, the 274-ft. (83.5-m) Atlantis will be operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Woods Hole, Mass., as a general purpose, all-season, oceanographic ship in coastal and deep ocean waters.

John W. Douglas, assistant secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition, was the principal speaker. U.S. Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division Anne K. Bingaman, spouse of Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), was the ship's sponsor. Her matron of honor was Dr.

Suzanne H . Woolsey, chief operating officer of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council. Atlantis will be the new support vessel for the manned submersible Alvin, also operated by WHOI.

The three-person Alvin is reportedly the nation's most active deepdiving submersible, with more than 3,000 dives to depths as low as 15,000 ft. (4,572 m). In addition, Atlantis will also support unmanned, tethered and autonomous exploration vehicles, including WHOI's own Jason I Medea imaging and survey system and its new Autonomous Benthic Explorer, both of which can reportedly reach 98 percent of the world's ocean floor.

Typical scientific missions of Atlantis will include physical, chemical and biological oceanography, multi-discipline environmental investigations, ocean engineering, marine acoustics, marine geology and geophysics, in addition to survey tasks such as bathymetry and magnetometry.

Atlantis has a diesel-electric propulsion system with three 715- kW and three 1,500-kW diesel generators integrated to provide pow- er for propulsion and ship service electrical systems. The ship is equipped with a dynamic positioning system which reportedly provides automated precision trackline and station keeping capability. The system uses data from a global positioning system, an acoustic vertical reference system, the gyrocompass and a wind sensor system to control the ship. Woods Hole will operate the ship under the University of National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS), sponsored by the office of the Chief of Naval Research, U.S. Navy.

Halter Marine, Inc., is part of the Trinity Marine Group, Gulfport, Miss., which is owned by Trinity Industries, Inc., Dallas, Texas. The group includes 21 shipyards in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Tennessee and Missouri. For more information on Halter Marine Circle 4 5 on Reader Service Card

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