USNS Pathfinder in Chile
U.S. Oceanographic Survey Ship Works with Chilean Navy
The USNS PATHFINDER is in Chile at the invitation of the Government of Chile, to continue efforts in assisting the Chilean Navy's Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service (SHOA) to re-survey the seafloor in and around the Bay of Concepcion and Golfo de Arauco - an area greatly affected by the 27 February 2010 earthquake and tsunami. Both Chilean Navy and U.S. Navy hydrographers and oceanographers will also use this time to share their expertise and learn from one another. This collaborative effort primarily focuses on ensuring safe maritime navigation after a massive natural disaster - and further exemplifies the strong partnership between the United States and Chile.
In October 2010, a U.S. Navy Fleet Survey Team (FST) with a 9m hydrographic launch worked with SHOA for two months to re-survey shallow water coastal areas around Talcahuano. During Jan and March 2011, USNS PATHFINDER, with U.S. and SHOA personnel embarked, conducted mid to deep-water hydrographic surveys, and the data collected by both FST and PATHFINDER will be used to update nautical charts and improve safety of navigation.
PATHFINDER is currently deployed as part of the US SOUTHERN COMMMAND's Oceanographic Southern Partnership Station. This mission is led by a Senior Naval Oceanographic Office Representative, with a crew of nine civilian technicians, who conduct the collection and subsequent analysis of data. Two Chilean Navy personnel are also onboard as part of the technical team conducting the survey. The ship is sailed and operated by a civilian Master, with a crew of 24 civilian mariners.
USNS PATHFINDER is one of six U.S. Navy oceanographic survey ships owned and operated by Military Sealift Command for the Naval Oceanography Office. These multi-purpose ships perform acoustic, biological, physical and geophysical surveys, providing much of the U.S. military's information on the ocean environment. These ships use multi-beam, wide-angle, precision sonar systems that make it possible to continuously chart a broad section of ocean floor.
USNS PATHFINDER was earlier in Valparaíso 4 – 7 December 2012 for a port visit, during which participated at the EXPO NAVAL activities to showcase recent and current US Navy and Chilean Navy joint survey operations and new initiatives.
U.S. Ambassador Alejandro Wolff attended EXPONAVAL 2012 activities.