The Navy announced Wednesday that it was renaming an oceanographic survey ship formerly named after a Confederate navy member.

Going forward, the survey ship once known as USNS Maury will be renamed Marie Tharp.

Tharp was a geologist and oceanographic cartographer who was at the forefront of creating Atlantic Ocean floor maps while furthering science’s understanding of plate tectonics and continental drift, according to a Navy statement.

When the ship was accepted into the Military Sealift Command fleet in 2016, it was named after Matthew Fontaine Maury, an oceanography pioneer who left the U.S. Navy for a command with the Confederate navy during the Civil War.

The logistics required to rename the ship are underway, according to the Navy.

“As the history of our great nation evolves, we must put forth the effort to recognize figures who positively influenced our society,” Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro said in a statement. “This renaming honors just one of the many historic women who have made a significant impact on not only our Navy, but our nation.”

While the vessel was the only Navy ship named after a Confederate military officer, a building at the U.S. Naval Academy was also named after Maury.

That building’s name was changed last month to honor “Ring Knocker” and former President Jimmy Carter.

The Navy has also announced in recent weeks the name change for the guided-missile cruiser Chancellorsville, which was named in honor of a Confederate battlefield victory.

The warship will be renamed after Robert Smalls, a former slave and mariner who stole a Confederate ship and delivered it to the United States during the war.

These name changes come after Congress in recent years directed a naming commission to review military assets and rename those with Confederate ties.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin accepted the commission’s recommendations in September and ordered the services to make the changes by the end of this year.

Geoff is the editor of Navy Times, but he still loves writing stories. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at

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