The R/V SONNE is a multi-purpose research vessel built in 1969 as a stern trawler and modified as a research vessel in 1977. It was lengthened and modernized in 1991 and is presently owned and operated by RF Reedereigemeinschaft Forschungsschiffahrt GmbH of Bremen, Germany. At 98 meters in length and a displacement of 4734 metric tons, it is capable of world-wide operation with up to 25 scientists. It carries a wide range of sonars and sampling equipment for seafloor mapping and sampling, oceanographic work and marine biology. Specialized laboratories for geology, chemistry, biology and geophysics serve the needs of the science team on board. In general, SONNE’s operational capability is similar to U.S. UNOLS “Global Class” research vessels such as the Thomas G. Thompson. Image courtesy of New Zealand American Submarine Ring of Fire 2007 Exploration, NOAA Vents Program, the Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences and NOAA-OE.