Ice-Capable NSF Research Vessel Launched

The R/V/ Sikuliaq is the U.S. academic fleet's first global class, ice-capable ship owned by the National Science Foundation. Its home port is the University of Alaska, Fairbanks’ Seward Marine Center in Seward, Alaska.

A highly capable new research vessel named the R/V Sikuliaq was successfully launched last week, the National Science Foundation announced. NSF invested nearly $200 million in the 261-foot ship built in Marinette, Wis. by Marinette Marine Corporation. Its double hull is designed to operate in Arctic sea ice and the open waters surrounding Alaska, but the ship can work effectively throughout the world's oceans, according to NSF, which says the ship will help researchers understand how the Arctic Ocean system is changing over time.

"R/V Sikuliaq is one of the most advanced research vessels in the world," said NSF Director Subra Suresh. "Its capabilities to operate in extreme ecosystems will serve the science and engineering research communities for decades to come, while providing opportunities for educators and students to learn first-hand about the Arctic environment."

Sikuliaq is an Inupiat word meaning "young sea ice." The ship's home port is the University of Alaska, Fairbanks' Seward Marine Center in Seward, Alaska, and its first science mission will begin in early 2014. "The name 'Sikuliaq' reflects both our Alaska heritage as well as our focus on Arctic research," said UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers.

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