The petition to save the Johnson Sea Link submersibles has reached nearly 1700 signatures to date, and the commotion seems to be working. Florida State Representative Adam Fetterman paid a visit to the troubled research institute last week because his office received a letter from a concerned taxpayer. That’s the power of letter writing, folks. It really makes a difference. Newspaper reporters are stopping by, too. Hopefully we can expect to learn more about the politics behind the abandonment plan before the weekend is out.
In the most recent news, a submersible advocacy website Saveoursubs.com is now live, and dishing. From the blog:
The “interim management team” at HBOI is pushing… an agenda to rid them of the R/V Seward Johnson, thereby also rendering the submersibles useless, as the R/V SJ is a purpose-built platform for launching and recovering the submersibles. This agenda is not supported by the employees of Harbor Branch, nor the ship crew, submersible operations department, or the scientific community in general.
There is speculation that the plan to sell the RV Seward Johnson and jettison the subs may cause HBOI to re-compete for a recently won NOAA Cooperative Institute grant with research partner UNCW, but this is not confirmed.