Sea Discovery
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September 2019



R/V Oceanus Retires


R/V Oceanus/ Image: WHOI Designed by John W. Gilbert Associates of Boston, Oceanus was constructed by Peterson Builders of Sturgeon Bay, Wisc. Its name comes from the Greek Titan Oceanus, father of the river gods and sea nymphs, who was represented as a great stream of water encircling the Earth that was the source of all bodies of water. It sailed into Woods Hole in November 1975, painted a bleak battleship gray, but with distinctive, rakish-looking twin stacks arranged like king-posts on either side of the bridge. Physical oceanographer Bob Beardsley was chief scientist on the ship’s first scientific mission for WHOI in April in 1976.

Owned by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Oceanus was operated by a crew of 12 and accommodated 20 scientists for up to 30 days at sea. Over 35 years (with a major mid-life renovation in 1994), Oceanus conducted nearly 500 missions, spanning all fields of oceanography and covering hundreds of thousands of miles from Georges Bank to the Red Sea and south to the Sargasso Sea and the Angola Basin. It served some 250 chief scientists and their scientific parties. Oceanus joins the fleet of illustrious WHOI ships that have brought back hard-won knowledge about how the oceans work.


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