RO/RO Joins SIU-Contracted Fleet

February 2010

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EnduranceSeafarers-contracted American Roll-on Roll-off Carrier (ARC) on Jan. 22 announced its purchase of and reflag to the Stars and Stripes of the MV Endurance (formerly the Taronga). The vessel, which will be operated by Crowley for ARC, is an outright addition to the union’s fleet.

The Endurance is expected to enter service in mid-February. ARC described the 860-foot vessel as “the largest and most militarily useful, multi-purpose RO/RO ship in the U.S.-flag commercial fleet.”

SIU Vice President Contracts George Tricker said the reflag “is a credit to our SIU crews and to the companies involved. It’s good news any time we’re able to welcome new tonnage, but that’s especially true in light of the current economic climate.”

ARC announced that the appropriate entities – including the U.S. Transportation Command (on behalf of the Defense Department) and the U.S. Maritime Administration (on behalf of the Transportation Department) – have approved the Endurance as the replacement for the MV Liberty in the U.S. Maritime Security Program (MSP). However, the Liberty will remain under the American flag and will join the company’s Middle East liner service.

Delivered by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in December 1996, the Endurance “is well suited for high and heavy and project cargoes,” according to ARC. “She is a unique RO/RO vessel with no sister ships and is among the largest RO/RO vessels in the world…. Endurance has nine decks that can be configured to carry over 260,000 square feet of high and heavy cargo such as CH-47s (helicopters), MRAPs (mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles), MATVs (all-terrain vehicles), tracked vehicles, construction equipment and generators; 130,000 square feet of additional high-side vehicle (SUV) space; and approximately 200 containers. Her quarter ramp weight capacity of 320 tons exceeds that of any vessel in the U.S.-flag commercial fleet.”

The MSP helps ensure that U.S.-flag vessels and well-trained, dependable American crews are available to the U.S. military during times of crisis. It also gives the military access to a modern, technologically advanced intermodal network that spans the globe.

Overall, the program provides for a fleet of up to 60 ships. Those vessels, many of them crewed by SIU members, help enable the government to provide sealift for U.S. armed forces utilizing the resources of the U.S.-flag commercial fleet. In addition, a U.S.-flag commercial fleet operating in international trade enables the government to provide global economic and agricultural assistance programs, and provides the crews that are used to sail government reserve vessels in time of need. The MSP fleet provides this national security asset at a substantially lower cost than the government owning and maintaining an equivalent capability.

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