S.O.S – Save Our Subs website goes live

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.

Peter Etnoyer (406 Posts)

PhD candidate at Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi and doctoral fellow Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies.





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2 comments on “S.O.S – Save Our Subs website goes live
  1. I imagine both the R/V Seward Johnson, and the subs was a major consideration in the political decision that was the Cooperative Institute grant. If HBOI has no subs…

    Any mention of the other HBOI submersible in all of this?

  2. Absolutely, the capabilities of the ship and subs figured prominently in the CI proposal. Their utilization was implicitly or explicitly required for the majority of proposed projects.

    Of course, the fact that all of the projects were merely ‘proposals’ is precisely the rationale being offered as justification for the oddly-timed decision to now look to sell/shutter the assets after the reward has already been announced. Harbor Branch is not technically on the hook to do any of the exact projects laid out in the proposal. Some bait-and-switch, huh?

    I can only assume NOAA and the CI partner are enraged. It would be sort of like agreeing to commit significant effort and resources to partner with NASA to do man-in-space research only to arrive at the start of the collaboration only to have the NASA administrator tell you, “Oh yeah, all that people-in-space stuff. . . we don’t do that anymore.”

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