The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is seeking proposals from US shipbuilders to design and build two new ocean survey vessels for the agency.
The new vessels will primarily be used to meet NOAA requirements for coastal, continental shelf and deep ocean data collection.
The RFP, which opened today and closes August 16, 2022, requests proposals for a firm fixed price contract for two vessels, with options for NOAA to purchase two additional vessels from the same design. The successful bidder will be responsible for both the design and construction of the new vessels.
“NOAA ships play a vital role in the safety of navigation, commerce, marine resource management and ocean exploration,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D. “The addition of new American-built vessels to NOAA’s fleet will dramatically increase our ability to deliver critical data to protect lives and livelihoods and strengthen the new blue economy.”
According to NOAA requirements, new vessels must have the capability to transport, deploy and recover multiple manned and unmanned vessels to support nautical charting and seabed survey missions. They must also be able to accommodate 48 people, made up of commissioned officers, professional civilian crew members, scientists and other personnel. In line with NOAA’s goal of achieving net zero emissions for its fleet of ships by 2050, new ships must also incorporate the latest technologies, including high-efficiency, eco-friendly EPA Tier IV diesel engines. environment and emission controls.
“These new vessels will be equipped with state-of-the-art ocean data collection systems that will allow us to map, chart, survey and explore the ocean in unprecedented detail,” said the counter. Admiral Nancy Hann, director of the NOAA office. Marine and Aviation Operations (OMAO), which is responsible for the operation, management and maintenance of NOAA ships.
NOAA expects to award the contract for this acquisition in 2023 and to take delivery of the first two vessels by 2027. The agency has not yet assigned a homeport for these new vessels.
This acquisition represents the second phase of NOAA’s fleet recapitalization effort. Thoma-Sea Marine Constructors in Houma, Louisiana is currently building two new oceanographic vessels for NOAA, Oceanographer and Discoverer. These ships are expected to join the NOAA fleet in 2025 and 2026, respectively.
NOAA’s fleet of research and survey vessels consists of 15 vessels, according to the OMAO website. NOAA ships are manned by NOAA Corps officers and civilian professional sailors. Each year, NOAA ships collect essential data for nautical charts, sustainable fisheries management, marine mammal protection, storm surge modeling, climate research and economic zone exploration. exclusive 4.3 million square miles of the country.