IMPROVING CURRENT STRATEGIC SEALIFT CAPABILITIES
The National Defense Reserve Fleet is divided into two components.
• One component—the Ready Reserve Fleet (RRF)—includes 96 ships that are routinely maintained so that they could be activated in 5,10, or 20 days. The Maritime Administration budgets about $225 million for RRF ships.
• The other component (the non- RRF) consists of 116 ships: 71 Victory- class ships built during World War II and 45 others of varying age and time in reserve status. The non- RRF ships receive far less maintenance than RRF ships and would require much longer activation times—between 30 and 120 days.
The Maritime Administration spends about $2 million a year to retain these ships.
Because of their physical appearance, the non-RRF ships are often referred to as "rust buckets." The Maritime Administration has developed a plan to gradually scrap them over the next decade. The Department of Defense (DOD) is continuing to study total sealift requirements.
Current U.S. sealift capabilities were strained during the recent Persian Gulf war, but the non-RRF ships were not used during the crisis. The General Accounting Office (GAO) believes these older, less-ready ships are no longer needed.
The General Accounting Office estimates that scrapping the obsolete Reserve Fleet ships could (1) save about $10 million in direct maintenance costs over the next 10 years and (2) generate an estimated $38 million to $42 million to improve the current Ready Reserve Fleet if the ships were sold to the highest foreign or domestic bidders.
Legislation pending before Congress that would limit the sale of Reserve Fleet ships (built before 1946) to domestic scrapping companies would lower these revenue estimates.
The Merchant Ship Sales Act of 1946 created a government-owned and administered National Defense Reserve Fleet of inactive but potentially useful merchant ships. In 1976, the Reserve Fleet was separated into two parts: (1) a Ready Reserve Force (RRF) consisting of ships maintained in a more-ready condition to meet more immediate shipping requirements and (2) a less-ready component of ships preserved and retained at very little government expense (non-RRF).
The Maritime Administration (MarAd) maintains custody of the Reserve Fleet ships. Over the years, reserve ships have been activated during emergencies, including the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam. For example, 40 percent of the materiel moving to Vietnam in 1967 was transported by ships of the Reserve Fleet. Most recently, 78 of the 96 ships in the RRF were activated to assist in sending and resupplying U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia after Iraq invaded Kuwait. With the exception of two ships that were testactivated in 1985, none of the non- RRF ships has been activated since the Vietnam War.
At one time over 2,000 Reserve Fleet ships were stored at eight different anchorages along the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts. Since 1946, a large number of these ships have been sold for scrap, traded for other vessels, or used for purposes not related to transportation. Table 1 shows that as of May 31,1991, the total number of Reserve Fleet ships was down to 212—96 RRF and 116 non-RRF ships.
The RRF was created in 1976 to improve the overall readiness of the Reserve Fleet. RRF ships are maintained so that they can be activated in 5,10, or 20 days without the need for dry-docking or more expensive repairs (which would be necessary for the other Reserve Fleet ships).
These ships are located at Reserve Fleet sites in James River, Virginia; Beaumont, Texas; Suisun Bay, California; and at various other locations (mainly in the United States).
Improvements in Sealift Capabilities During the 1980s DOD spent over $7 billion to improve military sealift capabilities. Key increases in were: • A 25-ship prepositioned force (costing almost $4.2 billion) was deployed. This force includes 13 Prepositioning Ships, grouped into three squadrons. Each squadron is capable of equipping and supplying a Brigade of about 16,500 combat Marines. Another 12 ships constitute the Afloat Prepositioning Ships, which carry Army and Air Force equipment and supplies and a Navy field hospital. Supplies from some of these ships were the first to arrive in Saudi Arabia during the Persian Gulf crisis.
• Eight Fast Sealift Ships (about $827 million) were added. These ships are large, fast, converted container ships modified to a roll-on/ roll-off and especially suited to transport equipment such as tanks, large vehicles, and helicopters. They are maintained in a reduced operating status with a allowing activation in 4 days or less.
