The US Navy’s newest Pathfinder class oceanographic survey ship, USNS Maury (T-AGS 66), has successfully concluded its first voyage.

The vessel sailed from its construction site VT Halter Marine in Pascagoula, Mississippi, to Port Everglades near Ft Lauderdale, Florida, US.

During the initials days of USNS Maury’s maiden voyage, the Naval Oceanographic Office’s (NAVOCEANO) civilian survey detachment conducted initial testing of routine over-the-side operations and the ship’s equipment.

"USNS Maury is more than a simple addition to the existing fleet of T-AGS vessels."

Testing of equipment also included the underwater cameras, which will be used for autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) launch and recovery operations.

NAVOCEANO executive officer captain Nick Vincent said: "USNS Maury is more than a simple addition to the existing fleet of T-AGS vessels; in the coming years, her unique capabilities will provide our surveyors the opportunity to support the warfighter using the latest and greatest technology, and ultimately lay the foundation for the next class of survey vessels."

The vessel has been named in honour of commander Matthew Fontaine Maury, who was known as the Pathfinder of the Seas and father of modern oceanography.

The 353ft-long USNS Maury is the last of the Pathfinder class oceanographic survey ships. It features a moon pool, which will be used for launch and recovery of AUVs and other oceanographic systems.

USNS Maury will be placed under the authority of Military Sealift Command (MSC) and will be technically controlled by NAVOCEANO for Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, based at Stennis Space Center in southern Mississippi.

Image: USNS Maury completes its maiden voyage. Photo: courtesy of US Navy.