In the past year, Cascade General Inc. of Portland, Ore., has completed refurbishing one research ship
for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and begun work on a second ship.
"Refurbishing these ships is a win-win situation," said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher Jr., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. "NOAA gains two modernized ships to help carry out its survey and science missions, while helping to create jobs and stimulate the economy in Portland." Lautenbacher recently visited the shipyard to see how work was progressing on the NOAA ship Fairweather.
Fairweather is a hydrographic survey ship first
commissioned in 1968, but has been inactive for more than 12 years. Cascade General began modernizing the ship on February 10, 2003. The $15.5 million contract is expected to be completed in February 2004. Between 80-100 Cascade General employees
are working on the renovation. Fairweather will operate from its new homeport in Ketchikan, Alaska, conducting hydrographic surveys for NOAA's nautical charting program.
A contract for renovation and conversion of the NOAA ship Nancy Foster, a former Navy yard torpedo test craft, was awarded to Cascade General on November 20, 2001. After being refurbished at a total cost of $7.7 million, the ship departed the shipyard on December 23, 2002.
Since becoming operational, Nancy Foster has been conducting coastal oceanographic research along the East Coast.