The US Navy has commissioned its auxiliary general purpose oceanographic research vessel, R/V Sally Ride (AGOR 28) at the Broadway Pier Port Pavilion in San Diego, US.

Oceanographic research vessels assist scientists by providing tools and capabilities to support research across the globe for better understanding of the world's oceans, atmosphere, and solid earth to solve some of the planet's critical challenges.

R/V Sally Ride will be operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography under a charter party agreement with the US Office of Naval Research.

"This vessel will advance our understanding of the oceans for decades."

Oceanographer and Navigator of the Navy rear admiral Timothy Gallaudet said: "As a Scripps graduate, career oceanographer and naval officer, I cannot think of a more exciting event than this commissioning.

"Scripps is obtaining a capital asset; this vessel will advance our understanding of the oceans for decades, and we need this understanding in order to protect our country, our interests, and our allies."

According to Gallaudet, Sally Ride will support three primary research efforts, climate change, the study of fisheries, and understanding sound in the sea.

Christened after the late Sally Ride, the first American woman in space aboard Space Shuttle Challenger, the 238ft-long vessel is based on a single-hull commercial design.

It is equipped with the latest technology, high-efficiency diesel engines, emissions controls for stack gasses, and new information technology tools to monitor shipboard systems and communicate with the world.

It can accommodate 24 scientists and a crew of 20 personnel.

The first vessel, R/V Neil Armstrong (AGOR 27), was delivered to the navy last year.

Image: Representatives from the US Navy and Scripps Institution of Oceanography during commissioning ceremony. Photo: courtesy of US Navy.