NOAA to Host Open House in Newport Aboard 209-foot Research Vessel Henry B. Bigelow
On Friday, August 26, public may tour NOAA research vessel which is used to learn
about the waters and wildlife off Atlantic Coast
NEWPORT, RI — Rhode Islanders who are interested in learning about the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) presence in the Ocean State are
welcome to join U.S. Senator Jack Reed on Friday, August 26 at 11 a.m. for an open
house aboard the 209-foot NOAA research vessel, Henry B. Bigelow. NOAA staff will
conduct guided tours of the Bigelow.
Senator Reed, a member of the Appropriations Committee, recently announced that the
Bigelow, which studies a wide range of sea life and ocean conditions, will be
permanently homeported at Naval Station Newport (NAVSTA). Under the 2016 Omnibus
Appropriations Act, NOAA received about $1 million that Senator Reed helped secure
to conduct preliminary environmental work and engineering at NAVSTA. Senator Reed
also included $1.5 million in the 2017 Senate CJS Appropriations bill to help with
the permanent homeporting of the Bigelow.
The $54 million ship supports NOAA’s mission to protect, restore, and manage the use
of living marine, coastal, and ocean resources through ecosystem-based management.
Its primary objective is to study and monitor living marine resources throughout New
England and Mid-Atlantic waters. The state-of-the-art ship has high-tech sonar and
the capability to drop its nets and trawl at depths of 1,000 fathoms — 6,000 feet.
It also surveys marine mammals, sea turtles, marine birds, and their habitats, as
well as providing observations of environmental conditions.
The Bigelow has also been used for other important missions. In 2010, in the wake
of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, NOAA deployed the ship to the Gulf of Mexico
to help determine if any oil continued to leak from the plugged well, 5,000 feet
below the surface, and monitor the undersea environment for any changes. More
recently it assisted in the recovery of an aircraft that crashed off the coast of
The work of the NOAA fleet and the NOAA Corps plays an important part in the safe
movement of commerce, scientific studies, and data collection.
NOAA Fisheries is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation’s living marine
resources and their habitat through scientific research, management and enforcement.
NOAA Fisheries provides effective stewardship of these resources for the benefit of
the nation, supporting coastal communities and helping to provide safe and healthy
seafood to consumers and recreational opportunities for the American public.
The waterfront at Naval Station Newport is an integral part of operations for NOAA
and U.S. Coast Guard vessels. In addition to the Bigelow, Newport is also home to
NOAA’s Okeanos Explorer, as well as three Coast Guard buoy tenders, CGC Juniper, CGC
Willow, and CGC Ida Lewis, as well as the Patrol Boat CGC Tiger Shark. It regularly
hosts visiting vessels and supports the important work of the Naval Undersea Warfare
The Bigelow was built by VT Halter Marine Inc. in Mississippi and launched in 2005.
The open house will take place rain or shine. Seating at the ceremony and speaking
program is limited. Individuals wishing to attend must RSVP to LCDR Colin Little
All visitors must clear security at Naval Station Newport and closed-toe flat shoes
are required to board the ship.
For a virtual tour of the ship, visit: http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/Bigelow/