The R/V Knorr is sailing for the last time after nearly 1.4 million miles on the sea. The famous vessel has crossed the equator over 43 times.
The Knorr pulled into port on Wednesday after 44 years of great oceanic discoveries. The Knorr was the vessel to discover the wreckage of the RMS Titanic and also many other oceanic and biological wonders.
In recent ocean news, there was a man who caught a giant lobster. According to a report by the Inquisitr, the man caught a giant lobster, befriended it, then released it back into the ocean.
“It’s the end of an era,” said Knorr captain Sheasley, who has steered the ship through 70-foot seas, hurricanes, and treacherous waters. “It’s hard to really, fully comprehend that this is it.” Retired Navy Rear Admiral Richard Pittenger said the Knorr is a “victim of federal agencies intent on downsizing the fleet.”
“We all have a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that have gone into keeping this ship running,” he said as he watched the Knorr sail in. “It’s a sad day.”
The Knorr going into retirement marks a sad reality: the government’s budget cuts and shifting priorities. The Knorr was one of seven global academic ships that could be used for research and exploration in almost any environment.
“We’re losing science,” said Susan Avery, president of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, which has operated the Knorr as the flagship of its small fleet since 1970. “What we’re losing is the capacity to speed up our understanding and knowledge of a changing ocean. People don’t realize that our whole climate system depends on the ocean.”
The Knorr and its sister ship, the R/V Melville, will be replaced with smaller, less well-equipped vessels. The R/V Armstrong will replace Knorr, a more efficient vessel with more sophisticated technology, but it cannot hold as many crew members, scientists, or equipment.
This replacement has already impacted current studies and will also impact future studies. “The future of this research is about as uncertain now as the future of the Knorr,” said Jim Broda, a senior research specialist aboard the ship who designed the long core system. “It would take millions of dollars to put this on another ship.”
“There are so many memories,” said Dutch Wegman, an engineer on Knorr who spent many years looking after the ship. “It’s like losing a best friend.”
When the Knorr was docked, several signs were hung on the ship. One read: “For sale.” Another read: “1,360,630 miles for science.” Lastly: “So long old girl.”
[Image via NASA]