Laurence M. Gould

Gould at Punta Arenas Pier
Gould at Rothera
Gould at Palmer StationThis image © Wade Jeffrey 1998

The Laurence M. Gould is the newest of two ice strengthened research ships operating under contract for the National Science Foundation. The Gould has three primary responsibilities:

1) To conduct scientific research in Antarctic waters.
The Gould is designed to be a flexible research vessel to investigate many aspects of the marine ecosystem.

2) To supply Palmer station.
With spaces to carry 9 containers and with berthing for personnel, the Gould makes regular stops at Palmer Station to bring supplies, personnel, and fuel. The Gould also retrogrades the trash from Palmer station.

3) Hazardous Waste Retrograde to the United States.
Every other year, the Gould will take all the hazardous waste generated from Palmer station. With environmental officials on board, the waste is brought all the way back to the United States for proper disposal.

Antarctic waters are of course usually filled with varying degrees of ice. We all know about the Titanic and hazards around icebergs, so how does the Gould deal with sea ice and floating glacial ice? Well, the Gould's hull is a very different design from the Titanic. The steel is a special grade and is very thick. The Titanic also had a hull whos design was many plates that were riveted together. This type of hull design is no longer used in shipbuilding and the large steel plates of the Gould's hull are securly welded into place. The Gould (under terms of the contract with NSF) must be able to make continuous forward motion in 1 foot of first year sea ice, as well as transit pack ice of 3 feet using the backing and ramming method. The Gould is not rated to enter multi-year sea ice. The longer the sea ice sits, the stronger it becomes. Glacial ice is made from fresh water as snow is compacted on the land mass of Antarctica and then flows as glaciers into the oceans forming ice shelves. This ice is very strong and as chunks break off the ice shelves, they form ice bergs. The key is not to run into the icebergs. Many of the larger icebergs are visible from quite a distance off. Large tabular icebergs may loom on the horizon, but these large icebergs eventually break up and melt into smaller pieces. "Bergy Bits" and "Growlers" are two classifications of smaller chunks of glacial ice. These may be much harder to see visually, but the radar picks up most of the ice and the crew slightly adjusts course on a constant basis to try to avoid most of it.

Ship's Particulars

Type of Vessel

Antarctic Research and Supply Vessel (SUBCHAPTER U)

ABS Star A-1

Unrestricted Ocean Service

ABS Ice Class



North American Shipbuilding Hull #154

Year of Construction


Official Number


Overall Length

230 Feet (70.2 Meters)

Length between perpendiculars

212 Feet (64.7 Meters)

Breadth (Molded)

46 Feet (14.0 Meters)

LWL @ 17'-0" Draft

202' 6"

Draft (Min Operational)

15'0" (4.57 Meters)

Draft (Normal Operational

18'3" (5.56 Meters)

Draft (Load Line)

19'0" (5.79 Meters)

Freeboard at Normal Operational Draft

7.50' (2.286 Meters)

Lightship Weight

2754.99 Long Tons


1025.68 Long Tons

Maximum Draft (Loadline)

19.417 Feet (5.9 Meters)

Loadline Displacement

3780.67 Long Tons

Gross Tonnage

2966 (International)


4575 Horsepower - Caterpiller 3606 (2)

Ulstein controllable pitchpropellers in nozzles


13.5 kts (top speed)

12 kts (service speed)


700 kW Kato - Caterpiller 3412 (3)

E.P.I.R.B. ID#



VHF: (2) SEA w/DSC

SSB: Sea 330




Radar: (2) Furuno 2810

GPS: (2)Raytheon DGPS Nav 398

Simrad autopilot

Ritchie mag. compass

Datamarine depth sounder

Furuno Doppler speed log


9 containers

21,700 cubic feet including scientific spaces

58 berths (Without temporary berthing vans)

Go to: Antarctic index


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