The Bosun's Watch


The Research Vessel Hero

A Brief History of The Hero!
Hero On Ice

The Research Vessel Hero, was built specifically to do scientific research in the Antarctic. This research included marine biology, geology, bio acoustics, atmospheric and physical oceanography. The ship was used from 1968 to 1985 and operated by the National Science Foundation is the agency of the U.S. Government responsible for the coordination and management of the United States Antarctic Research Program. "USARP" whose logo is shown above. The ship is 125 feet long, 30 feet wide. The Hull is Oak Planking, sheathed in South American Hardwood "Greenhart" for protection from ice scraping. She is powered by 2 Diesel Engines, 380 Horse Power Each with a top speed of 12 knots (about 14 miles per hour).

Another View

Dedicated to support of science and international cooperation in the Southern Oceans, the Antarctic research ship Hero was an important part of the United States Antarctic Research Program of the National Science Foundation. She is the namesake of a 47-foot American sailing sloop captained by Nathaniel B. Palmer, who in 1820 became one of the first to view the Antarctic mainland. This modern Hero was built to serve as a mobile platform for the conduct of research in Antarctic Peninsula waters, augmenting the facilities of the U.S. Palmer Station on Anvers Island.

The Hero is a diesel-powered but sail-equipped wooden ship. Wood provides resiliency in sea ice and acoustic quiet. Sails assure steadiness, safety and, again, silence. Her oak hull is sheathed in tough South American greenheart to protect against abrasion by floating ice.

Six scientists and a crew of 12 comprised Hero's normal complement, which for special cruises may have been increased by 2 shipboard investigators or 7 transient personnel. Designed primarily for trawling and other biological collecting, Hero has 2 laboratories to support such diverse activities as physical oceanography, bio acoustic studies, onshore geology and biological investigations.

The Hero's areas of operation from the spring through the fall were the often stormy waters of the Antarctic Peninsula and the Scotia Sea. She operated out of South American ports during the wintertime when long hours of darkness and heavy ice kept her out of sub-Antarctic waters.

Hero was designed by Potter & M. Arthur, Inc., naval architects of Boston, Massachusetts, and constructed by Harvey F. Gamage, Shipbuilder, Inc., South Bristol, Maine. During its commissioned years, the Hero was owned by the National Science Foundation, and operated by ITT Antarctic Services, Inc.

The National Science Foundation is the agency of the U.S. Government responsible for the coordination and management of the United States Antarctic Research Program. USARP comprises investigations conducted by university and government scientists and other researchers at stations on the Antarctic continent and aboard vessels on the surrounding oceans. When in active service, Hero's home port was Palmer Station. Like the other U.S. Antarctic stations, it is maintained by the U.S. Naval Support Force, Antarctica.

More on the Hero, from this address.
Sails, used for "Silent Running" produce a top speed of 8 knots (about 9½ miles per hour). The ship carried a working crew of 12, plus 6 to 12 scientists. The Winter months were spent doing research off Argentina & the Chilean Coast.

Below Is A Post Card From
The Hero's Working Port Of Call.

Front Of Post Card Back Of Post Card

heroThe Antarctic research ship Hero getting some help from the Umpqua River Navigation towboat Juno IV after she ran aground trying to leave the dock in Reedsport, Oregon where she had been on display for an Arctic exploration museum that never got off the ground. A couple who own a shipyard on the Columbia bought Hero and she will be rebuilt as a yacht.
More pictures below.