NOAAS Mount Mitchell (S 222)

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NOAAS Mount Mitchell (S 222) before renovation
Career (United States) U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey flag.png 60px
Name: Mount Mitchell (S 222)
Namesake: Mount Mitchell in North Carolina
Builder: Aerojet-General Shipyards, Jacksonville, Florida
Launched: 29 November 1966
Commissioned: 23 March 1968
Decommissioned: 1995
Struck: 1995
Homeport: Norfolk, Virginia
Fate: Sold; became private research vessel R/V Mount Mitchell
Notes: Served in United States Coast and Geodetic Survey 1968-1970
Served in National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 1970-1995
General characteristics
Class and type: Mount Mitchell-class hydrographic survey ship
Tonnage: 1,591 gross register tons
578 net register tons
Displacement: 1,800 tons
Length: 70.4 m (231 ft)
Beam: 12.8 m (42 ft) moulded
Draft: 4.4 m (14 ft) maximum
Installed power: 2,400 shaft horsepower (3.2 megawatts)
Propulsion: Two 1,200-horsepower (1.6-megawatt) General Motors geared diesel engines, 2 shafts, 107,000 gallons fuel; one 200-horsepower (0.27-megawatt) Detroit Diesel/Bird Johnson geared through-hull bow thruster
Speed: 12 to 12.5 knots (cruising)
Range: 5,898 nautical miles (10,923 kilometers)
Endurance: 22 days
Boats and landing
craft carried:
Three or four 8.8 m (29 ft) survey launches, two motor whaleboats, three Boston Whaler utility boats
Complement: 49 (10 NOAA Corps officers, 4 licensed engineers, and 35 other crew members), plus up to 4 scientists[1]
Notes: Ice-strengthened hull; 300 kilowatts electrical power plus 75-kilowatt emergency generator

NOAAS Mount Mitchell (S 222), previously USC&GS Mount Mitchell, was a survey vessel which served in the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey from 1968 to 1970 and in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration survey vessel from 1970 to 1995.

Mount Mitchell was built at the Aerojet-General Shipyards in Jacksonville, Florida. Launched on 29 November 1966, she was commissioned into the Coast and Geodetic Survey in March 1968 as USC&GS Mount Mitchell. When the Survey merged with other organizations to form NOAA in 1970, she became part of the NOAA fleet as NOAAS Mount Mitchell (S 222). She was the sister ship of the NOAAS Fairweather and NOAAS Rainier, which are both still in service.

Mount Mitchell operated as a multipurpose vessel. She had an oceanographic laboratory, several echosounders, and an oceanographic winch. She also had a hydroplot data-processing system, as did two of her survey launches.

Mount Mitchell conducted hydrographic surveys on the United States East Coast and in the Caribbean, and served as an oceanographic vessel throughout much of the North Atlantic Ocean on various projects. In the late 1980s she was fitted with a multi-beam sounding system for hydrographic work related to establishing the maritime exclusive economic zone of the United States and discovered Mitchell Dome among other large, economically significant undersea features in the Gulf of Mexico. In 1992 she proceeded to the Persian Gulf to study the effects of the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War oil spills into the Gulf. After returning to the United States, she resumed operations as a hydrographic survey vessel until decommissioning in 1995.

After decommissioning, Mount Mitchell was purchased in 2001 by Mt. Mitchell LLC and was completely refurbished and retro-fitted with the latest in electronics, machinery, and safety equipment. The vessel arrived in Seattle in 2003 and is managed and operated by Global Seas LLC, headquartered in Seattle, Washington.


  1. Per Combat Fleets of the World 2007, the complement is 69 (12 NOAA Corps officers, 5 licensed civilian officers and 52 other crew members) plus up to 4 scientists.


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