Military Sealift Command oceanographic survey ship USNS Pathfinder arrived in , , to pick up Ukrainian personnel and members of the U.S.-based Institute for Exploration for an upcoming at-sea capabilities demonstration with ’s Department of Underwater Heritage.
In April 2008, the Ukranian government invited the U.S. Navy’s 6th Fleet to demonstrate U.S. Navy hydrographic survey capabilities and to help search for SS Armenia, a sunken, World War II Soviet hospital ship.
During the at-sea demonstration, civilian surveyors from the Naval Oceanographic Office Institute for Exploration and Ukraine’s Department of Underwater Heritage will work together to search for the downed vessel.
“The Naval Oceanographic Office will be providing our state-of-the-art survey equipment,” said civilian Naval Oceanographic Office hydrographer Marian Clough. “We will also be providing oceanographic support to everyone involved.”
Pathfinder is one of seven oceanographic survey ships operated by the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command. These noncombatant ships are a unique part of the U.S. Navy’s fleet tasked with learning more about the world’s oceans and undersea environment.
“For the crew this is an opportunity to take the ship somewhere we have not been before, and that is always a very exciting event,” said Pathfinder’s civilian master Capt. Troy Erwin. “The data we will collect in Ukrainian territorial waters will improve the navigational accuracy of charts used in this area for many ships.”
In May 2008, Pathfinder collaborated with Estonian naval forces to search for Kaleva, a commercial aircraft that exploded over the Gulf of Finland after taking off from the airport in June 1940.