New ship will support NOAA marine research on U.S. West Coast.
NOAA Ship Reuben Lasker will assess fish stocks and study other marine life, including marine mammals and sea turtles, on the U.S. West Coast. Credit: Val Ihde, Marinette Marine Corp.
Marinette Marine Corporation (MMC), a Fincantieri company, on June 16 launched the Reuben Lasker, a fisheries survey vessel that the Wisconsin shipyard is building for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Pamela A. Lasker, the daughter of the ship’s namesake and its sponsor, christened the ship before the 208-ft. vessel was side-launched into the Menominee River.
“When completed, the Reuben Lasker will strengthen NOAA’s ability to collect and deliver vital information about our fish stocks and the health of our oceans,” said Eric Schwaab, assistant administrator for NOAA Fisheries, who attended today’s launch. “In addition to providing critical jobs here in Marinette during construction, scientific information from this ship will support future fishing jobs in our coastal communities for decades to come.”
Funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Reuben Lasker is the fifth in a series of Oscar Dyson-class ships built for the agency. The ship will be equipped with the latest technology for fisheries and oceanographic research, including advanced navigation systems, acoustic sensors, and scientific sampling gear. The Reuben Lasker will primarily support fish, marine mammals and turtle surveys off the U.S. West Coast and in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.
The high-tech ship is also engineered to produce much less noise than other survey vessels, allowing scientists to study fish populations and collect oceanographic data with fewer effects on fish and marine mammal behavior.
The new vessel is named after the late Dr. Reuben Lasker, a pioneering fisheries biologist who served as the director of the NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center’s coastal fisheries division and as adjunct professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego. Dr. Lasker directed a renowned research group that focused on the survival and transition of young fish to adulthood, a topic with implications for fisheries management throughout the world.
The Reuben Lasker will be operated, managed and maintained by NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations, which includes commissioned officers of the NOAA Corps, one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and civilian wage mariners. The ship will primarily support NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center. The construction of the vessel is a vital part of NOAA’s effort to revitalize and operate its fleet of research vessels for fisheries management, climate studies and hydrographic surveys.
About Marinette Marine Corporation
MMC was established in 1942 and since that time has designed and built over 1500 vessels for a wide range of government and commercial customers, including 1300 vessels for the U.S. Navy and 56 for the USCG. Other current MMC programs include the construction of the U.S. Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), a high-speed, leading-edge technology ship; the University of Alaska, Fairbanks — Alaska Regional Research Vessel (ARRV); and the NOAA Fisheries Survey Vessel Reuben Lasker. MMC is owned by Fincantieri Marine Group LLC, a subsidiary of Fincantieri-Cantieri Navali Italiani S.p.A.
Fincantieri is one of the world’s most prominent and diversified shipbuilding groups. A world leader in the construction of cruise ships, reference operator in the large ferry sector, the company also boasts a considerable order book in the military sector. To encourage the group’s growth, Fincantieri has developed a series of initiatives in fields close to its core business: ship repairs and conversion, marine systems and components, and mega-yachts. Headquartered in Trieste, the company employs about 10,000 people and has eight shipyards in Italy. In the United States, it operates through its subsidiary Fincantieri Marine Group LLC, which builds ships for commercial and government customers, including the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard, at three facilities in the Great Lakes region: Marinette Marine Corporation, Bay Shipbuilding, and ACE Marine.
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