GCRL retires long-serving research vessel RV Hermes

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 5:20 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - On Wednesday, the University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Research Lab retired a long and faithful servant.

The RV Hermes has served as a floating classroom for more than 64 years providing hands-on experience in education and research to both students and scientists.

It was a retirement ceremony well earned.

“You can’t be an effective marine laboratory unless you have a vessel to get students and researchers out on the water, and this being the first vessel that we had to do that, it’s very important,” said Read Hendon, GCRL director. “We would not be where we are today as the state’s marine laboratory and as a university without vehicles and vessels like this.”

The boat’s wheel, bell and plaque will be enshrined onshore, while the structure will be enshrined offshore.

Within the next few months, an organization dedicated to creating fishing havens in the Gulf of Mexico, Mississippi Gulf Fishing Banks, will convert the boat into an artificial reef.

“There’s two or three items we put out there on the bottom right now: steel-hull vessels, like the Hermes and fishing boats,” said the group’s president Ralph Humphrey. “We also deploy concrete rubble and also materials of design - the artificial domes, the pyramids, that sort of thing, but the steel-hull vessels are very attractive because they last a long time.”

The RV Hermes will be located in an area called Fishing Haven 2, about 15 miles south of Horn Island.

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