RV Ben Franklin was built between 1966 and 1968 in Switzerland for deep ocean explorer Jacques Piccard and the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation. She was christened "America's largest submersible". Her namesake, American patriot and inventor Ben Franklin, was the first to map the Gulf Stream and gave it its name.
The submersible made a famous 30-day drift dive off the East Coast of the United States and Canada in 1969, mapping the Gulf Stream's currents and sea life. She also made space exploration history by studying the behavior of aquanauts in a sealed, self-contained, self-sufficient capsule for NASA.
During Ben Franklin's career, she was also involved in acoustic, marine biological, chemical and other experiments as well as deep water salvage operations, pollution studies, photo mapping of the sea floor and ocean environment research for the U.S. Navy. She was donated to the Vancouver Maritime Museum by Horton Trading Company in December 1999.
By kjfitz @ 2005-08-24 18:09:37