UA president asks for new research vessel

Posted: Sunday, March 03, 2002

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- University of Alaska President Mark Hamilton visited Washington, D.C., this week with a wish list in hand.

Hamilton wants a new research vessel to replace the 36-year-old Alpha Helix, which is operated by the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. The ship is based in Seward.

The Federal Oceanographic Facilities Committee said in a December 2001 report that the next ocean-class vessel to join the national academic research fleet should replace the Alpha Helix.

Replacing the 133-foot Alpha Helix, which is owned by the National Science Foundation, has been on the scientific community's agenda since the vessel arrived in Alaska in 1980.

The proposed 225-foot ''Alaska Region Research Vessel'' would cost $72 million, according to Martha Stewart, the university system's director of federal relations in Washington.

The federal oceans committee recommended the new Alaska vessel be on the water by 2005.

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