Nathaniel B. Palmer (icebreaker)

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Nathaniel B. Palmer
Icebreaker Nathaniel B. Palmer, serving the National Science Foundation.
United States
NamesakeNathaniel Palmer
OwnerOffshore Service Vessels LLC
OperatorLockheed Martin Antarctic Support Contract
BuilderNorth American Shipbuilding Company
Yard number137[1]
In service1992
HomeportPunta Arenas, Patagonia
StatusIn service
General characteristics
TypeResearch vessel
Tonnage6,174 GT
Length94 m (308 ft)
Beam18.3 m (60 ft)
HeightNDL[clarification needed]
Draft6.8 m (22 ft)
Depth9.1 m (30 ft)
Ice classABS A2
Installed power4 × Caterpillar 3608
Endurance65 days
Aircraft carriedhelicopter

Nathaniel B. Palmer is an icebreaking research vessel (RVIB) owned by Offshore Service Vessels LLC, operated by Edison Chouest Offshore, Inc. and chartered by the United States National Science Foundation. Nathaniel B. Palmer is tasked with extended scientific missions in the Antarctic.[2][3] Nathaniel B. Palmer was purpose-built for and delivered to the NSF by Edison Chouest Offshore's North American Shipbuilding facility in 1992. Nathaniel B. Palmer is able to support up to two helicopters, accommodates up to 45 science and technical personnel, has a crew of 22 and is capable of missions lasting up to 65 days. The vessel is named after merchant mariner and ship builder Nathaniel Brown Palmer, credited by some historians as the first American to see Antarctica.[2]

In February 2020, researchers aboard the vessel with the international Thwaites Glacier Offshore Research (THOR) project discovered Sif Island, located in Pine Island Bay of the Amundsen Sea, in Antarctica.[4][5]



  1. ^ a b c "Coast Guard Vessel Documentation". Vessel Documentation Search. NOAA Office of Science and Technology National Marine Fisheries Service. 2004-06-30. Archived from the original on 2012-12-15. Retrieved 2012-12-15. Hull Number: 137
  2. ^ a b "R/V Nathaniel B. Palmer". National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs. National Science Foundation. 2012. Archived from the original on 2013-02-01. Retrieved 2012-12-15. In 1992, Edison Chouest Offshore Inc., Galliano, Louisiana, built and delivered a 94-meter research ship with icebreaking capability for use by the U.S. Antarctic Program for 10 years or more.
  3. ^ "Raytheon Polar Services Company" (PDF). Raytheon Company. 2002. RPS-02-010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-06-30. Retrieved 2015-06-04. Research vessels: Laurence M. Gould and the Nathaniel B. Palmer
  4. ^ Specktor, Brandon (February 28, 2020). "Melting ice in Antarctica reveals new uncharted island". Live Science. Archived from the original on February 29, 2020. Retrieved March 1, 2020.
  5. ^ Giuliana, Viglione (February 21, 2020). "New Antarctic island spotted as mammoth glacier retreats". Nature. 578 (501): 501. Bibcode:2020Natur.578..501V. doi:10.1038/d41586-020-00489-4. PMID 32099127.

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