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OSS 2 - IMO 5345742

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Photo Details
Photographer:Kyle Stubbs [View profile]Title:OSS 2Added:Jan 21, 2014
Captured:October 10, 2013IMO:5345742Hits:2,897
Location:Tacoma, United States
Photo Category: Wrecks & Relics
The former National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) research vessel NOAAS SURVEYOR (S132) is seen rotting away at Tyee Marine on Commencement Bay near Tacoma, Washington.

USCG Doc #: 1225104
Owner: E. C. Industries LLC, Shoreline, WA
Flag: USA
Hailing Port: Seattle, WA
Call Sign: WTES
Length: 89.06 m
Beam: 14.08 m
Tonnage (Intl): 2,443 GT/732 NT
Tonnage (US): 2,653 GT/682 NT
Year of Build: 1960
Builder: National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO), San Diego, CA
Yard Number: 316
Former Name:
NOAAS SURVEYOR (S132) (1970-96)
Vessel Identification
Name:Oss 2
Former name(s):
- Surveyor (period Unknown)
Technical Data
Vessel type:Research/survey Vessel
Gross tonnage:2,443 tons
Summer DWT:1,097 tons

Additional Information
Home port:Seattle Wa
Build year:1960
AIS Information
AIS information: N/A
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Photo Comments (5)

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DLRogers on Feb 29, 2016 18:58 (2 years ago)
The SURVEYOR was a sought after vessel from the NOAA deck officers as she was such a comfortable ship to ride on. Clearly she was built for high seas running as most the crew staterooms were below deck and comfortable. I remember her at full speed in the North Pacific, running at 16 knots with only the sound of the sea by the hull or the air guns popping aft for the geophysical surveys being run. The teakwood decks made her just a classic vessel. Altogether a great seagoing vessel that bridged all the service periods from USC&GS, ESSA and NOAA as a happy ship to be on.
Pease on May 29, 2015 07:00 (3 years ago)
Surveyor ran on Bunker C fuel until she was converted to diesel just a few years before her decomissioning. Since Bunker C must be preheated to burn, there were steam pipes running the length of the ship to heat the fuel. As a consequence the ship was toasty warm for work in the Arctic. The laboratories were excellent work spaces. You could take a bottle cast or sample starboard midships and have the samples in the wet lab in short order for additional work. We asked the bird and mammal guys to use the after port lab to keep the smell away from the physics and chemistry labs. In later years we mounted an electronics lab to the starboard just forward of the helicopter pad.
We used NOAA helicopters from Miami, Florida for ice observations and sampling. They flew to Seattle to join the ship. They removed the mast just forward of the helo pad before 1979 to accommodate safer take-off and landings.
beikaigun on Apr 13, 2015 21:32 (3 years ago)
That seems consistent, as from '97 to at least '02 she was moored over near the Ballard Locks.

Sadly, it would take A LOT to make her seaworthy again. She was not taken care of as well as she needed to in service.

For one, she is a steam ship. She is equipped with two large boilers in a room down below her stack. One boiler is used to provide ship's services and the other provides steam for a turbine. The turbine is attached to a reduction gear in the room just aft of the boiler room and the reduction gear is attached to a single shaft that runs aft to turn a 19 foot propeller.

The engine room is "connected" to the bridge via a engine order telegraph and speed changes require changing the nozzles used in the boiler - which requires someone with the skills to work the boiler, a dying art. This is also why there is a small "harbormaster" device on the stern that can be lowered into the water and used in maneuvering actions when attempting to dock.

Second, that reduction gear is not in the best shape and at least one of the gears is missing teeth. To replace it would require opening up the ship and the part alone would be about $1M (in 1994 dollars). The poor state also applies in other areas of the ship. For instance, replacing a burned out bulb in the boiler room once caused all the lights in that room to go out - requiring the burned out bulb to be gently returned to it's place! There is also a large amount of "dead" wiring in the ship from various repairs where new wiring was ran without removing the old.

Third, there at least was a decent amount of asbestos and other hazardous materials onboard, but I do believe that was cleaned out after decommissioning per EPA requirement.

Personally, I'd love to see her go back to sea again, though. having the engine low in the hull lowers her center of mass and causes her to ride rather well in heavier seas. She has an ice strengthened hull and staterooms throughout the ship that provide berthing for up to around 120 people if fully stocked and she has an endurance of about 25 days before loss of consumables would start to make her unstable. I would suspect that even after nearly 20 years of inactivity, that hull is still perfectly sound.

As you noted, Kyle, she also has some sleek lines that were probably inspired by her predecessor Surveyor, which actually fought in WWI. Finally, she is historically significant in her own right, having been used extensively for deep ocean work and having a few geographic features names after her. For about a decade (if not longer) she also made annual 6 month deployments to Antartica for Marine Mammal research and was well known to the Chilean Navy.

Finally, she was a great ship and truly earned the nickname "Old Workhorse". She wasn't the queen of the fleet - that was the old Discoverer, which I've heard has been scrapped - but she was VERY special in her own way and served our country well for over 30 years. I hope that something can be done to give her a new life beyond being a simple breakwater.
Kyle Stubbs on Jan 22, 2014 21:23 (5 years ago)
Yes, it's certainly a shame such a sleek old vessel is left like this. It seems she showed up at her present location sometime in the latter half of 2002 or first half of 2003.
cdag on Jan 22, 2014 18:58 (5 years ago)
Pity. Good looking vessel. How long has she been here?
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