NOAA names ship after Brown

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration launched its newest research vessel last month and named it in honor of former Commerce Secretary Ronald Brown, killed in a plane crash in Bosnia April 3.

NOAA originally intended to name the 3,250-ton, 274-feet-long ship "Researcher" but changed the name to honor Brown.

The "Ronald H. Brown," which was christened by Brown's widow, Alma Brown, at the Halter Marine Inc. shipyard, Moss Point, Miss., is the first vessel NOAA has built in 16 years.

The Navy-funded Brown features an advanced Scientific Information System running over a fiber-optic, local-area network that collects, stores, processes and retrieves a variety of oceanographic data from navigation sensors, bathymetric sonar systems and other mission sensors. Data can be transmitted to locations worldwide via satellite communications links.

Rear Adm. William Stubblefield, director of the Office of NOAA Corps Operations, said the Ronald H. Brown "is designed with greater seagoing and scientific capabilities than our current oceanographic ships, but with its modern technology we expect it to be less expensive to operate."

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