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FIO research vessel launched

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The R/V W.T. Hogarth, a 78-foot coastal class research vessel launched in Tarpon Springs on May 23, is the newest addition to the Florida Institute of Oceanography fleet.

The $6 million vessel, designed and engineered by Boksa Marine and built by Duckworth Steel Boats, replaces the nearly 50-year-old R/V Bellows, which had served as a floating laboratory for 35 years. W.T. Hogarth is larger and will offer more working space, including separated wet and dry labs, a larger work deck, separate galley and more comfortable arrangements for berthing.

The vessel was named to honor William T. Hogarth, who recently retired after a 50-year career that included serving as FIO director, dean for the USF College of Marine Science, director of the National Marine Fisheries Service and chair of the International Whaling Commission. He also led the scientific response to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Anticipated missions for W.T. Hogarth include a variety of over-the-side operations, such as studies of marine life, affects of pollution, water sampling, bioacoustics, sediment coring and fisheries research.

FIO and Duckworth Steel Boats will continue to outfit the vessel to get it ready for its first mission. Sea trials are soon to follow.

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