Designed by the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD), as Oceanographer and laid down on 22 July 1963 by Gibbs Shipyards at Jacksonville, FL under contract to Aerojet General Shipyards and launched on 18 April 1964. Constructed under MARAD's supervision, she was completed on 20 April 1966, at 303 feet (92 meters) in length the largest vessel constructed for research purposes to date. Renamed in 2005 M/V Sahara began a refit project at a Seattle, WA shipyard to become a luxury cruise ship. Vessel is currently located on the west coast of Mexico.
Oceanographer and NOAA Ships Discover and Malcolm Baldbridge, ex-Researcher, were replaced by NOAAS Ronald H. Brown under the NOAA Fleet Modernization Program in the 1990s. After being decommissioned in 1996, Oceanographer was sold to the Kirkland Yacht Club Marina of Kirkland Washington, to act as a breakwater and was renamed M/V Protector. Protector was tied up at the marina from 1997 to 2005.
In August 2005, Protector was renamed M/V Sahara and towed to a Seattle, Washington, shipyard to be refitted as a luxury cruise ship.
In 2010 Lia Hawkins died while working to convert the M/V Sahara to a luxury cruise ship. Courts awarded $3.45 million to the estate. The ship’s owner, G Shipping Ltd., a Malta company controlled by Italian race-car driver and hotelier Emanuele Garosci appears to have had the ship claimed by the courts in lieu of payment.
As of 2016, the project has been canceled and the ship is for sale.
Please contact Owner's Agent Scott Eginton for additional details.
SAHARA was originally named "Oceanographer" and was built by Aerojet General Shipyards at Jacksonville, Florida. At 303 feet (92 meters) in length she was the largest vessel constructed for research purposes to date. Her stark white paint, large radome aft of the funnels and heavy crane on the aft deck gave her a distinctive appearance. She had chemistry, wet and dry oceanographic, meteorological, gravimetric, and photographic laboratories. She also had several precision oceanographic winches.USC&GS Oceanographer entered service with the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey on 13 July 1966, the second Coast and Geodetic Survey ship of the name, serving as flagship of the Survey’s fleet. When the Coast and Geodetic Survey and other United States Government agencies combined to form NOAA in 1970, she became flagship of the NOAA fleet and, as NOAAS Oceanographer, the first NOAA ship to bear the name.
During her years of service, Oceanographer sailed over 2,000,000 nautical miles (3,700,000 km) in every major ocean. In 1967 she transited from the United States East Coast to the United States West Coast via the North Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Pacific making many good-will stops along the way. In 1969 she completed the circumnavigation of the globe she began in 1967 voyage when she returned to the U.S. East Coast.
Other highlights of Oceanographer’s career included participation in the first large-scale, coordinated international sea-air interaction survey, known as the BOMEX Study, in 1969, and environmental base-line studies on deep-ocean mining (DOMES). In 1980, Oceanographer became the first U.S. Government vessel allowed into a port of the People’s Republic of China.
955 Harbor Island Drive
San Diego, CA 92101