NOAA Ship Delaware II was built by South Portland Engineering in South Portland, Maine. Commissioned in October 1968, the ship conducted fishery and living marine resource research in support of the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service's Northeast Fisheries Science Center. The ship's normal operating area was the Gulf of Maine, Georges Bank, and the continental shelf and slope from Southern New England to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
The ship’s assessment work included groundfish assessment surveys and Marine Resources Monitoring, Assessment and Prediction surveys. Research conducted by Delaware II provided an understanding of the physical and biological processes that control year-class strength of key economical fish species.