RV Thompson

The Research Vessel the Thompson in Nootka Sound

The Research Vessel (R/V) Thomas G. Thompson works throughout the world’s ocean basins and is the vessel being used for this node survey cruise of the Ocean Observatories Initiative.

The Thompson and UW team at the dry dock

The R/V Thompson in the Todd Shipyard dry dock in 2009. Students and instructors are in the foreground.

The Thompson and UW team at the dry dock

Operated by the University of Washington

The R/V Thomas G. Thompson is owned by the Office of Naval Research and is operated by the University of Washington's School of Oceanography. The vessel is 274 feet long and has 22 crew members and officers. In addition 36 scientists and 2 marine technicians can be taken aboard for research expeditions.

Similar to a Small City
The Thompson is similar to a small city in that it is self contained with food stores that can supply the crew for > 45 days, desalinators that produce 8,000 gallons of fresh water each day, and generators that produce power to run the ship, provide lighting, and power for laboratories, communications, and navigation equipment. It uses the Global Positioning System (GPS) integrated with dynamic positioning (DP) to hold station within 1-2 meters.

Mapping Tools
On this cruise, the Thompson is host to Sentry, the newest of the U.S. Deep Submergence Facility’s autonomous underwater vehicles, and Jason to accomplish highly detailed mapping of the areas around the node sites for Hydrate Ridge, Axial Volcano, and the Coastal and Global Scale Nodes Endurance Array Lines. The Thompson’s hull-mounted EM300 sonar system will also be used for mapping and is capable of producing high-resolution bathymetric maps while steaming at 8-12 knots.

More info on R/V Thomas G. Thompson