The global class research ship the R/V Atlantis will be utilized on the Regional Cabled Array, Ocean Observatories Initiative cruise May 29-July 9, 2019, funded by the National Science Foundation. Credit: University of Washington.

Maintenance of the Regional Cabled Array (RCA) requires an annual cruise, which typically takes place in June to August, which are the optimal weather window months for working offshore in the NE Pacific. A global class research ship that is part of the University National Oceanographic Laboratory system is required for this work due to the amount of infrastructure turned each year, diverse staffing needs (UW engineers and scientists, and remotely operated vehicle and ship teams). The ships typically include the AGOR Class (23-24) vessels (>270 ft in length), owned by the Office of Naval Research and operated under party agreements to specific institutions (i.e the R/V Thompson, University of Washington; the R/V Roger Revelle, Scripps Institution of Oceanography; and the R/V Atlantis, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution). The ships include berthing for ~ 36 members of the science team and ~20 ship crew. The main installation cruise in 2014 for the RCA, during the National Science Foundations’ Major Research Equipment and Facilities construction phase of the program, was 85 days. Typically maintenance cruises are ~35-45 days, broken into three legs with a few days between the legs in port for mobilization and demobilization of equipment and changing out of some personnel. Transit speeds out to the work sites are generally 10-12 knots depending on weather.

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