The job security of Seafarers got a boost with the U.S. Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) recent announcement of newly awarded operating agreements for 48 National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF) vessels.
SIU members will fill all of the unlicensed positions on 38 of those ships; on the remaining 10, Seafarers will sail in the steward department.
All but two of the vessels are part of the Ready Reserve Force (RRF), which is a subset of the NDRF. The others support Missile Defense Agency missions.
“These awards are a credit to the professionalism of both the SIU membership and Seafarerscontracted companies,” stated SIU Vice President Contracts George Tricker. “The RRF program has faced some challenges due to budget cuts, but overall, the new agreements are fantastic news for the SIU.”
The contracts are for four years, and they include options for an additional four. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the agreements – with a total value of $1.96 billion – on Jan. 22
“Since 1946, National Defense Reserve Fleet vessels have facilitated U.S. strategic sealift, natural disaster response, and humanitarian operations all around the world,” said Foxx. “From supporting our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and providing humanitarian support for Haiti, to supporting the United Nation’s at-sea neutralization of Syria’s chemical weapons – this fleet reliably, economically, and efficiently advances U.S. contributions to global peace and prosperity.”
The agreements apply to the following companies and ships: Crowley (4 ships): Cape Washington, Cape Wrath, Curtiss, Wright;
Keystone (11): Cape Edmont, Cape Ducato, Cape Decision, Cape Douglas, Cape Diamond, Cape Domingo, Cape Kennedy, Cape Knox, Cape Race, Cape Ray, Cape Rise;
Matson (3): Cape Henry, Cape Hudson, Cape Horn;
Ocean Duchess (8): Cape May, Cape Mohican, Cape Intrepid, Cape Inscription, Cape Isabel, Cape Island, Algol, Capella;
Pacific-Gulf Marine (6): Gem State, Grand Canyon State, Keystone State, Flickertail State, Gopher State, Cornhusker State;
Patriot (7): Cape Texas, Cape Taylor, Cape Trinity, Cape Vincent, Cape Victory, GTS Adm. William Callaghan, Cape Orlando;
Tote (9): Altair, Bellatrix, Denebola, Pollux, Regulus, Antares, Petersburg, Pacific Collector, Pacific Tracker.
In its formal announcement, MARAD noted, “The contracts were awarded to companies that offered the best value to the government. These seven companies are responsible for maintaining the ships in good mechanical condition and ensuring that crews are available to operate them when needed.”
The agency also pointed out that RRF ships have been activated hundreds of times since the advents of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
“The U.S. Merchant Marine and National Defense Reserve Fleet play a crucial role in our nation’s security,” said Maritime Administrator Chip Jaenichen. “These contract awards will allow our commercial maritime companies to continue providing top-notch support to our troops who are stationed or deployed around the world.”
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