Halter Marine has officially started the construction of the US Navy’s eighth Pathfinder-class oceanographic survey ship, T-AGS 67.

The beginning of the construction of T-AGS 67 was marked by a keel-laying ceremony held at the company’s shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi on 4 October.

During the ceremony, US Navy Programme Executive Officer, Ships rear admiral Tom Anderson authenticated the keel for the new survey vessel.

Anderson said: “We look forward to delivering another ship that provides significant capability in undersea warfare and charting world’s coastlines.”

Once constructed, the ship will be operated by Military Sealift Command (MSC).

T-AGS 67 will be a 350ft-long multi-mission platform that can carry out acoustic, geophysical biological and physical surveys.

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It will have a moon pool for deployment and retrieval of the uncrewed vehicles.

In a separate development, Bollinger Houma Shipyards has laid the keel for the US Navy’s Navajo-class towing, salvage and rescue ship (T-ATS), the future USNS Saginaw Ojibwe Anishinabek (T-ATS 8), on 3 October.

The T-ATS 8 is named after the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe, whose chief Theresa Peters Jackson was also the keel authenticator for the ship. 

Anderson said: “This is an awesome Navy Day as we gather to celebrate this multi-mission platform and the range of capabilities it will bring to fleet, including towing, salvage, rescue, oil spill response and humanitarian assistance.

“It is an honour to be joined by members of Saginaw Chippewa Tribe as keel is authenticated for their namesake ship and we are excited to honour their heritage and commitment to service of country.”

The T-ATS is deployed to support fleet operations of various ocean-going tug, salvage and rescue ships.

Bollinger is also building USNS Navajo (T-ATS 6) and USNS Cherokee Nation (T-ATS 7).