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USM gets approval to buy new research vessel

USMHATTIESBURG — The University of Southern Mississippi is buying a new research vessel.

The State College Board on Wednesday approved the project Wednesday on purchase of the “Point Sur” vessel from the San Jose State University Research Foundation for $1 million. Funding came in a grant from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.

The vessel came to San Jose State University through a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation. It will sail from its port in Monterrey, California through the Panama Canal to Gulfport, Mississippi.

The vessel will need approximately three weeks to traverse the distance.

Gordon Cannon, USM’s vice president for research, said in a news release that the acquisition provides the school with a vessel that can be used by the university and other interested parties to explore the Gulf of Mexico, including further research on the BP oil spill of 2010.

“Currently, there is no other oceanographic class research vessel home-ported in the northern Gulf of Mexico east of the Mississippi River,” said Monty Graham, chairman of USM’s Department of Marine Science.

“Having this vessel in our front yard at the Port of Gulfport will not only provide valuable return to the community for understanding the Deepwater Horizon spill, but will be a prime resource should another oil spill impact Mississippi’s coastal waters.”

The 135-foot Point Sur Vessel was built in 1980. It can accommodate 13 researchers and technicians, along with a crew of eight, for overnight voyages. For day cruises it has a capacity of 40 researchers. The main deck covers 1,100 square feet and includes a primary laboratory and wet laboratory. The ship sports a cruising speed of 9.5 knots and a range of 6,800 nautical miles at 10 knots.



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