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Port of San Diego approves NOAA vessel lease

The Board of Port Commissioners on Nov. 13 approved a 10-year lease, with one five-year option, to the General Services Administration, allowing for the berthing of the newest National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) vessel, the Reuben Lasker, at the Crosby Street Pier. NOAA is expected to begin its lease in September 2013.

The lease is anticipated to create approximately 24 new jobs and generate an estimated $27 million annually in direct and indirect economic contributions, according to a Port press release.

"The homeporting of NOAA's new vessel in San Diego promotes the city's legacy as a world leader in marine science, education, and environmental stewardship," said Chairman of the Board of Port Commissioners Lou Smith.

The agreement provides the Port the opportunity to fulfill its goal of being an environmental steward and promotes regional partnerships with such organizations as NOAA's Southwest Fisheries Science Center, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, World Wildlife Fund, Hubbs SeaWorld Research Institute, Sportfishing Association of California, and National Marine Mammal Foundation.

NOAA estimates that the vessel's annual operating budget will be approximately $6 million, the bulk of which will be spent in San Diego on fuel, supplies, food, and salaries. Other direct economic impacts to the region include multiple marine engineering support contractors for vessel repairs and maintenance.

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