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May 19, 2022

NOAA Issues RFP for Design and Construction of Ocean Survey Ships

Crew members aboard a NOAA ship in 2016 use a crane to hoist a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) from the water at night. NOAA is seeking proposals for new ocean survey ships that can deploy a variety of equipment, including ROVs like the one pictured here. Credit: NOAA

Crew members aboard a NOAA ship in 2016 use a crane to hoist a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) from the water at night. NOAA is seeking proposals for new ocean survey ships that can deploy a variety of equipment, including ROVs like the one pictured here. Credit: NOAA

NOAA is seeking proposals from U.S. shipbuilders for the design and construction of new ships for the agency. The new vessels will primarily support NOAA’s coastal, continental shelf and deep ocean data collection requirements.

The solicitation, which opens today and closes on August 16, 2022, is for a firm, fixed-price contract for two vessels, with options for NOAA to purchase two additional vessels of the same design. The successful bidder will be responsible for both designing and building the new ships.

To meet NOAA’s requirements, the new ships must have the capability to carry, deploy and recover multiple crewed and uncrewed vessels to support nautical charting and seafloor survey missions. They must also be able to accommodate 48 people, consisting of commissioned officers, professional civilian crew members, scientists and other personnel. NOAA has set a goal of achieving net-zero emissions for its ship fleet by 2050. To support NOAA's goal of reducing the agency's carbon footprint, the new ships must incorporate the latest technologies, including high-efficiency, environmentally-friendly EPA Tier IV diesel engines and emissions controls.

“These new ships will be equipped with state-of-the-art ocean data collection systems that will enable us to map, chart, study and explore the ocean with unprecedented detail,” said Rear Adm. Nancy Hann, director of NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations (OMAO) and the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps.

NOAA anticipates awarding the contract for this acquisition in 2023 and taking delivery of the first two vessels by 2027. The agency has not yet assigned a homeport for these new ships.

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