Hull Number: TAGS 63
Delivered: February 1998
Length (feet): 329,
Beam (feet): 58
Draft (feet): 18
Displacement (long tons): 4,726
Propulsion: Diesel Electric, Twin Screw Props, Z-Drive
Cruising Speed (Knots): 16
Endurance (Nautical Miles): 12,000
Scientific Party: 30
Lab Space (sqft): 4,000
Deck Space (sqft): 3,500
HydroSurvey Launches: Capable (2)
USNS HENSON (T-AGS 63) will become the fourth in the T-AGS 60 class o of multi-purpose oceanographic survey ships built by Halter Marine Inc. It was preceded by sister ships, the USNS PATHFINDER, USNS SUMNER, and USNS BOWDITCH. The HENSON will become part of a fleet surveying around the world to collect a variety of oceanographic data needed to update nautical charts and create new one.
The fourth of the T-AGS 60 class ships, T-AGS 63 is named USNS HENSON in honor of the Afro-American explorer Matthew A. Henson, who accompanied Robert E. Peary when he discovered the North Pole in 1909.
The first three T-AGS 60 class ships are named in commemoration of former surveying vessels. The first of its class, the T-AGS 60, is named the United States Naval Ship (USNS) PATHFINDER after PATHFINDER (AGS 1) (1942-1946) which earned two battle stars in WWII in the Pacific theater.
T-AGS 61, USNS SUMNER, commemorates SUMNER (AGS 5) which earned three battle stars in WWII, and was named for the late Captain Thomas Hubbard Sumner (1807-1876).
The T-AGS 62 is designated the USNS BOWDITCH commemorating the service of the two previous surveying ships (AG 30 and T-AGS 21) that carried the name of the American astronomer and navigator Nathaniel Bowditch (1773-1838).