Special Mission Ships - 28
(as of Sept. 30, 2007)
Submarine and Special Warfare
Support Ships - 8
MV Carolyn Chouest
MV Dolores Chouest
MV Kellie Chouest
MV HOS Bluewater
MV HOS Gemstone
MV HOS Greystone
MV HOS Silverstar
Oceanographic Survey - 7
USNS Bowditch (T-AGS 62)
USNS Bruce C. Heezen (T-AGS 64)
USNS Henson (T-AGS 63)
USNS John McDonnell (T-AGS 51)
USNS Pathfinder (T-AGS 60)
USNS Mary Sears (T-AGS 65)
USNS Sumner (T-AGS 61)
Ocean Surveillance – 6
USNS Able (T-AGOS 20)
MV Cory Chouest
USNS Effective (T-AGOS 21)
USNS Impeccable (T-AGOS 23)
USNS Loyal (T-AGOS 22)
USNS Victorious (T-AGOS 19)
Missile Range Instrumentation - 2
USNS Invincible (T-AGM 24)
USNS Observation Island (T-AGM 23)
Acoustic Survey - 1
USNS Hayes (T-AG 195)
Navigation Test Support - 1
USNS Waters (T-AGS 45)
Cable Laying/repair - 1
USNS Zeus (T-ARC 7)
Command Ship - 1
USNS Mount Whitney (LCC 20)
High-Speed Vessel - 1
he Special Mission Program operated 28 seagoing platforms in FY 2007 to support a number of U.S. government agencies, including U.S. Fleet Forces Command; The Oceanographer of the Navy; Commander, Undersea Surveillance; the U.S. Air Force; Naval Sea Systems Command; the Navy’s Strategic Systems Program Office; Naval Special Warfare Command; Commander, Navy Installations; the Environmental Protection Agency; and the Navy’s Submarine Forces. Civilian mariners employed by companies under contract to MSC operated the majority of these ships. Agency-provided technicians, including U.S. military and civilian personnel, performed the mission work and specialized shipboard tasks. Two special mission ships were crewed by federal civil service mariners.
|MSC-chartered ship MV HOS Gemstone provides escort support to U.S. Navy submarines entering and leaving ports. Photo
from Hornbeck Offshore Services.|
Submarine and Special Warfare Support Ships
MSC operated four chartered submarine support ships for the Navy in FY 2007. MV Kellie Chouest, MV Dolores Chouest and MV Carolyn Chouest provided deep submergence and salvage support, and submarine escort/rescue assistance for the Navy’s submarine forces. MV Dolores Chouest, along with MV C-Commando, supported the Navy Special Warfare Command’s field delivery vehicle.
Four additional commercial ships, MV HOS Greystone, MV HOS Bluewater, MV HOS Silverstar and MV HOS Gemstone were chartered in FY 2007 to support the Navy’s submarine and special warfare support requirements.
|MSC oceanographic survey ship USNS Mary Sears moors in Singapore after a successful mission to search for and locate the wreckage of a commercial airliner that disappeared off the coast of Indonesia in January. Photo by MC2 Devin Dorney.|
Oceanographic Survey Ships
MSC’s oceanographic ships conducted surveys of the world’s oceans using multi-beam, wide-angle, precision hydrographic sonar systems to collect water depth measurements and other related data. The information was used to produce accurate charts and other products for Navy war fighters. In addition to survey work, USNS Pathfinder, with her naval mobile instrumentation system, provided down-range missile tracking capabilities for the Navy Strategic Systems Program Office.
In January 2007, USNS Mary Sears assisted in search and recovery efforts for a downed Indonesian airliner. With special equipment and technicians from Naval Sea Systems Command on board, the ship was able to locate the debris on the ocean bottom.
USNS Henson conducted survey operations in the Baltic Sea this year and visited several ports to demonstrate the ship’s capabilities to host-nation naval officers.
Ocean Surveillance Ships
|MSC ocean surveillance ship USNS Effective sits in dry dock in Yokuska, Japan, in September. Photo by MCSN Bryan Reckard.|
In the Western Pacific, five ocean surveillance ships - USNS Effective, USNS Loyal, USNS Impeccable, USNS Victorious and MV Cory Chouest - continued to provide direct support to U.S. 7th Fleet units by listening for undersea threats. In addition, USNS Impeccable and MV Cory Chouest supported the fleet with low-frequency active systems and their passive arrays.
A sixth ocean surveillance ship, USNS Able, was transferred from the Navy Inactive Fleet facility in Philadelphia, Pa., to a commercial shipyard in Charleston, S.C., for reactivation and conversion to low-frequency active-array system operations.
Missile Range Instrumentation Ships
Missile range instrumentation ships USNS Observation Island in the Western Pacific and USNS Invincible in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea supported the Air Force as seaborne platforms for radar systems that collected data on theater ballistic missiles launched by various countries, as well as domestic test flights of other missiles.
Acoustic Survey Ship
USNS Hayes is an acoustic survey ship operated for Naval Sea Systems Command and the Naval Surface Warfare Center in support of the U.S. Navy’s submarine noise reduction program. The ship returned from a mission to support the National Aeronautics and Space Administration at the beginning of the fiscal year and spent the remainder of the year in reduced operating status at Port Canaveral, Fla.
Navigation Test Support Ship
Navigation test support ship USNS Waters continued operations in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans in support of weapons and navigation systems testing for the Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs.
Cable Laying/Repair Ship
USNS Zeus continued as the Navy’s only cable laying/repair ship, spending the majority of the year working on sub-sea cable missions in the Western Pacific Ocean. The ship transited to the East Coast for a drydocking availability in May 2007 and was subsequently placed in a reduced operating status at Cheatham Annex, Va.
Command ship USS Mount Whitney continued to support 6th Fleet operations in 2007. Mount Whitney was MSC’s only commissioned ship operating with a hybrid crew of U.S. Navy sailors and civil service mariners under the leadership of a U.S. Navy captain. The civilian mariners performed navigation, deck, engineering, laundry and galley services, while the military crew members were in charge of communications and weapons systems.
During the year, the ship participated in several NATO exercises and familiarization voyages in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of West Africa, the Balkans and the Black Sea to meet 6th Fleet’s theater engagement efforts. Mount Whitney also went through a drydocking availability in Palermo, Italy, the first U.S. Navy ship to do so in the 6th Fleet area of operations in more than six years.
|USS Mount Whitney, the command ship for the U.S. Navy’s 6th Fleet, has a hybrid crew of civil service mariners and active-duty Navy personnel under the leadership of a U.S. Navy captain. Photo by PHAN Ryan O'Connor.|
Chartered commercial vessel HSV-2 Swift, operated for U.S. Fleet Forces Command, conducted various missions to support the Navy’s littoral combat ship program.
Harbor Tug and Port Services
The Special Mission Program continued to manage the Navy’s harbor and port services contracts worldwide. MSC administers contracts that provide on-call civilian harbor tug service and other port services for the Navy, such as re-supply, crew launches and utilities.