LISTEN LIVE

R/V Bellows

While officials from USF and FIO and local politicians look on, Duckworth Steel Boats owner Junior Duckworth (center, back) performs the ceremonial keel laying of the new research vessel.
Amie Blodgett / USF News

Next summer, a group of marine researchers and local politicians who gathered at a Tarpon Springs shipyard for a ceremonial keel laying plan to return for the dedication of a new research ship.

With the touching of a blow torch to the keel Wednesday morning, construction formally began on the 78-foot vessel at Duckworth Steel Boats.