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OR&R Support to NOAA Office of Marine and Aviation Operations Fleet

OCTOBER 25, 2021 ─ This past June thru September, the OR&R Emergency Response Division supported the Office of Marine and Aviation Operations fleet by approving the augmentation request for LCDR Faith Knighton to sail 76-days as a Senior Watch Officer and Acting Commanding Officer aboard the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer.

An ROV being lowered into the water by crew on a vessel.
ROV launch. Image credit: Art Howard

During this augmentation, LCDR Knighton sailed as a Senior Watch Officer and Dynamic Positioning Operator (DPO) on a 30-day Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) and mapping expedition in support of the NOAA Ocean Exploration 2021 North Atlantic Stepping Stones Mission to the New England and Corner Rise Seamounts. This expedition completed 20 ROV dives, ranging in depth from 300 to 4,187 meters, mapped 54,700 square kilometers of seafloor, explored seamounts and deep-water habitats, and made biological and geological discoveries. The expedition began and ended in Newport, Rhode Island.

As Acting Commanding Officer, LCDR Knighton led a 19-day mapping mission that mapped over 5,300 square miles (the size of Puerto Rico) on the 2021 U.S. Blake Plateau Mapping expedition. On this expedition, NOAA Ocean Exploration and partners from the U.S. Geological Survey and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management mapped deep-water (greater than 200 meters/656 feet) portions of the Blake Plateau, and to identify dive sites for future remotely operated vehicle operations. The expedition departed Newport, Rhode Island, transited along the edge of the continental shelf, mapped on Blake Plateau and ended in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

These expeditions support the National Strategy for Mapping, Exploring and Characterizing the United States Exclusive Economic Zone (pdf) and Seabed 2030 and will contribute to the Atlantic Seafloor Partnership for Integrated Research and Exploration (ASPIRE) in support of the Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation (pdf).

For more information, contact Faith.Knighton@noaa.gov.

Last updated Sunday, October 31, 2021 8:09am PDT