After a quiet summer, West India Dock is welcoming a number of visitors and the latest has a varied and fascinating history. The DSSV Pressure Drop is a research ship which is 68.3 m / 224 ft in length, and has accommodation for up to 47 persons.
The ship started life as the USNS Indomitable and was a United States Navy Stalwart class ocean surveillance ship in service from 1985 to 2002. Indomitable was laid down by the Tacoma Boatbuilding Company at Tacoma, Washington and launched in 1985.
From 2003 until 18 June 2014, she was in commission in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as the oceanographic research ship NOAAS McArthur II (R 330).
In 2017 the vessel was bought by Caladan Oceanic LLC and prepared to serve as a mother ship for the manned deep-ocean research submersible DSV Limiting Factor.
From December 2018, the Pressure Drop has been used in the Five Deeps Expedition to support a manned submersible visit to the bottom of all five of the world’s oceans.
The Five Deeps Expedition is the first attempt to reach the deepest point in each of the Earth’s five oceans: the Puerto Rico Trench in the Atlantic, South Sandwich Trench in the Southern Ocean, Java Trench in the Indian Ocean, Challenger Deep in the Pacific and Molloy Deep in the Arctic.
Four of the dives have been successfully completed and have been filmed for a Discovery Channel series. It is expected that the ship will leave the dock tomorrow to continue its epic journey.