WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Bill Cassidy M.D. (R-La.) today announced that the National Science Foundation awarded a new Regional Class Research Vessel to the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) and the University of Southern Mississippi. The boat, along with two others, will be built by Louisiana workers.
The vessel will be designed with state-of-the-art technology that will allow researchers to create detailed seafloor maps, monitor algae blooms, study shifting ocean chemistry, observe coastal changes and much more.
The National Science Foundation awarded three research vessels to coastal universities and research consortiums to study the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts. The other two vessels were awarded to Oregon State University and a research consortium led by the University of Rhode Island. All three vessels will be built in Louisiana by the Gulf Island Shipyards LLC in Houma. They are scheduled to be completed in 2023.
Since the vessel will likely be too large to dock at LUMCON’s current facilities, LUMCON is planning to construct a new port in Houma.
As members of the research consortium, Louisiana State University and Tulane University will also be able to utilize the vessel.
“With the new technology available on this research vessel, scientists and researchers will have access to new data to help tackle the coastal issues we’re facing in Louisiana,” said Sen. Kennedy. “The folks at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium are an excellent choice for this award, and this vessel is a great investment into protecting our coastline.”
“Building these boats employs Louisiana skilled workers,” said Sen. Cassidy. “Once built, data from these boats will protect coastlines and coastal ecosystems. This benefits all Americans.”