Research Vessel Sikuliaq embarking on first saltwater voyage

Research Vessel Sikuliaq in May 2014

Research Vessel Sikuliaq in May 2014. Photo by Val Ihde.

The newest ship in the U.S. research fleet will be getting its first sip of saltwater soon. The Research Vessel Sikuliaq is expected leave the Great Lakes this weekend on its first voyage out to sea. The ship will travel from Cleveland, Ohio to the Atlantic Ocean via the St. Lawrence Seaway. Communities along the route are encouraged to watch for the ship and take snapshots.

Over the next few days, Sikuliaq will cross Lake Erie to Port Colborne, Ontario, and make a quick stop in Montreal, Quebec before sailing out to the Atlantic Ocean. Its destination is Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute near Falmouth, Mass. for additional science equipment installations.

Chancellor with Sikuliaq

University of Alaska Fairbanks Chancellor Brian Rogers and his wife Sherry Modrow with the R/V Sikuliaq October 2012. Photo by Todd Paris.

Share photos of your Sikuliaq sightings with us on Twitter (@sikuliaq), Instagram (rvsikuliaq) or Facebook (R/V Sikuliaq) for a chance to win Sikuliaq promotional items. Post your photos tagged #SKQselfie from now through July 31 to be entered in a daily drawing by the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. The current location of the ship can be found using the MarineTraffic website.

The 261-foot vessel, owned by the National Science Foundation and operated by the University of Alaska Fairbanks, was specially designed for conducting polar and sub-polar research. It is the only ship in the U.S. academic fleet capable of breaking through sea ice up to 2.5 feet thick. The ship will allow researchers to collect sediment samples directly from the seafloor, host remotely operated vehicles, and use a suite of winches to raise and lower testing equipment throughout the water column.

The first research cruises are scheduled to begin in October in the Pacific Ocean. The ship is expected to arrive in Alaska waters in February. A commissioning ceremony is scheduled for March 2015 in Seward, Alaska.

NSF announced funding for the vessel five years ago as the first major project funded from NSF’s portion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The total cost for the project is $200 million. The ship was designed by The Glosten Associates, marine architects located in Seattle, and built by Marinette Marine Corp. of Marinette, Wis.

CONTACT: Sharice Walker, 907-474-7208, Public Information Officer, UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Science

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