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RV Knorr

The R/V Knorr
Launched: 1968
In service: 1970
Homeport: Woods Hole, Massachusetts
Fate: Active, in service
General characteristics [1]
Type: Research vessel
Tonnage: 2,518 GT
Displacement: 2,685 long tons
Length: 279 ft (85 m)
Beam: 46 ft (14 m)
Draught: 16 ft 6 in (5.03 m)
Installed power:
  • 3 × 1,100 kW (1,500 hp)
  • 1 × 560 kW (750 hp)
  • 2 × Lips electric azimuth thrusters (2 × 1,500 shp)
  • Lips retractable azimuth bow thruster (900 shp)
Speed: 11 knots (20 km/h; 13 mph)
Range: 12,000 nautical miles (22,000 km)
Endurance: 60 days
  • 22 crew
  • 32 scientists
  • 2 technicians
Sensors and
processing systems:
Side-scan sonar

R/V Knorr is a research vessel owned by the U.S. Navy and operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for the U.S. research community in coordination with and as a part of the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) fleet.[2] Knorr is best known as the ship that supported researchers on 1 September 1985 as they discovered the wreck of the RMS Titanic. R/V Knorr (AGOR-15) has traveled more than a million miles—the rough equivalent of two round trips to the Moon or forty trips around the Earth. Her sister ship is the R/V Melville.


  • History 1
  • Specifications 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


R/V Knorr was named in honor of Ernest R. Knorr, a distinguished hydrographic engineer and cartographer who was appointed Chief Engineer Cartographer of the U.S. Navy Hydrographic office in 1860. Chief Engineer Knorr was one of the leaders of the Navy’s first systematic charting and surveying effort from 1860 to 1885. She was launched in 1968 at the Defoe Shipbuilding Company in Bay City, Michigan, Knorr was delivered to Woods Hole in 1970. For her early life, she had Voith-Schneider propellers. She was completely overhauled between 1989 and 1991 adding 34 feet (10 m) of length to her midsection [1].

The ship has anti-roll tanks and an ice-strengthened bow enabling her to work in all of the world’s oceans. She can take a crew of 22 and a scientific party of 34 to sea for as long as 60 days. Knorr was designed to accommodate a wide range of oceanographic tasks, with two instrument hangars and eight scientific work areas; a fully equipped machine shop; three oceanographic winches; and two cranes. Knorr is equipped with sophisticated navigation and satellite communication systems, as well as a dynamic positioning system that allows the ship to move in any direction and to maintain a fixed position in high winds and rough seas.[2]

In 2005–2006, the ship was refitted to support a new “long-coring” system that can extract 150-foot (46 m) plugs of ancient sediments from the sea floor. Weighing nearly 25,000 pounds, the new piston-coring system is the longest in the U.S. research fleet (twice as long as existing systems). Knorr and its long-corer will allow scientists to sample deep, ancient sediments that are rich with historical information about the ocean and climate.

It was announced on December 4, 2014 that the research vessel Knorr is being decommissioned after more than 40 years as the workhorse of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution research fleet. It will be replaced next spring by a new $74 million research vessel, the RV Neil Armstrong.[3]


The dynamic positioning display on the R/V Knorr while it holds position, rotating about the end of her trawl-winch crane.
  • Laboratory space: 256 sq. meters (2,756 sq ft)

Built: 1969 Length: 279 feet (85 m) Draft: 16.5 feet (5 m), with bow thruster lowered - 23 ft (7 m) Displacement: 2,685 LT Range: 12,000 NM Laboratories: 2,756 sq. feet Speed: 11.0 knots cruising Endurance: 60 days Fuel Capacity: 160,500 gallons Mid-Life Overhaul: 1989-1991 Beam: 46 feet (14 m) Gross Tons: 2,518 T Complement: Crew - 22 Scientists - 32 Technicians - 2 Propulsion: Two Lips diesel-electric azimuthing stern thrusters, 1500 SHP each Bow Thruster: Lips retractable azimuthing 900 SHP Ship Service Generators: 3 @ 1,110 KW 600 VAC, 1 @ 560 KW 600 VAC Portable Van Space: At least six 20 ft. vans Winches:

  • Trawl - 30,000' 9/16" wire
  • Hydro (2) - 30,000' 3-cond. EM or 1/4" wire

Heavy Equipment:

  • Cranes - two 60,000 lbs. capacity
  • Midships hydro boom
  • HIAB crane

Sewage System:

  • 3,600 gallons/day
  • 7,000 gal. holding capacity

Ownership: Title held by U.S. Navy; Operated under charter agreement with Office of Naval Research

Other Features: Two instrument hangars, fully equipped machine shop, dynamic-positioning system, four transducer wells, one rigid-hull inflatable rescue/work boat[4]


  1. ^ specificationsKnorrRV . Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Retrieved 2011-11-19.
  2. ^ | UNOLS Research Vessels
  3. ^
  4. ^

External links

  • KnorrWHOI Marine Operations – R/V
  • Dive and Discover - Oceanographic Tools
  • Now?KnorrWhere is
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