United States
Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research

Non-Renewal of ARSV Laurence M. Gould Charter: Transition Plans for Antarctic Research Support

The U.S. National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Office of Polar Programs (OPP) has announced the non-renewal of the charter for the Antarctic Research and Supply Vessel (ARSV) Laurence M. Gould (LMG) following the conclusion of the 2023-24 Antarctic season. The LMG, a part of the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP) since 1997, has played a key role in supporting marine research and logistics operations between NSF Palmer Station and South American ports.

The LMG charter, held with Edison-Chouest Offshore, will expire on July 16, 2024. The decision not to renew the charter aligns with NSF's commitment to balancing scientific priorities, evolving logistical needs, and budget constraints. Escalating costs and the availability of alternative commercial opportunities have led to this strategic shift in vessel support.

NSF OPP is actively evaluating alternatives to ensure continuity in supporting Antarctic research. These efforts are part of a broader NSF vessel recapitalization initiative for Antarctica, reflecting community input and strategic planning efforts outlined in the 2019 Report of the Ad Hoc Subcommittee on the U.S. Antarctic Program’s Research Vessel Procurement and the 2024 NASEM Future Directions for Southern Ocean and Antarctic Nearshore and Coastal Research study.

NSF remains committed to supporting ground-breaking and critical science in and around Antarctica and reducing the impact of this transition on the research community. As OPP evaluates alternative avenues for vessel support, researchers are encouraged to engage with their NSF Program Directors for further clarification and guidance. OPP will continue to provide regular updates about this effort through OPP Announcements, the OPP quarterly newsletter, community office hours, and the GEO Advisory Committee.

Terri Edillon 
Lead Communications Specialist 
NSF Office of Polar Programs 
Office: 703-292-7521 | Mobile: 703-398-2201 
Email: tedillon@nsf.gov 

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