VT Halter Marine, Inc., a subsidiary of Vision Technologies Systems, Inc.,
announced that it will build another fisheries survey vessel
(FSV) for the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA exercised an option for about $30
million to build the fourth planned vessel under an existing contract. Construction will
begin in 2006 with delivery planned during the second half of 2008.
VT Halter Marine designed the 208-ft. FSVs in accordance with strict guidelines
for acoustic quieting set by the International Council for Exploration of the Seas. The
first ship in the class—Oscar Dyson—was delivered to NOAA on Jan. 5, 2005, and is
one of the most technologically advanced fisheries ships in the world. It operates out of
Kodiak, Alaska. The second ship—Henry B. Bigelow—was launched on July 8, 2005,
and is expected to be delivered to NOAA in mid-2006. It will be home ported in New
England. Construction began on the third ship in the class, FSV 3, in July 2005; this
ship, yet to be named, is expected to be delivered in late 2007. It will initially be home
ported in Pascagoula, Miss. These NOAA sister ships, with cutting-edge low acoustic
signatures, will have the ability to perform hydro-acoustic surveys of fish. They will also
be able to conduct bottom and mid-water trawls while running physical and biologicaloceanographic
sampling during a single deployment--a combined capability unavailable
in the private sector.
When completed, the fourth ship will be home ported on the West Coast; a
specific location has not yet been determined.