USNS Titan (T-AGOS-15)

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NOAAS Ka'Imimoana (R-333), ex-USNS Titan (T-AGOS-15)
NOAAS Ka'Imimoana (R 333), ex-USNS Titan (T-AGOS-15), sometime between 1996 and 2009.
Flag of the United States.svg
United States
Name: USNS Titan (T-AGOS-15)
Namesake: A titan is something or someone of very large stature, greatness, or godliness
Operator: Military Sealift Command
Ordered: 30 June 1986
Builder: VT Halter Marine, Inc., Moss Point, Mississippi
Laid down: 30 October 1986
Launched: 18 June 1988
Acquired: 8 March 1989 (delivered)
In service: 8 March 1989
Out of service: 31 August 1993
Struck: 31 August 1993
Fate: Transferred to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 31 August 1993
NOAA Flag.svgUnited States
Name: NOAAS Ka'imimoana (R 333)
Namesake: Ka'imimoana is a Hawaiian word meaning "Ocean Seeker"
Acquired: 31 August 1993
Commissioned: 25 April 1996
Decommissioned: 18 June 2014
Homeport: Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
Status: Inactive in NOAA Pacific Fleet
General characteristics (as U.S. Navy ocean surveillance ship)
Class and type: Stalwart class
Displacement: 2,250 tons (as built)
Length: 224 ft (68 m)
Beam: 43 ft (13 m)
Draft: 16.0 ft (4.9 m)
Propulsion: Diesel-electric, two shafts, 1,600 hp
Speed: 11 kt cruise
Crew: 36
General characteristics (as NOAA oceanographic research ship)
Class and type: ex-U.S. Navy Stalwart-class research ship
  • 1,650 tons (light)
  • 2,301 tons (full load)
Length: 224 ft (68 m)
Beam: 43 ft (13 m)
Draft: 15 ft (4.6 m)
Installed power: 1,600 hp (1.2 MW)
Propulsion: Diesel-electric: Two General Electric 800 hp (0.60 MW) diesel engines, twin fixed-pitch propellers, 116,000 US gal (440 m3) fuel; 550 hp (0.41 MW) Schottelbow thruster
Speed: 10.5 knots (19.4 km/h; 12.1 mph) (sustained)
Range: 8,000 nautical miles (15,000 km; 9,200 mi)
Endurance: 30 days
Boats & landing
craft carried:
One 22 ft (6.7 m) rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB); one 17-foot (5.2-meter) inflatable utility boat
Complement: 20 (3 NOAA Corps officers, 1 U.S. Public Health Service Health Programs Officer, 3 licensed engineers, and 13 other crew) plus up to 12 scientists
Sensors and
processing systems:
Deep-water echosounder, shallow-water echosounder, hull-mounted acoustic release transducer, navigation fathometer, X-band radar, S-band radar, Global Positioning System receivers, VHF radio direction finder, Sperry gyrocompass
Notes: Welded steel, ice-strengthened hull

USNS Titan (T-AGOS-15) was a Stalwart-class modified tactical auxiliary general ocean surveillance ship in service in the United States Navy from 1989 to 1993. From 1996 to 2014, she was in commission in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) fleet as the oceanographic research ship NOAAS Ka'imimoana (R 333).


The U.S. Navy ordered Titan from VT Halter Marine, Inc., on 30 June 1986. VT Halter Marine laid her down at Moss Point, Mississippi, on 30 October 1986, launched her on 18 June 1988, and delivered her to the U.S. Navy on 8 March 1989.

United States Navy service[edit]

On the day of her delivery, the U.S. Navy placed the ship in non-commissioned service in the Military Sealift Command as USNS Titan (T-AGOS-15). Like the other Stalwart-class ships, she was designed to collect underwater acoustical data in support of Cold War anti-submarine warfare operations against Soviet Navy submarines using Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System (SURTASS) sonar equipment. She operated with a mixed crew of U.S. Navy personnel and civilian merchant mariners.

After the Cold War ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union in late December 1991, the requirement for SURTASS collection declined. The Navy took Titan out of service on 31 August 1993 and struck her from the Naval Vessel Register and transferred to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) the same day.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration service[edit]

NOAAS Ka'Imimoana (R 333) moored at Bishop Point wharf at the entrance to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on 6 June 2000.
NOAAS Ka'imimoana (R 333) services an Atlas buoy in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Atlas buoys measure ocean temperature at varying depths and provide warning of upcoming El Niño and La Niña events.

The conversion of Titan into an oceanographic research ship began in May 1995 at the shipyard of Maritime Contractors, Inc., at Bellingham, Washington. Delivered to NOAA in April 1996 after completion of the conversion, the ship was commissioned into NOAA service as NOAAS Ka'imimoana (R 333) on 25 April 1996.


Ka'imimoana has berthing for 33 people in 21 single staterooms and six double staterooms providing her with the capacity to carry up to 12 scientists. She can seat 24 people at a time in two crew's mess rooms, eight in the forward room and 16 in the aft room. She has a medical treatment room with one bunk, overseen by a United States Public Health Service Health Programs Officer.

Ka'imimoana has 950 sq ft (88 m2) of laboratory space. On deck, she has a brailing winch, a CTD winch, three cranes, an A-frame, and a J-frame. She carries two boats, a 22 ft (6.7 m) rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) as a rescue boat and a 17 ft (5.2 m) inflatable utility boat. She is equipped with echosounders, a hull-mounted acoustic release transducer, a navigation fathometer, X-band and S-band radar, Global Positioning System receivers, a VHF radio direction finder, and a Sperry gyrocompass.


Ka'imimoana was home-ported at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and was the only NOAA ship dedicated solely to climate research. She supported NOAA's Tropical Atmosphere Ocean project, which is designed to improve understanding of the role of the tropical ocean in modifying the world's climate.

Ka'imimoana deployed, recovered, and serviced the National Data Buoy Center's deep-sea moorings—which measure ocean currents, ocean temperatures, and atmospheric variables—in the equatorial Pacific Ocean and transmitted buoy measurements in real time to NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle, Washington. She also continuously measured upper ocean currents, surface salinity, carbon dioxide content, and sea-level atmospheric conditions while underway.

Ka'imimoana was retired by NOAA on 18 June 2014. She had been inactive since 2012.[1]



  1. ^ "NOAA says farewell to NOAA ships Ka'imimoana and McArthur II". 2014-06-18. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 


  • Wertheim, Eric, ed. The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World, 15th Edition: Their Ships, Aircraft, and Systems. Annapolis, Maryland: United States Naval Institute Press, 2007. ISBN 978-1-59114-955-2. ISSN 1057-4581.

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