NOAA and the Port of Newport today dedicated a new NOAA ship operations facility in Newport, Ore., during a ceremony attended by federal, state and local officials and the public. The NOAA Marine Operations Center-Pacific serves as a homeport for four NOAA research and survey ships and provides administrative, engineering, maintenance and logistical support for NOAA's Pacific fleet.
"This state-of-the-art facility is a vital part of the nation's research infrastructure, and will allow NOAA to continue providing the highest level of science, service and stewardship to the American people," said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere. "We thank the Port of Newport for their hard work to get the facility ready and the community for the warm welcome."
Conceptual drawing of the NOAA Marine Operations Center-Pacific in Newport, Ore. (Credit: NOAA)The facility, which NOAA leases from the Port of Newport, includes 40,852 square feet of office and warehouse space, a 1,300-foot-long pier, and a small boat dock. The main buildings are built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards for environmentally sustainable construction. NOAA signed a 20-year lease with the Port of Newport in August 2009 following a competitive lease award process.
The NOAA Marine Operations Center-Pacific supports nine ships, including vessels home ported in Hawaii and Alaska. The center and ships are part of the Silver Spring, Md.-based NOAA Office of Marine and Aviation Operations, which includes civilians and NOAA Corps officers. The NOAA Corps is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States.
The ships in NOAA's Pacific fleet collect data essential to protecting marine mammals, coral reefs and historic shipwrecks, managing commercial marine fish stocks, understanding climate processes, and producing nautical charts that help keep mariners safe. NOAA ships also deploy and help maintain buoys that gather oceanographic and weather information and warn of tsunamis.