R/V Melville is one of the AGOR series, built in response to the Navy Tenoc (Ten-year plan for oceanography) in the 1960s. As originally sketched, it was about 170 feet long, with a high bridge amidships for good visibility ahead and of the working decks astern, a wide beam, an open stern and side working area, and extremely good maneuverability using multiple thrusters. It grew, of course, during planning, and by the time the Navy's working drawings were done, it was much larger and had cycloidal propulsion instead of twin-screw and thrusters.
Two ships of this design were built: Melville in 1969, and Knorr (for WHOI) in 1970, under the supervision of a Scripps yard team.
About R/V Melville