Friday, November 16, 2001


UH researchers will use the Kilo Moana, currently under
construction in Jacksonville, Fla., for the first time in July.

Ceremony to dedicate new
UH research ship

By Helen Altonn

Margaret Inouye, wife of U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, will smash a bottle of champagne across the bow of the University of Hawaii's new research vessel in a ceremony tomorrow in Jacksonville, Fla.

The Hawaii senator persuaded Congress to approve $45 million for design, construction and operating funds for the new ship, called Kilo Moana, Hawaiian for "oceanographer."

The ship is being built in Jacksonville for the Navy by Lockheed Martin's subcontractor, Atlantic Marine Inc., and will be assigned to UH as part of the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System. A crew will go to the mainland in June to bring the ship home and put it into service.

Research projects already are lined up for the 2,500-ton vessel, said Stan Winslow, port operations manager and interim marine superintendent for the UH School of Ocean & Earth Science & Technology.

It will be the first SWATH (small waterplane area twin hull) vessel in the Navy's university fleet.

"This ship has outstanding possibilities," Winslow said. "Anybody who has been out in the ocean and doesn't like to deal with motion and so forth, here is a ship that is inherently stable to go out there and work.

"We're really excited about the possibilities, and I'm sure other people will be."

A SWATH exposes only a minimum of the ship to lifting forces of waves, compared to a monohull. It is based on the principle of semisubmersible offshore rigs designed to provide a stable working platform and reduce pitch and roll.

Brian Taylor, UH geology and geophysics professor overseeing the project for SOEST, said platform stability was the highest priority for ocean researchers.

The new vessel will replace the Moana Wave, removed from the Navy's university fleet two years ago after 25 years of oceanographic work. UH researchers have operated since with only the Ka'imikai-O-Kanaloa, mother ship for the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory.

The innovative new vessel will be capable of collecting air, surface, midocean and sea floor water samples; launching, towing and recovery of science packages; sea floor surveys; handling and servicing of tethered remotely operated and autonomous underwater vehicles; deployment and recovery of deep-sea moorings; and shipboard data processing and analysis.

It will go to work in July, starting with a 50-day cruise scheduled by UH geology and geophysics professor Brian Popp to the Bering Sea, Winslow said.

Returning here, the ship will pick up UH oceanographer Dave Karl, co-principal investigator for a large group of scientists working on a 45-day project near Midway.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will use the ship next for investigations of the National Wildlife Refuge and Northwest Hawaiian Islands.

Two five-day programs are planned next November and December for Karl and Roger Lukas, principal investigators for the Hawaiian Ocean Time-series program at Station ALOHA, a site 60 miles north of Oahu.

At the end of next year, after six months of ship operations, a list of items that are not working as they should will be given to the Navy and the builders for repairs, Winslow said.

Ka Leo O Hawaii
University of Hawaii

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