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NOAA Research Ship, Lake Union/Seattle, WA

US$ 1,700,000

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Engine/Fuel Type:
4 engines
Located In:
Lake Union/Seattle, WA
Hull Material:
Current Price:
US$ 1,700,000 Tax Paid 

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SAHARA was originally named "Oceanographer" and was built by Aerojet General Shipyards at Jacksonville, Florida. At 303 feet (92 meters) in length she was the largest vessel constructed for research purposes to date. Her stark white paint, large radome aft of the funnels and heavy crane on the aft deck gave her a distinctive appearance. She had chemistry, wet and dry oceanographic, meteorological, gravimetric, and photographic laboratories. She also had several precision oceanographic winches.USC&GS Oceanographer entered service with the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey on 13 July 1966, the second Coast and Geodetic Survey ship of the name, serving as flagship of the Survey's fleet. When the Coast and Geodetic Survey and other United States Government agencies combined to form NOAA in 1970, she became flagship of the NOAA fleet and, as NOAAS Oceanographer, the first NOAA ship to bear the name.

During her  years of service, Oceanographer sailed over 2,000,000 nautical miles (3,700,000 km) in every major ocean. In 1967 she transited from the United States East Coast to the United States West Coast via the North Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Pacific making many good-will stops along the way. In 1969 she completed the circumnavigation of the globe she began in 1967 voyage when she returned to the U.S. East Coast.

Other highlights of Oceanographer's career included participation in the first large-scale, coordinated international sea-air interaction survey, known as the BOMEX Study, in 1969, and environmental base-line studies on deep-ocean mining (DOMES). In 1980, Oceanographer became the first U.S. Government vessel allowed into a port of the People's Republic of China.

Oceanographer was placed in reserve in July 1981. She underwent a major refit in which she received an Alden weatherfax, a Sperry Mark 37 gyro, a Raytheon X-band Pathfinder radar, Inmarsat, an MX1102 Global Positioning System, a new salinometer, a Shipboard Environmental Acquisition System with expendable bathythermograph gear, a new meteorological station, and a Doppler current profiling system, and returned to service with this new equipment on 8 April 1986. Placed in reserve in 1989, she later returned to service again.
After being decommissioned in 1996, Oceanographer was sold

A number of conversion studies have already been made by designers such as Jonathan Quinn Barnett and Joseph Artese. The design challenge met by the designers was to retain the core practicality of the vessel, which was purpose-built for world exploration while retaining the vessel's external styling, its internal layout, and totally upgrading the engineering systems. The result is a marine ambience that is simply not found in newer vessels.

This vessel has many unique, and valuable attributes, some of which are very advanced, such as diesel eelctric propulsion by Westinghouse. It also has a 'moon pool' for diving from inside the hull, and a pressurized walk-in bulbous-bow with portholes that serves as a unique underwater observatory. There could be no place better than this for observing dolphins at play.

The last owner started a major re-fit program on the vessel in Seattle, but misfortunes kept him from completing the tasks. However, a number of conversion studies have been undertaken by top naval architects and the vessel has been thoroughly surveyed and sea-trialled. A new suite of navigation electronics and other upgrades and re-fit measures were taken to prepare her for a trans-oceanic voyage. This vessel can go to sea in a relatively short time-frame.

If a US shipyard is used for this conversion, on behalf of a non-US Buyer - then the entire purchase and conversion can be financed through the US Export-Import Bank. We have an LOI from the Bank for this project and can assist in securing a low-interest direct loan that will convert to a ship's mortgage when the vessel leaves the US. Call for details.

You can see a full video on the vessel on YouTube at Paul MaddenYachts.



Merrill-Stevens Yachts, since 1885 Large Yacht Specialists Florida's oldest and most respected name in yachting.


Please contact Paul Madden at +1 561-568-3430 or +44 20 3289 2524

Skype: paulmadden555


Please contact Paul Madden at (561) 568-3430

Interested in this boat? Toll-free: change me
Tel: (561) 568-3430

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