Research vessel to be overhauled in Portland

Posted: Thursday, February 20, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A Portland, Ore., shipyard will overhaul a federal research ship before it returns to Alaska.

The 35-year-old Fairweather, owned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will be overhauled by Cascade General of Portland at a cost of $13.3 million.

The contract includes options for $5 million for additional work.

The Fairweather was deactivated 12 years ago because of a lack of operating funds. It was mothballed in fresh water on Lake Union in Seattle.

According to the Commerce Department, there is a critical backlog of surveys for nautical charts in Alaska and the Fairweather will help fill that gap. The vessel had operated in Alaska waters in the past.

The reactivation contract includes the overhaul or replacement of most of the ship's major systems with modern technology, including the latest in hydrographic survey technology.

The overhaul will take about a year, followed by a one- to two-month shakedown period. The ship is expected to begin operating in May 2004.

It will be home-ported in Ketchikan.

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