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There has been considerable discussion over the last few years about ships that the oceanographie field needs to carry it into the 21st century. Many of the ships in use today were built in the 1960s and will need replacing in the 1990s [Dinsmore, 1982; Barbee, 1986]. This is not only true of the Universities National Oceanographic Laboratories System (UNOLS) fleet in the United States, but of many European ships as well. The British research vessel Discovery was completed in 1963, the Frenchman Charcot in 1965.