• Twoaviationlogistics support ships and two hospital ships were added, and 10 crane ships (about $ 717 million) were converted ships can be activated in 5 days. The two hospital ships that were converted from commercial tankers.
Each ship is capable of being activated in 5 days. The crane ships, part of the RRF with activation expectations of 5 days, can provide mobile loading and off-loading capabilities for non-self-sustaining container ships.
• The RRF was expanded to 96 ships (about $ 1 billion). The increase was accomplished by the direct purchase of ships, the exchange of scrap Reserve Fleet ships for obsolete commercial ships, and the acquisition of ships formerly operated by the Navy.
As a result of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, our sealift capabilities were given a dramatic practical test. According to the Military Sealift Command, as of April 15, 1991, 10 million tons of cargo had been shipped to the Persian Gulf. The ships utilized for this massive operation, as shown in table 2, were chartered from U.S. and foreign-flag commercial operators or activated from our own organic sealift assets.
Although the U.S. deployment to the Persian Gulf was the largest concentrated sealift activity since World War II, the non-RRF portion of the Reserve Fleet was excluded primarily because of (1) the lack of indication that there would be enough time to activate and use them; (2) their relatively small size, slow transit speeds, and long off-loading times compared with RRF and other ships used; and (3) the ready availability of U.S. and foreign-flag commercial ships. Suchfactorsraisequestions about when non-RRF ships would ever be needed.
MarAd's most recent sale of two non-RRF ships to a foreign firm, was for $76 per ton. MarAd estimates that future near-term sales might $85 per ton.
Therefore, scrapping the non- RRF ships now would (1) save about $10 million in direct preservation expenses during the next 10 years and (2) generate revenue of about $38 million to $42 million, depending on scrap prices.
Given the fact that the non-RRF ships were not used in the Persian Gulf war, the likelihood of the future need for the non-RRF ships is extremely remote.
Congress should consider directing the Maritime Administrator to scrap non-RRF ships not being held for RRF upgrade and use the sale proceeds to enhance the Ready Reserve Fleet.
Other stories from November 1991 issue
- Marine Society Of N.Y. To Hold Annual Dinner April 6, 1992, In NYC page: 6
- Carnival Cruise Lines Contracts For New Ship page: 6
- Barge Industry Says USCG Proposal Could Paralyze Oil Transport page: 7
- Litton Awarded Contract To Develop Hull-Mounted Fiberoptic Sub Sonars page: 8
- John Deere Enters Marine Engine Market page: 8
- Caterpillar-Powered Fishing Vessel Delivered By Rodriguez Boat Builders page: 9
- AT&T Signs $49.5-Million U.S. Navy Contract For EMSP Modifications page: 9
- FELS Completes Galaxy I, $100 Million Jackup Rig page: 10
- Marinette Marine Delivers Third MCM To U.S. Navy page: 10
- 180-Foot Supply Boat Converted To Standby/Rescue Vessel By Steiner Shipyard page: 11
- Navy Awards Initial Design Contracts For Sealift Ships page: 11
- Washington State Ferry Delivered In 168 Days By Hydraulic Fishing Supply page: 13
- Bauer Industries Completes Excursion Boat Interior Design page: 13
- Galveston Ship Consolidates Yard, Will Sell 35 Acres page: 15
- Volvo Penta Offers Broader Commercial Marine Range—New Engine Suitable For Japan page: 16
- AWO Safety Seminar Set For New Orleans, La., December 4-5, 1991 page: 18
- Underwater 92 Will Focus On Advanced Technology, January 13-15 In Houston page: 18
- Waterways Conference Delegates Urge Maritime Industry To Lobby For Repeal Of Shipping Taxes page: 19
