Earlier this month, multiple Patch readers reported spying a large ship anchored off the Palos Verdes Peninsula; however, nobody seemed to be able to identify it.
"I called the city of (Rancho Palos Verdes), the Coast Guard, the Fire (Department), County Lifeguard and the … marine mammal rescue center, and no one knew what it was," wrote Lee Jester on Sept. 5. "Google didn't turn up anything."
Nobody Jester spoke with at the Point Vicente Interpretive Center knew anything about it, either.
According to reader Michael Turner, there seemed to be something "going on" at the stern of the boat, which arrived Sept. 4 and left Sept. 5.
After viewing photos of the ship, Patch contributor Philip Friedman said it looked like some sort of survey vessel.
It was "more than likely doing some bottom mapping or checking sewer pipes or the like," he wrote in an email. "The horseshoe shape on the transom gives it away."
Indeed, the ship appears to be the research vessel Melville, operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego. The 279-foot ship, which was built in 1969, is owned by the U.S. Navy and operated under a charter agreement with the Office of Naval Research.
R/V Melville was used to work on a "temporal resolution" project led by an investigator out of the University of Chicago. From Sept. 1 to Sept. 8., the vessel traveled from Orange County to Malibu, examining the sea floor of the Southern California Bight shelf.