A recent contract award should mean ongoing job security for SIU members.
In late July, SIU-contracted Crowley Maritime announced that it had received a “multi-year, $638 million contract for vessel acquisition management by the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD).”
The company will assist the agency “in the enhancement of the Ready Reserve Force (RRF), helping reduce the overall age of the fleet and increase ship reliability,” Crowley reported. That means acquiring newer ships – and, after those vessels enter the fleet, Crowley will maintain and operate them for MARAD.
“To carry out the contract, Crowley will use a new, proprietary information technology system to assess, research and make purchasing recommendations,” the company noted. “Once the vessels are acquired, Crowley will oversee any required re-flagging, re-classification, modification and maintenance to ensure they are fit for service in compliance with U.S. Coast Guard, American Bureau of Shipping, and Defense Department requirements.”
“A successful vessel acquisition management program is important to the U.S. as a maritime nation, the maritime industry and Crowley as we mutually invest in the strength of our nation,” said Mike Golonka, vice president, government ship management in Crowley Solutions. “We want to share our innovative, successful approach to vessel ownership and lifecycle engineering with the U.S. government.”
MARAD describes the RRF as “a subset of vessels” within the agency’s National Defense Reserve Fleet “ready to support the rapid worldwide deployment of U.S. military forces. As a key element of Department of Defense strategic sealift, the RRF primarily supports transport of Army and Marine Corps unit equipment, combat support equipment, and initial resupply during critical surge periods – the period of time before commercial ships can be secured for similar support. The RRF provides nearly 50% of government-owned surge sealift capability and has rightfully been called ‘America’s Sea Power Reliant Partner.’”
The program began with a half-dozen vessels in 1977 and now consists of more than 40, most of them roll-on/roll-off ships.
RRF ships “are expected to be fully operational within their assigned fiveand 10-day readiness status and then sail to designated loading berths,” according to MARAD. “Prior to being activated, commercial U.S. ship managers provide systems maintenance, equipment repairs, logistics support, activation, manning, and operations management by contract. The RRF is periodically tested by DOD-driven activations of ships for military cargo operations and exercises.”