The Hi'ialakai was acquired from the U.S. Coast Guard in October 2001, and was converted by NOAA from a T-AGOS surveillance vessel to a versatile platform that supports the research of NOAA's National Ocean Service (NOS), National Marine Sanctuaries (NMS), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) as well as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the University of Hawaii.
The ship operates in the Hawaiian Islands and the Pacific Insular area which includes the U.S. Trust Territories of American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and Guam. The Hi'ialakai shares a homeport in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii with NOAA ships Ka'imimoana and Oscar Elton Sette, and is part of NOAA's Marine Operations Center - Pacific (MOC-P) fleet.
Hi'ialakai, Hawaiian for "embracing pathways to the sea," conducts coral reef ecosystem mapping, bio-analysis assessments, coral reef health and fish stock studies. Scuba diving operations play a major role in scientific operations, and HI'IALAKAI is well suited to support both shallow and deep-water dive projects. The ship is equipped to carry five small work boats for transporting divers to and from working areas, dive lockers to store scientific gear and equipment, and an air compressor to fill tanks. The ship also carries a 3-person, double-lock recompression chamber; in the event of a diving accident, the diver can be treated on site.
The Hi’ialakai carries out most of its dive intensive operations in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands. These islands and their waters were declared a Marine National Monument in 2006. The Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument is one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world. It encompasses 139,797 square miles of the Pacific Ocean - an area larger than all the country's national parks combined. The extensive coral reefs found in Papahanaumokuakea - truly the rainforests of the sea - are home to over 7,000 marine species, one quarter of which are found only in the Hawaiian Archipelago. Many of the islands and shallow water environments are important habitats for rare species such as the threatened green sea turtle and the endangered Hawaiian monk seal. Papahanaumokuakea is also of great cultural importance to Native Hawaiians with significant cultural sites found on the islands of Nihoa and Mokumanamana.
Hi'ialakai's E-mail address is: Noaa.Ship.Hiialakai@noaa.govHi'ialakai's Mail address is:
NOAA Ship Hi'ialakai
1897 Ranger Loop (Ford Island)
Honolulu, HI 96818
Hi'ialakai's Telephone Numbers