NOAA 2003-R802
Contact: Jeanne Kouhestani
NOAA News Releases 2003
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Cascade General Inc., of Portland, Ore., has been awarded a $13.26 million contract by NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to refurbish and upgrade the NOAA ship Fairweather. The contract, awarded on Feb. 10, includes options totaling $5.04 million for additional work.

“NOAA’s decision to award this contract to Cascade General is not only a benefit to our coastal and marine communities but also a boon to Oregon’s struggling economy,” said Senator Gordon Smith (R-Oregon). “The contract will allow for the creation of much needed jobs in Oregon and a second-to-none upgrade of the Fairweather by Cascade General.”

The 35-year old ship was deactivated 12 years ago because of lack of operating funds, and has been “moth-balled” in fresh water at NOAA’s Marine Operations Center on Lake Union in Seattle, Wash.

The critical backlog of surveys for nautical charts in Alaska, where Fairweather will once again operate, prompted renewed interest in reactivating the ship.

"The Fairweather will bring a much-needed capability to the tremendous survey backlog in Alaska waters. I know Ketchikan will give a warm welcome to the vessel and the NOAA families attached to it," said Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).

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 – multi-beam survey systems; high-speed, high-resolution side-scan sonar; and an on-board data-processing server.

The reactivation work will take approximately 12 months, followed by a one- to two-month shakedown period. The ship is expected to become operational in May 2004. Fairweather will be home ported in Ketchikan, Alaska.

The NOAA fleet of research and survey ships and aircraft is operated, managed, and maintained by NOAA Marine and Aviation Operations (NMAO). NMAO includes commissioned officers of the NOAA Corps and civilians.

The NOAA Corps is the nation’s seventh and smallest uniformed service, and, as part of NOAA, is under the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Corps is composed of officers – all scientists or engineers – who provide NOAA with an important blend of operational, management and technical skills that support the agency’s environmental programs at sea, in the air, and ashore.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

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