KODIAK — Pier 2 is noticeably emptier on Kodiak’s waterfront with the departure of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research vessel Fairweather, which left the city Thursday for a mission to map the floor of Kotzebue Sound.

The Ketchikan-based ship’s mission means both of NOAA’s Alaska-based ships are at sea on summer missions. The Oscar Dyson, homeported in Kodiak, is at sea near the Alaska Peninsula, assigned to inspect Alaska’s pollock fishery, according to NOAA’s 2011 ship allocation plan.

The plan says the Oscar Dyson will remain at sea until an inspection in mid- to late July.

The Fairweather, meanwhile, will remain on its mapping mission until early September, when it is scheduled for an inspection.

The Fairweather’s mission is part of NOAA’s increased emphasis on Arctic mapping in response to the growth of shipping routes through the far north. According to NOAA’s Arctic Nautical Charting Plan, portions of the Kodiak Island coast are planned for future survey. No firm date has been set.

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