USNS S. P. Lee (T-AGS-31)

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S. P. Lee (T-AGS-31).jpg
United States
Name: S.P. Lee
Namesake: Samuel Phillips Lee
Builder: Defoe Shipbuilding
Laid down: 27 June 1966
Launched: 19 October 1967
Sponsored by: Mrs. David Scull
Acquired: 2 December 1968
Struck: 1 October 1992
Fate: transferred to Mexico, 7 December 1992 under the Security Assistance Program
Status: Unknown
General characteristics
Displacement: 1297 tons
Length: 208 ft 4 in (63.50 m)
Beam: 39 ft (12 m)
Draft: 14 ft 2 in (4.32 m)
Speed: 12 kn (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Complement: 41

USS S. P. Lee was laid down on 27 June 1966 by the Defoe Shipbuilding Co., Bay City, Michigan; launched on 19 October 1967; sponsored by Mrs. David Scull, great granddaughter of Admiral Lee; and was delivered to the navy on 2 December 1968.

Although she had originally been intended to operate under the Oceanographer of the Navy, on 10 September 1968, S. P. Lee was placed under sponsorship of the Naval Underwater Research and Development Center, San Diego, California. Commanded by Capt. Paul L. Sinski, Master, the ship sailed to the Mediterranean and operated out of Naples conducting environmental acoustics tests for the 6th Fleet. For the next four years, but for a period in ready reserve status (7 April to 14 August 1972), she continued to conduct hydro-graphic operations for the navy in both the Atlantic and Pacific. On 25 September 1970, the ship was reclassified AG-192. S. P. Lee was placed back in ready reserve status on 29 January 1973, and transferred to the United States Geological Survey on 27 February 1974.

S.P. Lee (T-AGS-31) was one of the new generation of oceanographic research ships designed and built for that purpose in the 1960s to replace early warship conversions. She is painted white, with the identifying Military Sealift Command funnel bands of black, gold, and blue. Her designation as a civilian-manned “U.S. Naval Ship,” rather than the “United States Ship” borne by commissioned navy ships, is spelled out on her bow. S.P. Lee's fantail is open to make room for heavy research equipment and the machinery needed to handle it.

S.P. Lee was returned to the U.S. Navy and struck from the naval register, 1 October 1992. She was transferred to Mexico, 7 December 1992 under the Security Assistance Program. Final fate unknown.


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.

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