Research vessel will be in Ludington harbor next week

February 13, 2014

sikuliaqFishermen urged to use caution.

The oceanographic research vessel R/V Sikuliaq will be in Ludington harbor next week performing sea trials. During that time, the vessel will be breaking ice through the Ludington channel to its destination at the OxyChem dock.

The vessel is expected to arrive from Marinette, Wis. on Feb. 17 and will be in and out of port until Feb. 23. Fishermen are urged to use caution during that time.

The 260-foot $200 million vessel was built by Marinette Marine Corporation in northern Wisconsin with funds from the American Reinvestment Research Act.

The vessel is owned by the National Science Foundation and will be operated by the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. It is scheduled to be sent to Alaska on March 1.

A company spokesman said the vessel will be in Ludington to test its deep water research capabilities. Lake Michigan is over 800 feet deep in an area north of Ludington.

Pronounced “see-KOO-lee-ack,” the ship was designed by Seattle-based Glosten Associates.It will have a 20-person crew and carry 26 scientists.

“R/V Sikuliaq is one of the most advanced research vessels in the world,” said NSF Director Subra Suresh. “Its capabilities to operate in extreme ecosystems will serve the science and engineering research communities for decades to come, while providing opportunities for educators and students to learn first-hand about the arctic environment.”
The Sikuliaq is the first research vessel built for the NSF since 1981 and will be the only ship in the national academic fleet rated for year-round operations in first-year ice. The vessel’s name, Sikuliaq, is an Inupiaq word meaning “young sea ice.” The name was chosen to reflect both the university’s focus on arctic research and Alaska heritage.
The Sikuliaq is uniquely equipped for operating in ice-choked waters. Its reinforced double hull, two rotating thrusters and scalloped propeller blades will enable it to break through ice up to 2.5 feet thick. The ship is also outfitted with the latest technology for oceanographic research, including advanced navigation systems, acoustic mapping systems and sensors, and systems for deploying a wide array of science equipment into and out of the water. The Sikuliaq will primarily support oceanographic research in polar and sub-polar regions of the world.


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