The 274-foot-long ship, which is owned by the Navy and operated by the UW’s School of Oceanography, has been in dry dock since June 2016.

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Workers have finished a $53 million, 18-month overhaul of the University of Washington’s oceangoing research workhorse, the R/V Thomas G. Thompson.

The 274-foot-long ship, which is owned by the Navy and operated by the UW’s School of Oceanography, has been in dry dock since June 2016. Among the new equipment: diesel engines, digital equipment for navigation, pipes, cables, sewage system, alternators and circuits.

The ship has had a starring role in many of the university’s major marine discoveries in the past two decades. It leaves Seattle on Feb. 5 for New Zealand, and it won’t be back in Seattle waters again until 2019.

The overhaul, which was done by Vigor Industrial, was originally projected to cost $34.5 million, but the cost grew when workers found additional repairs were needed and the regulatory agencies required upgrades that were not in the plans.