Federal, state and local officials joined NOAA on Aug. 31, 2021, at a groundbreaking ceremony marking the start of a project to revitalize the agency’s port facility in Ketchikan, Alaska. NOAA awarded an $18.7 million contract in April 2021 to Alaska-based Ahtna Infrastructure & Technologies, LLC to make major improvements to the facility. The project includes the construction of a new office building, floating pier and access bridge, and updated power and water utility systems for servicing visiting ships. Upon completion of the project, NOAA will have a fully functioning homeport in Alaska capable of supporting Ketchikan-based NOAA Ship Fairweather and other visiting NOAA and government vessels. NOAA’s fleet of research and survey ships is operated, managed and maintained by NOAA's Office of Marine and Aviation Operations, which is composed of civilians and officers with the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps, one of the nation’s eight uniformed services.