The R/V Chapman (formerly NOAAS Chapman) was originally an American fisheries research vessel sailing in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fleet from 1980-1988. Under the direction of NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) she spent her early years on the Bering Sea and North Pacific Ocean surveying king crab populations. In the mid-1980s she supported the work of NMFS's Southeast Fisheries Science Center working throughout the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and western Atlantic Ocean collecting physical oceanographic measurements and data on fishery potential of varying stocks. Chapman later used pioneering technology for fishery acoustics and non-destructive reef surveying using stationary video cameras deployed on reefs. Chapman was decommissioned in 1998 but was donated to the University of Puerto Rico. There she continued to support scientific marine research sailing as R/V Chapman for six years. However, after years of minimal use she was taken out of service.
Substation Curaçao purchased R/V Chapman in 2008 and after extensive refurbishment is now a mothership for the deep-diving submersible Curasub. Outfitted with a 110-ton knuckle boom crane, she can launch and retrieve the 6-ton Curasub and floating launch platform. With wet and dry laboratories, R/V Chapman has embarked on several scientific expeditions to Bonaire (2013 & 2017), Dominica (2016), St. Eustatius & Saba (2017), Klein Curaçao, and multiple sites along Curaçao's coast.
Photography courtesy of Substation Curacao.