USNS Contender (T-AGOS-2)

Merchant Marine Academy flagship Kings Pointer, ex-Contender, 1999.
United States
Name: USNS Contender (T-AGOS-2)
Operator: USNS
Ordered: September 26, 1980
Builder: Tacoma Boatbuilding, Tacoma, Washington
Laid down: January 10, 1983
Launched: December 20, 1983
Sponsored by: Mrs. Sarah Sumner Rowden
Acquired: June 9, 1984
Struck: December 11, 1992
Fate: Disposed of by title transfer to MARAD on October 1, 1992
United States
Name: T/V Kings Pointer
Owner: United States Maritime Administration
Operator: United States Merchant Marine Academy
In service: 1992-2012
Homeport: Kings Point, New York
Status: Transferred by MARAD to the Texas A&M Maritime Academy
United States
Name: T/V General Rudder
Owner: United States Maritime Administration
Operator: Texas A&M University at Galveston
In service: 2012-Present
Homeport: Galveston, Texas
Status: Active Texas A&M University at Galveston
General characteristics
Class and type: Training Ship
Displacement: 2,250 tons
Length: 224 ft (68 m)
Beam: 43 ft (13 m)
Draft: 16.0 ft (4.9 m)
Propulsion: Diesel Electric Drive, twin shafts, inboard turning.
Speed: 11 kt cruise
Capacity: 64 (as of 2013)
Crew: 36

USNS Contender (T-AGOS-2) was a Stalwart class Modified Tactical Auxiliary General Ocean Surveillance Ship of the United States Navy.


Stalwart class ships were originally designed to collect underwater acoustical data in support of Cold war anti-submarine warfare operations in the 1980s. In 1992, the ex-Contender became the T/V Kings Pointer, the flagship and training vessel of the United States Merchant Marine Academy.[1][2]

In 1999, Kings Pointer was the first vessel to reach the site of the crash of EgyptAir Flight 990.[3] In the spring of 2004 she underwent a major overhaul to upgrade her crew's quarters and training equipment. The aft 'tow' deck was also modified and any vestage of her previous employment as a SURTASS ship was removed and reworked.

She remained the flagship and training ship of the United States Merchant Marine Academy until January 2012. She was then transferred to Texas A&M University at Galveston and renamed the "TS General Rudder" (after General James Earl Rudder), where she will be the primary training vessel for cadets of the Texas A&M Maritime Academy. In 2013 the vessel had another major overhaul, with the aft fantail's bulwark lowered, aft main deck leveled and hull cleaned and repainted. The vessel was also fitted with additional berthing for 64 personnel.[3]


  1. "Sail Baltimore '05". 2005. Archived from the original on 2012-04-13.
  2. "MV Kingspointer". USMMA. 30 Jul 2003. Archived from the original on 2013-02-22.
  3. 1 2 "Training Ship GENERAL RUDDER". TAMUG. Retrieved 2015-06-17.

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