Bollinger Shipyards will refit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) oceanographic research vessel Ronald H. Brown, the largest vessel in NOAA’s fleet at 274'.

The work will be done at Bollinger Mississippi Repair, Pascagoula, Miss. The overhaul is expected to extend the life of the vessel, first launched in 1996, by an additional 15 years. The vessel refit is scheduled to be completed and redelivered to NOAA in August 2024.

“Here on the Gulf Coast, we’re intimately familiar with the breadth and importance of NOAA’s mission, so we’re proud to be entrusted to extend the service life of the Ronald H. Brown,” Ben Bordelon, president and CEO of Bollinger Shipyards. “

During the refit modification, the propulsion system will largely be replaced with new more environmentally friendly diesel generators, renewal of the bowthruster and propulsion motors, new switchboards, control systems, and alarms. Additional ship systems that are scheduled to be upgraded include the potable water plants, sewage plant, uncontaminated seawater sampling system, HVAC systems, tank level indicators, navigational components, radar renewals, overhead lighting, and ballast and exterior fuel tank vent renewals. Bollinger will replace much of the ship’s piping, along with steel as identified by the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS).

“NOAA Ship Ronald H. Brown is a global class vessel supporting scientific research to increase our understanding of climate and the ocean," said NOAA Commissioned Corps Capt. Amanda Goeller, commanding officer of NOAA Marine Operations Center — Atlantic. "These repairs, system overhauls and modernization will allow the ship to continue operating for many years to come."

The ship is named to honor the late Ronald H. Brown, the first African American to serve as Secretary of Commerce. Brown made it his mission to generate jobs and provide opportunities for ordinary Americans, and he was an ardent supporter of the NOAA fleet. He was killed in a plane crash on April 3, 1996, while on a trade mission to Bosnia.