YOKOSUKA, Japan -- Staff assigned to Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet’s Meteorology and Oceanography cell and from Submarine Group (CSG) 7/Task Force (CTF) 74 toured Military Sealift Command’s (MSC) Pathfinder-class oceanographic survey ship USNS Mary Sears (T-AGS 65) in Yokosuka, Japan, October 20, 2022.
Pathfinder-class oceanographic survey ships are crewed by commercial mariners under contract by Military Sealift Command. MSC’s oceanographic survey ship program includes six ships that perform acoustical, biological, physical and geophysical surveys.
“In order to succeed on land, in the air and sea, you have to know the environment," said Cmdr. Cassandra Sisti, U.S. 7th Fleet Oceanographer. "We work together with our nation's best scientists at the Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO), as well as our allies and partners, to deliver this battlespace awareness to our warfighters. This environmental team helps keep our sailors and ships safe and able to excel in their operations across the entire theater."
Margaret Pike, senior NAVOCEANO representative, and Captain Scott Spears, the ship’s master, led the tours of the ship and fielded questions about the ship and its capabilities.
“This was a great opportunity for us to meet the operators, and for them to see what our platform is capable of,” said Spears. “We pride ourselves on providing the warfighter with the best available information – bathymetric, hydrographic, oceanographic, geophysical and acoustic products and services– to aid in effective mission planning.”
Oceanographic survey ships gather data that provides much of the military's information on the ocean environment. The collected data helps to improve technology in undersea warfare and enemy ship detection. The oceanographic and hydrographic survey ships' multi-beam, wide-angle precision sonar systems make it possible to continuously chart a broad strip of ocean floor. Survey ships have charted three-fourths of the world's coastlines, making it easier for navigators to find their way along both well-traveled and not-so-familiar shipping routes.
These ships are capable of carrying 34-foot hydrographic survey launches (HSL) for data collection in coastal regions with depths between 10 and 600 meters and in deep water to 4,000 meters.
Submarine Group 7 directs forward-deployed, combat capable forces across the full spectrum of undersea warfare throughout the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean, and Arabian Sea.