On July 29, 1986, the keel was laid for hull #4667, ordered under a MARAD contract for the Navy, at Bethlehem Steel in Sparrows Point, Maryland. After launching on September 4, 1987, she was delivered to the Navy on March 31, 1989, and entered service as the USNS Maury (T-AGS-39). At the time, the USNS Maury was the fastest and largest oceanographic ship in the United States fleet. She also featured a number of advanced oceanographic tools and technologies, including a "multi-beam, wide-angle precision sonar for continuous charting of a broad strip of ocean floor under the ship's track." In addition, the main engines, two Enterprise R5 V-16 diesel engines, were mounted on "rafts", isolated from the hull by rubber cushions, similar in nature to the acoustic isolation aboard nuclear submarines.
The USNS Maury was placed "out of service" in September 1994, and laid up in the National Defense Reserve Fleet in Suisun Bay, California. On October 1, 1994, she was stricken from the Navy rolls and transferred to MARAD under agreement that she would be transferred to CMA after retrofitting. After conversion of the living spaces aboard, she was transferred to CMA on May 4, 1996 and rechristened as the TS Golden Bear. Since that time, the ship has almost continuously undergone substantial repairs, remodeling and improvements, including periodic drydock inspections and overhauls. In early 2009, additional staterooms were installed, along with a supplemental MSD (Marine Sewage Device), and both the ship's gym and library were renovated.Current construction projects include an enclosed simulation laboratory for navigation training atop the 04 deck and refurbishment of the cadet living quarters on the 01 and 02 decks.
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