Home » Ships » Hi'ialakai
Schedules are available through a restricted site. Contact Frank Coluccio at frank.coluccio@noaa.gov, (206) 553-4540, or Operations Division, Marine Operations Center, Pacific, 1801 Fairview Avenue East, Seattle, WA 98102-3767
The Hi'ialakai was acquired from the U.S. Coast Guard in October 2001, and was converted by NOAA from a T-AGOS surveillance vessel to a versatile platform that supports the research of NOAA's National Ocean Service (NOS), National Marine Sanctuaries (NMS), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) as well as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the University of Hawaii. The Hi'ialakai shares a homeport in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii with NOAA ships Ka'imimoana and Oscar Elton Sette, and is part of NOAA's Marine Operations Center - Pacific (MOC-P) fleet. Hi'ialakai, Hawaiian for "embracing pathways to the sea," conducts coral reef ecosystem mapping, bio-analysis assessments, coral reef health and fish stock studies. Scuba diving operations play a major role in scientific operations, and HI'IALAKAI is well suited to support both shallow and deep-water dive projects. The ship is equipped to carry 5 to 6 small work boats for transporting divers to and from working areas, a dive locker to store scientific gear and equipment, and an air compressor to fill tanks. The ship also carries a 3-person, double-lock decompression chamber. Hi'ialakai is outfitted with multibeam equipment to continue the coral reef mapping activities that were initiated in 2002 by the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force. A primary goal is to use the multibeam and backscatter echosounder data to develop a suitable baseline map of the working area. These maps will enable researchers to periodically monitor the reefs to determine whether or not the reef systems are growing or shrinking over time. The coral reef ecosystems are especially important because they support several endemic, threatened, and endangered marine mammals, fish, sea turtles, and birds. The Hi’ialakai carries out most of its dive intensive operations in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands. These islands and their waters were declared a Marine National Monument in 2006. The Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument is one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world. It encompasses 139,797 square miles of the Pacific Ocean - an area larger than all the country's national parks combined. The extensive coral reefs found in Papahanaumokuakea - truly the rainforests of the sea - are home to over 7,000 marine species, one quarter of which are found only in the Hawaiian Archipelago. Many of the islands and shallow water environments are important habitats for rare species such as the threatened green sea turtle and the endangered Hawaiian monk seal. Papahanaumokuakea is also of great cultural importance to Native Hawaiians with significant cultural sites found on the islands of Nihoa and Mokumanamana.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Ship TypeVersatile Platform
Operating AreaHawaiian Islands and the Pacific Insular area which includes the U.S. Trust Territories of American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and Guam
Endurance50 days
Crusing Speed11 knots
Lab Space
Power Availability
Berthing Space22 Maximum
Deck Space
Telemetry Available
29 Mar 2010 14:39