Gould charter extended
Research vessel to continue to support NSF mission for next five years
Posted March 12, 2010
Cue the William Shatner voice-over:
“These are the voyages of the ARSV Laurence M. Gould . Its five-year mission: to explore climate change and seek out new marine organisms — and to boldly go where no U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP) research vessel has gone before.”
Well, you get the idea: Raytheon Polar Services Co. (RPSC) announced in February that it negotiated an extension to the charter for one of the USAP’s two research vessels with Edison Chousest Offshore, Inc. The charter has been extended for five years, until July 2015, with an option for an additional five years.
RPSC is the prime contractor to the National Science Foundation , which manages the USAP.
Built in 1997 by Louisiana-based Edison Chousest, the Gould is a 230-foot-long, ice-strengthened vessel used to support Antarctic research, as well as to transport people and cargo between Punta Arenas, Chile, and Palmer Station off the Antarctic Peninsula.
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The Gould replaced the RV Polar Duke, which the NSF chartered from 1985-1997. The Gould generally operates year-round out of Punta Arenas, and can accommodate about 26 research scientists for missions up to 75 days long. Each January, the ship embarks on a month-long cruise in support of the Palmer Long Term Ecological Research program , which studies the ecosystem along the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula.
Other scientific work recently supported by the Gould includes tagging humpback whales, collecting icefish for various experiments, and deploying field camps for geologic work on several islands around the Antarctic Peninsula.
The Gould is named in honor of Laurence McKinley Gould, a polar explorer, geologist, teacher and college president. He was second-in-command during Adm. Richard E. Byrd’s first Antarctic expedition of 1929-1930. An international figure with 25 honorary degrees, Gould died in 1995 at the age of 99, the year that the NSF initiated the charter on the ice-strengthened vessel.