This week’s interesting ship is NOAA’s new high-tech fisheries survey vessel, Bell M. Shimada.
Bell M. Shimada‘s primary mission will be to study, monitor and collect data on a wide range of sea life and ocean conditions, primarily in U.S. waters from Washington state to southern California. The ship will also observe environmental conditions, conduct habitat assessments and survey marine mammal, sea turtle and marine bird populations.
The vessel is the fourth of a new class of ships designed to meet the NOAA Fisheries Service’s specific data collection requirements and the International Council for Exploration of the Seas‘ new standards for a low acoustic signature.
Launched in September 2008, the 208-ft. Bell M. Shimada was built for NOAA by VT Halter Marine Inc., in Moss Point, Miss., as part of the NOAA’s fleet replacement strategy to provide world-class platforms for U.S. scientists.
Bell M. Shimada’s state-of-the-art design allows for quieter operation and movement of the vessel through the water, giving scientists the ability to study fish and marine mammals without significantly altering their behavior. The ship’s comprehensive environmental sampling capabilities will also enable researchers to gather a broad suite of marine life data with unprecedented accuracy.