MSC 2006 in Review

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Sealift Ships – 27

(as of Sept. 30, 2006)

Tankers – 5
USNS Paul Buck (T-AOT 1122)
USNS Samuel L. Cobb (T-AOT 1123)
USNS Lawrence H. Gianella (T-AOT 1125)
USNS Richard G. Matthiesen (T-AOT 1124)
MV Montauk*

Dry Cargo Ships – 3
MV American Tern*
MV Baffin Strait*
MV Sea Mark III*

Large, Medium-Speed, Roll-On/
   Roll-Off Ships – 11

USNS Benavidez (T-AKR 306)
USNS Brittin (T-AKR 305)
USNS Fisher (T-AKR 301)
USNS Gilliland (T-AKR 298)
USNS Gordon (T-AKR 296)
USNS Bob Hope (T-AKR 300)
USNS Mendonca (T-AKR 303)
USNS Pililaau (T-AKR 304)
USNS Seay (T-AKR 302)
USNS Shughart (T-AKR 295)
USNS Yano (T-AKR 297)

Fast Sealift Ships – 8
USNS Algol (T-AKR 287)
USNS Altair (T-AKR 291)
USNS Antares (T-AKR 294)
USNS Bellatrix (T-AKR 288)
USNS Capella (T-AKR 293)
USNS Denebola (T-AKR 289)
USNS Pollux (T-AKR 290)
USNS Regulus (T-AKR 292)

*Long-term charter

MV Virginian
The MSC-chartered cargo ship MV Virginian uses its 800-ton crane to haul containers of ammunition from its cargo holds onto the deck of a small ferry for transport to Livorno, Italy. Photo by Dave Clement.

SC's Sealift Program delivers the combat and other military cargo needed by U.S. war fighters around the globe wherever and whenever needed. In FY 2006, the program's ships supported Operation Iraqi Freedom, the global war on terrorism and peacekeeping operations in Eastern Europe, as well as other day-to-day missions for the Department of Defense worldwide.

In FY 2006, the Sealift Program managed 27 government-owned and long-term chartered dry cargo ships and tankers, as well as additional short-term or voyage-chartered ships. In addition, MSC has access to 44 ships of the U.S. Maritime Administration's Ready Reserve Force, or RRF, which are maintained in reduced operating status at ports in the United States and come under MSC's operational control when they are activated. These government-owned ships offset a lack of suitable military cargo ships in the U.S. commercial sector.


In FY 2006, MSC tankers moved 1.8 billion gallons of fuel for DOD. Four government-owned tankers, one long-term chartered tanker and 25 commercial short-term chartered tankers made a total of 231 voyages, delivering fuel for U.S. forces to various locations around the world. The majority of the fuel was carried by four government-owned T-5 tankers and MV Montauk, a small, 30,000-barrel capacity chartered ship operating in the Japan/Korea area. Nearly 76 percent of all the voyages were made on U.S.-flagged ships carrying 68 percent of all DOD fuel moved. This was a marginal decrease from prior years and reflects the lack of U.S. flag commercial tankers operating in the international trades.

USNS Richard G. Mathiessen
MSC tanker USNS Richard G. Mathiessen is one of five MSC-owned and -chartered tankers that moved 1.7 billion gallons of fuel for the Department of Defense in FY 2006.

MSC tankers also moved fuel to support annual operations in Thule, Greenland, and McMurdo Station, Antarctica. These missions were performed in extreme arctic climates and provided the only fuel that those locations were able to receive during the year.

MV Virginian
MV Virginian, a U.S.-flagged commercial charter delivered munitions for U.S. forces involved in the global war on terrorism. Photo by Dave Clement.

Dry Cargo Ships

During FY 2006, MSC managed a variety of dry cargo ships as they moved combat equipment for U.S. force rotations in Operation Iraqi Freedom, the global war on terrorism and peacekeeping operations in Eastern Europe. Twenty-six dry cargo ships, a mixture of commercial chartered ships and government-owned ships, delivered more than 8 million square feet of cargo for the war effort.

In addition, MSC dry cargo ships supported exercises around the globe such as Cobra Gold in Thailand and the New Horizons series in Central America. See the exercise table in the Appendix for more details on exercises.

MSC dry cargo ships also participated in U.S. relief efforts for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Four commercial cruise ships chartered late in FY 2005 on behalf of the Federal Emergency Management Agency helped to house relief workers and victims of the hurricanes on the U.S. Gulf Coast. By the time the four cruise ships completed their charter periods, they had sheltered more than 8,000 people and served more than 2 million meals to relief workers and hurricane victims.

U.S. Army Strykers off-load from USNS Mendonca
U.S. Army Strykers off-load from large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ship USNS Mendonca in Germany.

Large, Medium-Speed, Roll-On/Roll-Off Ships

Eleven large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ships, or LMSRs, were surge sealift assets that delivered cargo to U.S. forces overseas in FY 2006. These ships are maintained pierside in a four-day reduced operating status at strategic ports on the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts when not needed for specific missions. When activated, the ships are especially suited for transporting heavy or out-sized unit equipment such as tanks, large wheeled vehicles and helicopters.

During the year, activated surge LMSRs delivered more than 3.7 million square feet of cargo in 32 voyages to meet the U.S. military's worldwide cargo requirements.

Fast Sealift Ships

Eight fast sealift ships, or FSS, are key components of MSC's surge sealift capabilities. The older, but faster, FSS were reserved for time-sensitive deployments. Capable of sailing from the U.S. East Coast to the Persian Gulf in 15 days, they delivered 135,867 square feet in two voyages.

The combined LMSR/FSS surge fleet delivered 3.8 million square feet of cargo for Operation Iraqi Freedom in FY 2006. This was approximately 49 percent of the total dry cargo carried by all MSC government-owned and chartered ships.

Ready Reserve Force - 44*

(as of Sept. 30, 2006)

Break-Bulk Ships – 5

Heavy-Lift Ships – 2

Tankers – 2

Aviation Support Ships – 2

Crane Ships – 6

RO/RO Ships - 27

*Two aviation logistics support
 ships, a break-bulk ship and a
 tanker are also counted in the
 Prepositioning Program.

Ready Reserve Force Ships

MV Cape Decision
Ready Reserve Force ship MV Cape Decision off-loaded battle-worn equipment from Poland's 12th Mechanized Division at the Baltic Sea port of Szczecin, Poland. This was Cape Decision's second cargo operation supporting Polish troops in Iraq. Photo by Paul Weitenberg.

The U.S. Maritime Administration's Ready Reserve Force includes 44 militarily useful ships, including roll-on/roll-off ships, crane ships, break-bulk ships, heavy-lift ships and tankers. All of the roll-on/roll-off ships are maintained in five-day reduced operating status with 10-person crews aboard. When activated, the ships are fully crewed by private companies under contract to MARAD, but come under MSC's operational control. The ships are berthed on the U.S. East, Gulf and West Coasts near potential military loading sites.

RRF ships made 13 voyages in FY 2006, carrying 11 percent of MSC's cargo for Operation Iraqi Freedom.