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NORFOLK -- Soon, it may be getting noisier in the Freemason neighborhood in Norfolk as crews begin maintenance on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ships in town.

Three ships are undergoing repairs during December and January. The Thomas Jefferson is home ported in Norfolk, but two other vessels from Newport, Rhode Island are also docked near Brambleton Ave.

'We are aware that we are in a neighborhood, and we have definitely worked hard to be a friendly neighbor,' commander Nancy Hann said Friday.

Most of the work is repairing engines and generators. NOAA says they are limiting the hours of noisy maintenance from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Freemason Civic League President also sent out an alert to warn neighbors of the commotion.

NOAA ships measure the fish population to set the limits for sustainable commercial fishing, and survey the U.S. coasts to make nautical maps. Their technology measures the depths of the constantly shifting sea floor so that ships can safely dock at ports.

'Mapping of the seafloor provides all the nautical charts that any maritime people use, whether it's a recreational sailboat or a large coal ship that sails from this area. That is the guidance they use for safe navigation,' Hann noted.

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