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The Research Vessel POLAR DUKE

The 219-foot ice-strengthened research vessel (R/V) POLAR DUKE has been chartered by the National Science Foundation for use in the southern oceans and antarctic regional waters. The Foundation invites U.S. scientists to propose to perform research and data collection aboard the ship. Grant funds also are available for evaluation of data and publications of results.

Research objectives aboard the R/V POLAR DUKE fall in the disciplines of marine biology, physical and chemical oceanography, and marine geology and geophysics.

During the austral summer (October through April), the ship works primarily near the Antarctic Peninsula, in the Drake Passage, and in the Scotia, Weddell and Bellingshausen Seas. It also works in conjunction with Palmer Station, a research facility operated year-round by the National Science Foundation as part of the United States Antarctic Program. Tents and other field equipment can be made available from the USAP to support shore-based research tended by the R/V POLAR DUKE. The ship calls regularly at Punta Arenas, Chile, and occasionally at Ushuaia, Argentina, to embark and disembark passengers and cargo. During the austral winter, the vessel continues to operate in the Antarctic and South American waters, and in support of science at Palmer Station.

Built in 1983, the R/V POLAR DUKE was designed for science and transport expeditions in high latitudes and polar regions. The hull has an ice classification similar to an icebreaker, but the vessel has less horsepower than an icebreaker would have. The ship can perform science missions in moderate ice conditions, but must stay clear of heavy ice and working pack to avoid besetment. Space formerly used for cargo has been converted to laboratories, including a wet lab, dry labs, an electronic workshop and electronics laboratory. The ship is equipped with a helicopter deck but has no hangar, and is capable of supporting limited helicopter operations.

For further information, contact the Office of Polar Programs at (703)306-1032, or Antarctic Support Associates at (303)790-8606.


Satellite Communications:

  • JRC Model JUE-45A: Voice, Auto Telefax, Data and Telex
  • Voice, Auto Telefax, Data and Telex

Satellite Navigation Receivers:

  • Magnavox MX3102, Trimble

  • Furuno Model FR-151OD, Daylight Display, 10KW X Band (3cm) Decca TMS 1230C True Motion (10cm)
  • Decca TMS 1230C True Motion (10cm)

Simrad NL Doppler Speed Log


    Built: 1983

    Length: 219 feet

    Beam: 43 feet

    Draft: 19 feet

    Endurance: 90 days

    Gross Tons: 1,594<

    Crew: 14

    Ice Class: 1AA

    Engines: Twin diesel 2250 bhp each, bow and stern

    Thrusters: Controllable pitch 240 RMP propeller

    Kort Nozzle

    Norwegian Registry


    Satellite Navigator-Magnavox MX 1107 GPS, Dual Channel Transit

    Deep Sea Trawl Winch (1/2" mechanical wire x 20,000 ft) (.322 EMC x 30,000 ft)

    Hydrographic Winch (1/4" mechanical wire x 15,000 ft)

    Hydrographic Winch (.225" EMC x 15,000 ft)

    Stern A-Frame (11 Ton SWL)

    Starboard Side Hydro Davit and "Hero" Platform

    Crane: 10 Ton SWL @ 15 meters, 22 Ton SWL @ 8 meters

    Crane: Provision, 1.5 Ton SWL @ 5 meters

    Crane: Afterdeck, HIAB Articulating, 5 Ton SWL @ 3 meters

    Radioisotope Lab Van (8' x 20') with Beckman 3801 LSC, Fume Hood

    Environmental Lab Van (8' x 20') -2 C (+ or - .5 C)

    Electronics Workshop, Spares and Equipment

    Deep Sea Piston Coring System

    3.5 and 12 kHz P.D.R. System

    EPC Single and Dual Channel Analog Recorders (Series 3200 and 4600)

    Sail Loop Acquisition System

    Furuno Side-Scan Sonar, Hull Mounted

    Freezer Storage Space:

    • 30 Cu. Ft. 20 F. 10 Cu. Ft. -70 F. (Ultra Low)
    • 10 Cu. Ft. -70 F. (Ultra Low)

    Refrigerated Incubator

    Dredges and Bottom Sampling Equipment

    Sonobouy Receiver

    Magnetometers, Two EG&G G866 with 500 Foot Cables

    CTD'S: 1 each Sea-Bird Electronics

    Rosette Water Sampler: G.O. 12 Bottle with 5 and 10 Liter Niskins

    Nets and Trawls (IKMT, PLANKTON, BLAKE, OTTER)

    Dive Support Van, MAKO Compressor, Bottle and Drying Racks

    Specimen Holding Tanks (8 EA. 2 x 3 x 4 ft) Uncontaminated Sea Water Supply

    Zodiacs: MK III,V. Outboards: 6, 25, and 40 Horsepower

    Fish Finder: SIMRAD Skipper 810

    Digital Single Channel Acquisition System: Compaq Desk-Pro Computers with Math Co-Processors

    Bernoulli Disk Drives

    Cipher Tape Drives

    NEC Pinwriter 7 printers

    Houston Instruments DMP 56 Plotter

    Gulton Plotter

    Chronology Digital Programmable Clock

    Data Translation D/A Converters

    Data Translation D/A Converters

    Water Gun: Bolt Combo Air/Water Combination

    Compaq 386s Desktop Computer, 5.25", 3.5" Floppy

    • Drives, 20 and 40 Mb Hard Disks, Printers, Color Monitor.

    ATS-3 Satellite System for Voice

    Portable and Ventless Fume Hoods

    Rock Saw and Thin Sectioning Equipment

    Petrographic Microscope

    SIPPICAN MK 9 Digital XBT System

    MacIntosh II CI computer and laser printer

    Pressure Products "HYBALL" Remotely Operated Vehicle

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