Naval History and Heritage Command

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Bowditch III (T-AGS-62)


The third U.S. Navy ship named for Nathaniel Bowditch (26 March 1773–16 March 1838). For additional information see the Bowditch Family Papers at the Phillips Library, Essex Peabody Museum, Salem, Mass. In addition, schooner Bowditch served as a survey ship for the U.S. Coast Survey from 1854–1874.


(T-AGS-62: displacement 5,000; length 329'; beam 58'; draft 19'; speed 16 knots; complement 51; armament none; class Pathfinder)

The third Bowditch (T-AGS-62) was laid down on 17 June 1993 at Moss Point, Miss., by Halter Marine, Inc.; launched on 15 October 1994; and placed in service with the Military Sealift Command (MSC) on 19 July 1996.

Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda cut a wide swath of destruction across the Central Philippines, killing at least 6,268 people (6-9 November 2013). Multiple U.S. ships including Bowditch and aircraft provided humanitarian assistance to the victims of the disaster during Operation Damayan. Bowditch used her multi-beam contour-mapping system to survey from the 200 meter depth line in toward the shore of San Pedro Bay at Tacloban, Leyte, to help determine safe navigational channels for some of these ships.

Bowditch “began immediately surveying the approaches to San Pedro Bay,” Bob Freeman of the Office of the Oceanographer of the Navy, explained, “to ensure naval relief efforts [were] conducted safely, and Navy ships [could] get as close to land as possible.”

“We performed similar roles,” Chris Kent, deputy operations officer for the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, added, “in the 2004 Banda Aceh tsunami and the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti. In both cases, Navy survey ships and aircraft went in first to chart the approaches.”

Detailed history under construction.

Mark L. Evans

1 December 2015

Published: Wed Dec 02 09:29:43 EST 2015