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NOAA Relocates Atlantic Base to Naval Station Newport

NOAA base
Courtesy NOAA

Published Dec 6, 2023 4:55 PM by The Maritime Executive

NOAA is moving ahead with a new Atlantic marine operations center at Naval Station Newport in Rhode Island. The new base will have a finger pier with space for four ships, plus a warehouse and workshop building and laydown space. 

The U.S. Navy has awarded a contract for $147 million to Skanska USA to carry out the design and construction of the new facility. 

NOAA's current Atlantic base is a private yard with its own gate and security near downtown Norfolk, Virginia. At Newport, Rhode Island, it will share base infrastructure with new neighbors, including the U.S. Naval Undersea Warfare Center and the U.S. Naval War College. 

“By co-locating with Naval Station Newport, we are able to make our ship operations more efficient and increase long-term cost savings through sharing common capabilities,” said NOAA Corps Rear Admiral Nancy Hann, director of NOAA Marine and Aviation Operations. “We are excited to take this step in creating a state-of-the-art marine operations center for NOAA in Rhode Island.”

The organization relocated its primary marine operations base to the Oregon coast city of Newport in 2011, so now its East and West Coast homeports will both be based in towns of the same name. 

The ships in NOAA’s Atlantic fleet collect data that is used for protecting marine life, managing commercial fisheries, monitoring climate change and producing nautical charts. Its seagoing personnel must maintain a "secret"-level security clearance, and several of its largest vessels are converted Navy sub-tracking ships transferred from Military Sealift Command.