Research vessel Sikuliaq to be christened, launched

R/V Sikuliaq

Sharice Walker
907-474-7208, 907-590-1175

The christening and launch ceremony for the research vessel Sikuliaq is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 13. A media availability will follow. Key dignitaries include National Science Foundation director Subra Suresh and University of Alaska Fairbanks Chancellor Brian Rogers.

The 261-foot ship is owned by the NSF and will be operated by the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. Seward, Alaska will serve as the homeport for the Sikuliaq once construction is complete in 2013. The ship is designed for oceanographic research in the icy waters of polar and subpolar regions of the world. It will be able to break through ice up to 2.5 feet thick, making it unique among the national academic research fleet. The name Sikuliaq, pronounced [see-KOO-lee-ack], is an Inupiaq word meaning “young sea ice.”

Any media members planning on attending the launch must contact UAF SFOS public information officer Sharice Walker at by 5 p.m. Alaska time on Thursday, Oct. 11 to arrange for press credentials. For media outlets not attending the event, multimedia content, including photographs, interview soundbites and video B-roll will be available for download from an FTP site hosted by the NSF. Contact Walker via email to arrange access to the site. Planned content includes:

Friday, Oct. 12: B-roll of ship in launch cradles, clips of interviews with ship sponsors, background documents provided in press packets.
Saturday, Oct. 13: Stills from the event, B-roll of christening ceremony, ship launch, and event, crowd and interview clips from media availability after launch.

More information about the R/V Sikuliaq is available online at

ADDITIONAL CONTACTS: Marmian Grimes, UAF public information officer, 907-474-7902 or