The NOAA ship David Starr Jordan has called Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego’s Nimitz Marine Facility home since the ship’s commissioning in 1966. Officials from Scripps and NOAA, which operates the vessel, celebrated the 43-year partnership on February 26, 2009, at the Nimitz pier.
The event also toasted NOAA’s selection of David Starr Jordan as its “2008 Ship of the Year,” an honor bestowed upon the vessel’s crew and officers.
During the event, Lieutenant Commander Demian Bailey, Commanding Officer of Jordan, presented Scripps Marine Superintendent Tom Althouse with a commemorative plaque in appreciation of more than four decades of support.
“I think it’s fantastic that Jordan is being recognized as NOAA’s Ship of the Year,” said Bruce Appelgate, associate director for Ship Operations and Marine Technical Support at Scripps. “Having Jordan berthed at Scripps has benefited both NOAA and Scripps scientists, who work closely together on a variety of research projects.”
One of the most successful of those collaborations has been with the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) program, which is perhaps the most complete, long-term study of an ocean ecosystem in the world. With a steady stream of oceanographic surveys conducted since 1949, the CalCOFI program has produced a priceless trove of marine data unlike any other in the world.
Jordan set out on its first mission—a CalCOFI survey—in January 1966. Her last CalCOFI cruise will embark on March 7. After completing that mission Jordan heads north to Seattle where the ship will enter “limited operating status” alongside NOAA’s Sand Point facility in Lake Washington, Wash. A replacement for Jordan is scheduled to be built by NOAA and delivered in 2014.
Throughout its 43-year history Jordan has conducted fisheries and oceanographic research in support of NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center, a facility colocated on Scripps Oceanography’s La Jolla campus. Jordan primarily operates in California, Oregon and Washington and in Mexican, Central and South American waters. In addition to CalCOFI cruises, the vessel has supported dolphin population assessments in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean and the California Current. Jordan conducts surveys of the coastal nursery grounds of pelagic sharks, multi-frequency and multi-beam acoustic surveys for various species, midwater-trawl surveys for juvenile rockfish, and acoustic-remotely operated vehicle surveys for adult rockfish in the Southern California Bight.
“A benefit of having Jordan berthed at the Scripps Nimitz facility is that the CalCOFI work has historically been conducted aboard both Scripps and NOAA vessels, and colocating the vessels improves our operational efficiency, and makes it a lot easier for Scripps and Southwest Fisheries Science Center scientists to mobilize and conduct their shipboard work.”
Appelgate said Scripps has had a long and productive association with Jordan because of the support Scripps provides and the proximity to the ship’s principal work area. The Nimitz Marine Facility provides a key geographical location in Point Loma, with quick access in and out of San Diego Harbor and close access to deep water. San Diego’s maritime industry also adds to the benefits of the Nimitz Marine Facility, with its close proximity to local shipyards, machine shops, and marine electronics facilities.