Oceanographic Tools: R/V Melville
Research Vessel Melville
RV Melville is a multipurpose research ship
that has served oceanographic scientists well for more than 30
years. It has sailed hundreds of thousands of miles in almost every
ocean, carrying out scientific missions involving geology, geophysics,
physical oceanography, marine biology, and chemical oceanography.
Melville is owned by the US Navy and operated by the Scripps Institution
of Oceanography (SIO), a graduate division of the University of California, San
Diego. The ship, which is 278 feet (85 meters) long, is named after Henry Wallace
Melville, a pioneer Arctic explorer and an innovative US Navy engineer who served
in the early 1900s.
RV Melville was built in 1969 for SIO by the US Navy as part of a focused
plan to improve the academic oceanographic fleet. It is the sister ship of the
RV Knorr of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. RV Melville was
overhauled about 10 years ago and lengthened by about 30 feet to add laboratory
space, berthing, endurance, and working area to the fantail for large-scale oceanographic
sampling expeditions. Three Z drives were added to increase maneuverability and
station-keeping ability. A multibeam echo sounding system was also installed
to gather high-resolution bathymetry data.
Melville carries a crew of 23 people and 38 scientists and has an endurance
of about 60 days at sea. It normally cruises at a speed of 12 knots.
Learn more about the RV Melville
from Scripp's Web site including photos and specifications