Military Sealift Command Public Affairs
For more information, contact:
Laura M. Seal (202) 685-5055
June 30, 2008
Rescue and salvage ship departs on international outreach mission to the Caribbean
Military Sealift Command rescue and salvage ship USNS Grasp departed Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek in Norfolk Friday evening June 27, beginning a four-month international outreach deployment to the Caribbean.
The deployment, called Navy Diver-Global Fleet Station 2008, is directed by the U.S. Southern Command and is designed to enhance maritime security in the region.
Grasp's embarked team of Navy divers and crew of civil service mariners will partner with maritime officials throughout the region to conduct a range of dive-related activities, exchange information and build relationships. In addition, Grasp's civil service mariners plan to work with local civic organizations to conduct goodwill projects ashore.
"This is a great opportunity to demonstrate the range of missions that this ship is fully capable of doing, from recovering gear to assisting a ship in distress to towing vessels and, now, hosting dive operations in coordination with our international partners," said Capt. Jose Delfaus, Grasp's civil service master. "The whole crew is excited about this mission and is approaching it with a very positive attitude."
Grasp has a crew of about 30 civil service mariners who operate and navigate the ship, while about a dozen specially-trained rescue and salvage divers are aboard to conduct diving operations. The divers are from the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command's Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit Two and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group Two. Grasp also has a permanent detachment of four sailors who operate the communications suite.
Grasp is one of MSC's four 255-foot salvage and recovery ships that are able to deploy rapidly to recover objects from the sea, tow stranded vessels and provide firefighting assistance.
Global Fleet Station is an innovative U.S. Navy concept in which a ship is deployed overseas to serve as the platform for conducting operations with international partners. Global Fleet Station activities range from providing humanitarian assistance to exchanging valuable information on maritime operations.
Military Sealift Command operates approximately 110 non-combatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, chart ocean bottoms, conduct undersea surveillance, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military equipment and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces.
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