The 274-foot R/V Thomas G. Thompson is a global-class research ship that is part of the UNOLS fleet. The Thompson is owned by the Office of Naval Research and is operated by the University of Washington's School of Oceanography. The ship has 22 crew members and officers and room for up to 36 scientists and 2 marine technicians.
The Thompson is similar to a small city in that it is self contained with food stores that can supply the crew for >45 days, desalinators that produce 8,000 gallons of fresh water each day, and generators that produce power to run the ship, provide lighting and power for laboratories, communications, and navigation equipment. The ship uses the Global Positioning System (GPS) integrated with dynamic positioning (DP) to hold station within 1-2 meters.
During the VISIONS'13 expedition, many tons of equiment will be loaded onto the back deck of the Thompson, known as the faintail. The gear includes the robotic vehicle ROPOS, an array of junction boxes and drums of extension cables to be deployed on the seafloor, and instruments that include an HD camera that will be installed at Axial Volcano. The ship arrives nearly empty at the UW dock, but will be completely full of engineering and science equipment by the end of the three day mobilization. Twenty undrgraduates and graduate students will participate in all at-sea activities, mentored by nine scientists and educators. They will work side-by-side scientists and engineers during the cruise.
Visit the R/V Thompson's homepage for more information on the research vessel.