Waterman Flagging In Cargo Ship


September 2011


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SIU-contracted Waterman Steamship in early August won a U.S. Military Sealift Command (MSC) bid to operate a dry cargo “ice class” vessel for up to five years – an award signaling job security for Seafarers.


As a result, the company is in the process of reflagging the MV Federal Patroller under the

Stars and Stripes. The 11-year-old vessel currently sails under the Cyprus flag. It is 469 feet long and can sail at slightly more than 15 knots.


The ship’s main missions are expected to be re-supply voyages to McMurdo Station in Antarctica and Thule Air Force Base in Greenland.


“This award means that the SIU will retain work that Seafarers have very ably handled for many years,” said SIU Vice President Contracts George Tricker. “It’s great news for the membership, and Waterman is to be congratulated.”


MSC notified the company in a letter dated Aug. 3. The agency indicated that the vessel is to commence operations between mid- and late December of this year.


The respective voyages to Antarctica and Greenland will offer Seafarers a chance to continue a decades-old tradition of support by U.S. Merchant Mariners. The Antarctica mission, known as Operation Deep Freeze, consists of not only delivering vital supplies to the National Science Foundation’s McMurdo Station, but also bringing back items ranging from valuable ice core samples to all the waste that the station accumulates during the prior year. That operation has been backed by the U.S. Merchant Marine since 1952.


The trip to Greenland, meanwhile, has been a regular run for American crews since 1956. Known as Operation Pacer Goose, it is the main supply line for Thule Air Force Base, which is located halfway between the North Pole and the Arctic Circle. There are no local resources to sustain the base’s residents.


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