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Military Sealift Command Public Affairs
MSC PAO 00-22
For more information, contact:
Marge Holtz or Bridget Morris
(202) 685-5055
October 27, 2000

MV Blue Marlin lifts precious cargo
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Heavy lift ship MV Blue Marlin, under contract to the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command, will be loading damaged Navy destroyer USS Cole next week in the Gulf of Aden. Five-hundred-and-five-foot USS Cole has a 40-foot-by-40-foot hole in her port side from an Oct. 12 terrorist attack in which 17 U.S. Sailors were killed.

MV Blue Marlin will literally give the destroyer a ride on her 584.6-foot deck to the United States. The heavy lift ship was chosen to carry USS Cole the Monday following the attack. Since then, Navy designers have worked with the ship's company to develop blocks and sea fastenings to be placed upon Blue Marlin's deck. A shipyard built these on Blue Marlin's deck in Dubai. Blue Marlin then sailed to the Gulf of Aden and USS Cole.

To lift the destroyer, Blue Marlin will fill her ballast tanks, slowly submerging her deck until only the house and two aft towers are visible above the waterline. Tug boats will then help position Cole above Blue Marlin's submerged deck.

Once Cole is positioned, Blue Marlin will slowly empty her ballast tanks and her deck will slowly rise to meet the destroyer. Once the destroyer is resting on the blocks on Blue Marlin's deck, the heavy lift ship will continue to de-ballast until she is at her normal draft of about 35 feet. The entire operation will take about 24 hours, after which workers will finish securing Cole aboard Blue Marlin to prepare for the ships' transit to the United States where Cole will undergo repairs. A small number of Navy personnel will make the transit with the ships.

MV Blue Marlin is one of the world's largest heavy lift ships. She is used in the commercial sector to lift unwieldy cargo such as oil rigs. This past July, she performed her first service for the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command -- transporting two Navy mine hunters from Corpus Christi, Texas, to Bahrain in the Persian Gulf. She was particularly attractive for the lift of USS Cole since Blue Marlin was already in the Middle East at the time of the attack.

For more information about Military Sealift Command, please see the command's web page at For more information about MV Blue Marlin, see

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