Military Sealift Command Public Affairs
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Frank Randall (202) 685-5055
July 10, 2009
MSC ships win CNO afloat safety awards
Three Military Sealift Command ships won 2008 Chief of Naval Operations Afloat Safety Awards, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead announced today. This is the first year that MSC has earned more than one CNO-level safety award.
Fast combat support ship USNS Bridge, rescue and salvage ship USNS Grapple, and large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ship USNS Mendonca were recognized for safety achievements, earning the right to display the Navy's green safety "S" on the ship's bulwark until the next competitive cycle.
"These ships have been leaders, not only in safely executing their mission, but also in reporting mishaps and corresponding lessons learned, which helps us all get smarter on how to more safely operate at sea," said Kevin Kohlmann, MSC safety manager.
Bridge, which currently operates out of San Diego, received the award for accomplishing numerous safe underway replenishment operations and for promoting a culture in which every crew member acted as a safety observer. As part of the ship's safety program, Bridges's civil service master Capt. Jeffery Siepert briefed the crew on safety before each underway replenishment. The ship's crew held safety meetings and had a safety council, which led to improvements in forklift operations, lifeboat mustering and small boat operations.
Grapple, which operates out of Norfolk, Va., earned the safety award for the second consecutive year. In an inherently dangerous and constantly changing mission environment, Grapple's crew took unique safety precautions for each of its missions. The crew's desire to share lessons learned has made them a leader in promoting fleet safety.
Mendonca, crewed by 30 commercial mariners working for a company under contract to MSC, received the award for the crew's outstanding achievements in promoting a safety culture. Mendonca's weekly safety meetings and a safety-first attitude led to improvements in the ship's lock-out/tag-out system, mooring procedures and shipboard familiarization for new crew members.
In a message to the fleet, Roughead cited the three ships for "leadership in promoting operational excellence through effective safety risk management and hazard recognition and correction."
MSC operates approximately 110 noncombatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners.
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