A new $200 million Arctic research vessel is about 75 percent finished at the Marinette Marine Corp facilities in Marinette, Wisconsin.
Chemical oceanographer Terry Whitledge of the University of Alaska Fairbanks says the 261-foot Sikuliaq will be owned by the National Science Foundation and operated by the University of Alaska.
Whitledge says the vessel’s reinforced hull will be able to break through ice 2.5 feet thick. It will collect water samples, deploy gear, and map ocen bottom with a “multi-beam” system that produces three-dimensional images.
Up to 24 scientists can work on the ship, which should be in Alaska waters in 2014. Its home port will be Seward, Alaska.