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VIDEO CLIP: Remarks by Captain Anita Lopez during the bell ceremony. Video by Shelley Dawicki, NEFSC/NOAA

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December 11, 2012
by Shelley Dawicki

NOAA Ship Delaware II Ship's Bell Presented to NEFSC

With the ship’s quarterboard as a backdrop, the bell from the NOAA ship Delaware II was presented to the NEFSC in a brief ceremony November 16 in the Woods Hole Laboratory’s Stephen H. Clark Conference Room. It will next be on permanent display at the laboratory, initially in the main lobby.

Captain Anita Lopez, Commanding Officer of NOAA’s Marine Operations Center-Atlantic, officially presented the ship’s bell to the NEFSC.

"Admiral Devaney, Admiral Score, myself, and the Office of Marine and Aviation Operations felt that it was only fitting that her bell be brought back to reside with the institution, the scientists, and the community that relied on her over the past four decades to provide critical stock assessment data and sustained fisheries here in New England," said Lopez.

"Today, on behalf of OMAO, it is my privilege and honor to present you with the Delaware II’s bell. At this time, I’d like to recommission her bell as an historical artifact to the lab," she said.

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Lt. j.g. Shannon Hefferan symbolically rang the bell four times. Photo by Shelley Dawicki, NEFSC/NOAA
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Bill Karp, Anita Lopez and Shannon Hefferan pose with the bell.. Photo by Shelley Dawicki, NEFSC/NOAA

Lt. j.g. Shannon Hefferan, NOAA Corps, who was assigned to the Delaware II as a navigation and operations officer before joining the crew on the NEFSC's nearshore research vessel Gloria Michelle, then rang the bell four times, symbolic of a commissioning.

Bill Karp, NEFSC Science and Research Director, said a ship’s bell for him symbolized the importance of the research fleet to the work of the science centers, and the relationship between the centers, the fisheries service and OMAO. Although he grew up with a different vessel which is also now decommissioned, the Miller Freeman, Karp said it was clear how important any particular research vessel is to the life of an institution such as the science center.

"Many of you grew up with this vessel, grew up professionally and spent a lot of time at sea, and have a lot of stories to tell. That’s a very important part of the tradition of this center," Karp said, noting the bell also represented the very strong and critical relationship between the centers, the fisheries service and OMAO.

"Hearing that bell ring and resonate so richly in this room, I am reminded of the history and tradition of the science that we do, the importance of the work that we do, and the importance of the partnerships that we have in doing that work," said Karp.

A celebration of the ship’s 44 years of service was held in Woods Hole June 15. Rear Admiral Michael Devaney, director of the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps and director of the NOAA Office of Marine and Aviation Operations; Rear Admiral David Score, director of NOAA’s Marine and Aviation Operations Centers; and Captain Lopez attended that celebration. Delaware II sailed from Woods Hole for the last time on June 20, headed for NOAA’s MOC-Atlantic fleet facilities in Norfolk, Virginia. The 155-foot vessel was formally decommissioned in Norfolk September 28, 2012 at 11:06 a.m. The vessel’s future is unknown, although it is likely to be put up for sale.

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