- Finnish Yard Delivers Hamilton Jet-Powered Helsinki Police Craft page: 20
- Unique Spillstop— Advanced Oil Spill Avoidance System page: 20
- A Word From The President page: 21
- SNAME 1991 Annual Meeting & 1 Oth Annual Internation al Maritime Exposition page: 22
- JBF-Designed 'Shearwater' Launched At Goudy And Stevens Shipyard page: 32
- Coast Guard Contracts To Buy 32 Search-And-Rescue Helicopters For Maritime Defense Zone page: 34
- Theme Of MTS '91 In New Orleans To Be 'An Ocean Cooperative— Industry, Government, Academia' page: 34
- MHI Wins Awards, Order For VLCC Installed With CRP Propulsion System page: 35
- NY&NJ Port Authority Links Electronic Data Exchange To Hamburg, Germany page: 35
- MHI Develops New Low-Speed Diesel; First Unit Destined For VLCC page: 37
- Westinghouse Pursues Diesel Propulsion Markets In U.S. page: 38
- Appropriations Conference Approves Use Of Foreign Ships For Ready Reserve Force page: 39
- SNAME NY Metropolitan Discusses Training Of Deck Officers At 'Past Chairman's Night' Session page: 40
- Erie Basin Bargeport, New Facility, To Open For Ship Repair, Marine Services page: 41
- Concurrent Systems Releases New NAPOL Hydrostatics Package page: 41
- McDermott Sets Production Deck No. 1 For Freeport McMoRan Sulfur Project page: 42
- Keppel Adds 20,000-DWT Dock At Philippines Yard page: 42
- Oil Spill Equipment Purchased By Coast Guard Must Avoid Private Sector Duplication page: 43
- North Florida Shipyard Reactivates/Refurbishes RO/RO Trailer Vessel page: 44
- New Chevron Tanker Christened In Brazil page: 44
- Semisubmersible Begins Scheduled Liner Service Transporting Yachts page: 44
- OUTSTANDING WORKBOATS OF 1991 page: 46
- Tippet Marine Rebuilds Fishing Vessel Designed For 1990's Challenges page: 54
- $4.7 Million Navy Contract Awarded SPD Technologies page: 54
- New York Shipyard Receives Second Navy Drydocking Contract page: 54
- Hall-Buck Yard Gets New Name, Adds Drydock page: 55
- Alaska Moves To Buy Acreage For Proposed Port of Anchorage page: 55
- Alabama Shipyard In Talks With Danish Shipbuilder page: 56
- NASSCO Launches Second AOE Ship page: 56
- The International WORK BOAT SHOW page: 58
- Report Says Tanker Supply-Demand Gap Will Narrow By 1994 page: 60
- Trinity Adds Huge Floating Dock At Texas Yard page: 60
- Newpark Resources Announces Barge Fleet Expansion page: 60
- MSC Solicits Proposals To Charter Cruise Ship page: 60
- IMPROVING CURRENT STRATEGIC SEALIFT CAPABILITIES page: 64
- A/S Vesta Incinerators Help Shipowners Meet Waste Regulations page: 65
- Bird-Johnson Appoints Lapp Gulf Coast Manager, Expands Sales Force page: 65
- Bush Administration Backs Senate Approval Of Two Environmental Treaties page: 66
- RHG-Houston Enters U.S. Survey Market page: 66
- Commodore Awards Bailey Contract For Chiller Pack For S/S Enchanted Seas page: 66
- Future Of Marine Emergency Services Now Under Scrutiny page: 68
- Chantier Naval Matane Delivers Two Paul-Andre White-Designed Day-Operating Tourist Vessels page: 69
- Eleventh In Series Of 16 Fleet Oilers Under Construction At Avondale Christened USNS Guadalupe page: 71
- Wartsila Delivers 16 Vasa 32 Engines For Norwegian Supply Vessels page: 72
- HMVG Awarded Second U.S. Navy Contract In Two Months page: 72
- Kvichak Marine Delivers Fourth Of Nine 32-Foot Fast Response Vessels page: 73
- McDermott Names Jamestown Metal Supplier Of The Year page: 73
- Paxman Delivers First Of Total Of 32 Valenta Engines To U.S. Navy page: 75
- EC And 14 Nations Protest Dredging Restrictions In 1992 MarAd Budget page: 75
- ACL Launches New U.K. Agencies Firm page: 77
- Hempel Relocates USA Headquarters To Houston, Texas page: 77
- Oil Industry Wary About Buying New Leases Off California page: 81
- House-Senate Panel Agrees On Funding For MarAd, FMC And NOAA page: 81
