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Identity of 'Mystery Ship' ... Revealed!

Palos Verdes Patch tracks down the identity of the mystery ship anchored off the Palos Verdes Peninsula on Sept. 4-5.

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.

Steve Kowalski September 17, 2012 at 01:31 PM
go to http://marinetraffic.com and you can see all the ships in the area
Mike Gregory September 17, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Listen People, there are two eye witnesses to what preceded Melville showing up within 6 hours of "The Event." Here is my wife's testimony, along with my brother's comments. Note: My Wife and Brother do not live in the same home, but our view is similar. There was a large ball of light - Sparkling that went streaking across the sky last night and into the ocean about 9:15- 9:30. My brother in law and I both saw the same thing and he lives a few streets away from me. We also had the same reaction- both of us leaping off the couch and running to the window. We live in the area above the Trump Golf Course. There is a large vessel parked in the water where we think there was a point of entry. It has been there for many hours now without moving. Maybe it is a research vessel of some sort. The trajectory was 10-4 (as would appear on a clock face) and that the light was very bright as if sparkling....
Tammy Sanders September 18, 2012 at 01:17 AM
What Mike Gregory saw was a meteor. My son and another friend in Palos Verdes saw it, too, and were very impressed by the length of time it was visible and its brightness. I wish the mystery ship had something to do with the meteor, but it didn't. Reports of sightings of that meteor on the American Meteor Society website: http://www.amsmeteors.org/fireball2/public.php?start_date=2012-09-03&end_date=2012-09-03&state=CA&event_id=&submit=Find+Reports

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