The US Navy’s Military Sealift Command has awarded a $19m contract to a US defence contractor 3PSC for the operation and maintenance of six Military Sealift Command (MSC) oceanographic survey ships around the world.

Of the Navy’s seven MSC oceanographic ships, six perform acoustic, biological, physical and geophysical surveys, providing the US military with information on the ocean environment.

The six MSC ships map a broad section of ocean floor continuously for navigation by using multi-beam, wide-angle, precision sonar systems while the seventh ship collects data in coastal regions worldwide.

The accumulated data from the ships will help to enhance technology in undersea warfare, ship detection and will also chart the world’s coastlines.

The contract includes a seventh vessel option, four one-year options and five six-month options which if exercised would make the contract value to $266,532,588.

The work is expected to be complete in March 2017.