Bender To Build Fisheries Research Vessel For NOAA

Robert J. Blackwell, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Maritime Affairs, has authorized the award of a contract to Bender Welding and Machine Co., Inc., Mobile, Ala., for the construction of a fisheries research vessel for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

He also approved a determination that the fixed price of $2,875,000 for the vessel was "fair and reasonable." NOAA has furnished the Maritime Administration with $3.1 million for the construction of the v e s s e l . This includes $225,000 above the fixed contract price for changes and contingencies.

The research vessel will be used by NOAA's National Ocean Survey for stock assessment in the North Pacific 200-mile fisheries zone. The vessel is a modified stock d e s i g n c o m b i n a t i o n crabber/ trawler. It will measure approximately 127 feet in length, 30 feet abeam, and will have a draft of 13 feet.

In 1976, NOAA officials informed MarAd of their need for additional vessels to carry out that agency's extended jurisdiction to the 200-mile limit. It was felt that procurement of a vessel built to industry standards f o r uninspected fishing vessels would avoid detailed vessel specifications and result in reduced cost and construction time. NOAA asked for MarAd's support in the acquisition of such a vessel.

Assistant Secretary Blackwell proposed a five-phase MarAd effort to assist in the procurement. The plan included conceptual studies to ensure an acceptable vessel, preparation of a Request for Proposal Package, participation in selection of a contractor and inspections during construction, and performance of trial and delivery inspections as required. The proposal was accepted by NOAA on June 28, 1977, but budgetary restraints delayed the award of a contract until this time.

The vessel is scheduled for delivery by September 1979.

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