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New ship a powerful research tool

Video transcript:

To understand how the Earth and our environment work, we need to have access to the water and the atmosphere and the solid earth, the bottom of the ocean. Scripps vessels have played a very important part in providing access to those areas for our scientists. Competitions for the nation's research vessels come along very rarely, so it's important that when they do, that we compete well and in this case we were lucky enough to win the competition for a vessel called AGOR-28.

AGOR-28 is being funded by the United States Navy, it's about an $88 million project and we've been able to be integrally involved in the design and now the early phases of construction of AGOR-28. AGOR-28 is going to be a new class of ocean vessel, called an ocean class. The ocean class research vessel is going to be a little bit smaller than our biggest global class research vessels. It's going to have a suite of instruments on it that's similar to our biggest and most capable vessels, yet it's going to have a smaller footprint. So, it'll take a little bit fewer scientists to sea, have a smaller crew and hopefully be a little bit more efficient than our biggest ships are right now.

One of the biggest investors in the ocean is of course, the U.S. Navy and many of the things we want to know for all of our projects are things that they want to know for their safe and efficient operations. One of them is national security. So, being able to listen quietly to the ocean and understand who is out there and whether they are our friends or our foes is a very important part of our research.  Over the decades, it's something that Scripps has excelled and something that we're going to continue to develop over the decades. There are many other aspects of our work, especially in climate change that are increasingly relevant to national security.

So, when there are shortages of drinking water or floods, these often lead to both direct impacts and also geopolitical instabilities. All of those things are consequences of the changing planet. We need to understand them and predict them as best we can and feed them into our government so we know what is waiting for us down the road.  And so over the decades, we have developed a pipeline of ideas and inventions that are first used by the U.S. Navy and when they're comfortable with it, they make the transition into the environmental side of what we do. So, we're always going to need access to the ocean, we need slightly different equipment to optimize the experiments we're doing this decade compared to previous decades and that's why it's important every now and then to build a new research vessel.

Right now, the vessel is about to enter its initial construction phase, so we've been involved with detailed design and following that, we're going to go through a year-and-a-half of construction and we hope that the vessel will be delivered in the early part of 2015.

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Navy cermony dedicates new research ship