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Friday, October 4, 2013

Despite U.S. Shutdown, Many Marine Researchers Still Afloat

Still sailing. A U.S. government shutdown hasn't idled the Ronald H. Brown, a research vessel operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, although it is now in port in Brazil.
Ahoy! Despite some reports to the contrary, many U.S.-funded research vessels are not returning to port because of the U.S. government shutdown—at least until December.
The American Geophysical Union (AGU) caused consternation among some marine scientists on 1 October when it suggested in a press release that government research vessels would have to return to port if the shutdown lasted more than 24 hours. But ship operators tellScienceInsider that while some vessels have been idled by the lack of government funds, many major ships used by scientists are still under way. 
“None of our ships have been recalled to port,” says Jon Alberts, executive secretary of the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS), which counts 19 vessels in a fleet heavily used by academic researchers. It includes ships owned by the government but operated by nonprofit partners and university. UNOLS ships are funded on a calendar-year basis and have money to operate through 31 December 2013, Alberts explained.

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