NOAA Launches New Fisheries Survey Ship - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

NOAA Launches New Fisheries Survey Ship

As the new ship Pisces sat towering over VT Halter Marine Shipyard, 10-year-old Dylan Conner snapped pictures of the 208 foot vessel just before it hit the water.

"I love to see how big the boats are. They are just cool to look at," Conner said.

That feeling was shared by hundreds of people at the celebration for NOAA's newest fisheries survey vessel.

"It was built by an American Enterprise," NOAA Administrator Rear Admiral Conrad Lautenbaucher said.

Lautenbaucher says the ocean liner is bigger, better and more technologically savvy than the other two NOAA ships in its class.

"It is an ocean going vessel that is going to be able to be in the water 250 days a year researching our fisheries. We can look at an ecosystem, and we can take samples from it. We can do all the work in wet labs aboard this ship," Lautenbaucher said.

When Pisces is ready to set sail on her environmental missions, marine life underneath the sea won't be disturbed.

"It has special mountings for all the engines, and all the pumps. It has a special machine propeller, and it does not make a lot of tabernacle in the water."

Sponsor, and Georgetown professor Dr. Annette Shelby christened the ship worth more than $50 million. Shelby didn't take the duty lightly.

"I taught on a ship that went around the world, so it was a real honor to be asked to do this," Shelby said.

Students from Pascagoula's Sacred Heart school named the ship Pisces to represent the link between marine life and human life.

VT Halter Marine Chief Executive Officer Boyd King says ships like the Pisces usually take about 18 months to complete. The ship will be delivered to NOAA by next spring.

by Patrice Clark

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