- Wartsila-Powered Multi-Role Research Ship Delivered By Swan Hunter Shipbuilders page: 83
- Effort To Scrap Mothballed Defense Ships Advanced By Compromise Plan page: 85
- OPA 90 Could Scare Carriers Into Discontinuing Service To U.S. page: 86
- Japan Lobbies To Defeat Bills Calling For End To Drift-Net Fishing page: 86
- Barge Service Start-Up Gives Shot In Arm To Red Hook Terminal page: 86
- French Develop VLCC Design With Intermediate Deck page: 87
- Global Maritime Distress, Safety System Set For Implementation Next Year page: 87
- Yard Anti-Subsidy Bill Advanced By House Panel page: 87
- Maryland Yard Wins Major Steel Tunnel Fabrication Job page: 88
- MacGregor-Navire, Transmarine Awarded Stateside Business page: 88
- Crewless Cargo Ships Looked Upon By Owners As Wave Of Future page: 88
- Raytheon's R70 Series Radars Provide High Level Of Performance page: 88
- Trimble Navigation Selects Tru-Chart Electronic Charts On CD-ROM page: 90
- Corrosion Control Seminar To Be Held Next Month page: 91
- New Double Hull Retrofit Design From Stuart Marine page: 91
- Alexander Industries Now Exclusive Representative For Welin Lambie Products page: 93
- Scale Reproductions Installs Auto CAD System To Design Ship Models page: 93
- Maritime Services Moves To Expanded Facilities page: 95
- Crowley Withdraws MarAd Application For Ship Financing Guarantees page: 97
- NAS Reports Double Hulls Will Save 5,000 Tons In Spillage page: 99
- Braswell To Operate Panamanian Yard page: 99
- Service Marine Industries Elects New Officers page: 100
- McDermott To Participate In Azeri Field Development page: 100
- Corn Island Shipyard Offers New Construction, Major Repairs, Services page: 100
- COMSAT Announces Personnel Changes page: 102
- Deutz MWM Introduces New Engine Model page: 102
- Regal Princess Delivered By Fincantieri To P&O page: 104
- SMC Joint Symposium Examines Lessons Of Desert Storm page: 107
- Massachusetts Considers Building Prison Ship To Ease Overcrowding page: 108
- Markey Completes Delivery Of Winches For Three Vessels page: 108
- Westport Shipyard Delivers Detroit Diesel-Powered Patrol Boat To California State Fish & Game page: 112
- Hall-Buck To Provide Cargo Dock Handling Services At Indiana Port page: 113
- Smith Berger Offers Free Literature On Chain Stoppers page: 114
- New Fuel Economy Control System From KaMeWa page: 115
- Fredeman Shipyard Names John W. Sansing Manager page: 115
- Sea-Fab Converts Offshore Supply Vessel To Oil Spill Recovery Boat page: 117
- Upcoming Events page: 118
- Marco Delivers Caterpillar-Powered North Pacific Freezer Longliner page: 119
- Versatile Pacific Delivers Canadian Coast Guard Type '500' Search And Rescue Cutters page: 121
- New Joint Venture Firm Formed For Marine Pollution Control Services page: 123
- New Service Offered To Develop Oil Spill Response Plans page: 123
- Deutsch Pyplok Fittings Continue To Join Critical Piping Systems At Jacksonville Shipyards page: 125
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- Tano Acquires Valcon, Opens New Facility In Virgina page: 126
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- Ingalls Begins Construction Of First SA'AR 5 Corvette page: 127
- Detroit Diesel Donates Auxiliary Propulsion For Tall Ship 'Discovery' page: 128
- Navy Delivers Strategic Sealift Plan To Congress page: 129
- 'Stretched7 Version Of Nimitz Recommended For Future Navy Carriers page: 131
- 'Stretched' Version Of Nimitz Recommended For Future Navy Carriers page: 131
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- Growth In Seaborne Iron Ore Trade Forecast In New Report page: 132
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- MSC Charters Four Barge-Carrying Vessels page: 143
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