Quonset Development Corporation’s Managing Director Steven J. King, P.E. was joined by Gov. Donald L. Carcieri and U.S. Senator Jack Reed to break ground on construction of a research and office center for the NOAA Okeanos Explorer on October 26th, 2009. Quonset will be the homeport for the 250-foot research vessel, its crew of 24 and 19 scientists.
The Okeanos Explorer, “America’s Ship for Ocean Exploration,” is a former Navy surveillance ship recently converted into a world-class tool for advanced scientific discovery. The ship is currently undergoing sea trials, and is expected to dock in Rhode Island in July 2010.
In making its decision to locate at Quonset, NOAA cited the proximity to the University of Rhode Island’s world-class oceanographic program, the URI Graduate School of Oceanography, which is already internationally known. Both NOAA’s Rear Admiral Jonathan W. Bailey and Dr. Robert D. Ballard, from the URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography center for Ocean Exploration and Archeological Oceanography, applauded the opportunity to share resources and research.