NOAA 2000-R809
Contact: Jeanne Kouhestani

Rude Surveyed New York Harbor to Ensure Nautical Safety for INR and OpSail Events

NOAA's smallest but best known ship, Rude, will be sailing in the naval armada of U.S. and foreign ships on July 3, and will participate in the fleet inspection by President Bill Clinton on July 4, as part of the International Naval Review in New York Harbor. Rude is the hydrographic survey vessel that located the wreckage of TWA Flight 800 in 1996 and John F. Kennedy Jr.'s light aircraft in 1999. It is the only non-combatant ship participating in the INR event.

"We are proud to have Rude represent NOAA in this important military event," said D. James Baker, undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere. "As one of our survey ships that map the ocean floor for the nation's nautical charts produced by NOAA's National Ocean Service, Rude's work is closely related to the safety of military ships and all other vessels in eastern U.S. coastal waters. Rude's sonar survey work in this harbor, in fact, has helped ensure the safety of all ships participating in the International Naval Review and OpSail 2000."

"We are glad that Rude has the opportunity to be part of the International Naval Review on behalf of NOAA and the NOAA Commissioned Corps," said Rear Admiral Evelyn Fields, director of the NOAA Corps and Office of Marine and Aviation Operations. "This is particularly appropriate as Rude has worked closely with the Navy and Coast Guard in the past to locate the downed aircraft of TWA Flight 800 and John F. Kennedy Jr., and help bring closure to those national tragedies."

Last fall Rude conducted a full bottom coverage survey of the Hudson River south of the George Washington Bridge to 55th Street, and found the wrecks of six vessels in the waters of the lower Hudson River. The survey was conducted at the request of the New York Harbor Safety, Navigation and Operations Committee and the U.S. Navy for the safety of ships transiting and anchoring in the river, including the vessels participating in the International Naval Review and concurrent OpSail 2000 event. These high-resolution surveys have been used to update the nautical charts of the area, which were based on surveys from 1939. The surveys were also included in an operational chart for the International Naval Review ships and a commemorative OpSail 2000 chart that will be distributed to all participating ship captains.

The 90-ft. Rude used three types of sonar–vertical, side-scan and multi-beam–not only to locate and determine the shallowest depths, but also to identify objects or formations on the river floor by producing picture-like images. This is the same technology that was used to find the wreckage of the TWA and Kennedy aircraft, enabling Navy divers to perform their recovery operations.

Rude, home ported in Norfolk, Va., and commanded by Lt. Cmdr. James Verlaque, NOAA Corps, is operated and managed by the Office of Marine and Aviation Operations. OMAO is composed of civilians and officers of the NOAA Commissioned Corps, the nation's seventh service. Rude conducts hydrographic surveys for NOAA's National Ocean Service, the organization responsible for producing the nation's nautical charts.