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NOAA Commissions New Survey Vessel Ferdinand R. Hassler
Ferdinand_R_Hassler NOAA Commissions New Survey Vessel
Ferdinand R. Hassler

NOAA’s new state-of-the-art survey vessel, Ferdinand R. Hassler, was commissioned on June 8, at a special ceremony in Norfolk, Virginia. The Hassler, which will acquire hydrographic data primarily on the East Coast and in the Great Lakes, supports the Office of Coast Survey mission to update nautical charts and detect dangers to navigation.

At the ceremony, Captain Gerd Glang (NOAA Corps) spoke of the history and the promise represented by Ferdinand R. Hassler.





Friday, June 8, 2012
301-713-2780 x144

Thank you, Cmdr. Evans, and good afternoon to you all. On behalf of NOAA’s Ocean Service, and the Ocean Service’s Assistant Administrator, Mr. David Kennedy, I welcome you to the commissioning ceremony for the NOAA Ship Ferdinand R. Hassler. It is indeed a pleasure and an honor to speak to you on this occasion.

I’d like to extend a special welcome to Mrs. Kitty Sununu, our ship’s sponsor, and her husband, Senator John Sununu;

…a special welcome also to Dr. Ferdinand R. Hassler the Fifth, and all the Hassler family and their relations who are here today;

…and a very special welcome to our representatives from Naugatuck High School, and Miss Michelina Cioffi, who was a member of the Naugatuck High School class that wisely proposed naming this ship as the Ferdinand R. Hassler.

Glang_Ferdinand_R_HasslerCapt. Gerd Glang offers comments at the commissioning event for NOAA Ship Ferdinand R. Hassler

…I’d like to welcome, as well, Dr. Jan Nisbet, Vice President for Research at the University of New Hampshire; Dr. Larry Mayer, Director of the University of New Hampshire Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping; and Captain Andy Armstrong, Co-director of NOAA’s Joint Hydrographic Center, which is associated with the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping at the University of New Hampshire.

Honored guests, Dr. Sullivan, Rear Admiral Bailey, Rear Admiral Devany, officers and crew of the Hassler:

I would like to offer some remarks today on why this ship is so important, and how it will carry on the legacy of this individual, Ferdinand Hassler.

NOAA’s Ocean Service ‒ the National Ocean Service ‒ has a diverse portfolio of programs that serve to make our coastal communities more resilient and sustainable; that keep our coastal environments vital and productive; and that enable our economy to prosper through commerce and transportation.

The National Ocean Service’s navigation services provide the products and services – the nautical charts in particular – that enable safe navigation in support of maritime commerce and economic prosperity. This is also what links us directly to the legacy of Ferdinand Hassler.

As the first Superintendent of the U.S. Coast Survey, Ferdinand Hassler accomplished much more than just surveying the coast. He was a pioneer who elevated the status of science in government and American society. He came from Europe, to a nation that had little science infrastructure. He left a thriving organization of mathematicians, geodesists, topographers, hydrographers, instrument-makers, engravers, and printers who worked in concert to collect and process the data for our Nation’s nautical charts.

In approaching his mission, the Survey of the Coast, Hassler imbued the U.S. Coast Survey with unswerving devotion to accuracy, precision, and scientific integrity. These values continue to define NOAA’s navigation services to this day.

NOAA Ship Hassler has a mission today that is no less important than her namesake’s mission was in 1807. Thomas Jefferson asked for the survey of the coast to enable the movement of maritime commerce; connecting America’s ports with each other and the world by ensuring safe navigation enabled a growing economy.

We ask the same of Hassler today. She will acquire the data to produce nautical charts that are the foundation of our Nation’s marine transportation system. America cannot ship products overseas, farmers cannot export the food they grow, and tankers cannot bring oil to our refineries, without the navigational charts produced by NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey. We cannot produce those charts without the data acquired by the officers and crew who serve on Hassler and the other NOAA hydrographic survey ships like her.

In the same way that Ferdinand Hassler’s innovations advanced the sciences of mapping and geodesy, the NOAA Ship Hassler will also be central to innovation. By homeporting the ship in New Castle, New Hampshire, we further enable a long-awaited partnership with the University of New Hampshire’s Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping. The Hassler will be central to both research and learning, and to innovations that promise to advance today’s seafloor mapping methods and technologies in spectacular ways. Getting new and multiple uses out of our mapping data will improve our efficiencies and enable other ocean science disciplines. Hassler will be a unique at-sea laboratory to incubate and realize these innovations.

Finally, a word to the officers and crew as you begin NOAA Ship Hassler’s legacy of hydrographic excellence… You’ve heard it said that we have better maps of the moon than we do of the oceans. With this ship, you will fill in those white spaces on our charts and discover unseen wrecks, rocks, and shoals ‒ although it will always still remain a challenge to “get all that hydro.”  Isak Dinesen once said that “the cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.” My guess is that you will taste all three. But today, savor your success in bringing this ship to life, and in making this ship operational. Your work will produce the nautical charts for America’s next century of maritime growth.

Ferdinand Hassler would expect no less from you, and I have no doubt that his legacy will be fulfilled by you.

# # #

For additional information: NOAA Ship Ferdinand R. Hassler, Marine Operations Center

June 12, 2012

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