Once again, Seafarers have met the sudden demands of the United States Transportation Command, in conjunction with the Military Sealift Command (MSC) and the Maritime Administration (MARAD), by successfully completing Turbo Activation 21-1.
The recent exercise involved crewing 18 vessels: 17 MARAD Ready Reserve Force (RRF) ships and one MSC roll-on/roll-off carrier. SIU members stepped up and filled those 225 jobs within the prescribed time constraint.
“Thanks to our port officials and our members, we were able to crew all 18 ships quickly and efficiently,” said SIU Manpower Director Mark von Siegel. “In addition to the hectic day-to-day operations of filling jobs and crewing other ships, all hands stepped up – as they always do – and ensured that we met the needs of our contracted operators and the military.”
The 18 vessels included the MSC RO/RO USNS Gordon (operated by Ocean Shipholdings), the Fast Sealift Ships Antares (TOTE), SS Bellatrix (TOTE), SS Capella (Ocean Duchess), SS Pollux (TOTE) and SS Regulus (TOTE), the crane ship SS Cornhusker State (Pacific Gulf Marine), and 11 RRF RO/ROs: GTS Adm Wm M Callaghan (Patriot), SS Cape Island (Ocean Duchess), MV Cape Decision (Keystone), Cape Domingo (Keystone), Cape Kennedy (Keystone), Cape Race (Keystone), Cape Rise (Keystone), Cape Taylor (Patriot), Cape Trinity (Patriot), Cape Vincent (Patriot) and Cape Washington (Crowley).
Acting Executive Director of MARAD Kevin Tokarski praised the efforts of the Seafarers in a letter, saying in part, “On behalf of the Acting Maritime Administrator, Lucinda Lessley, I would like to express our Agency’s thanks for the successful wrap-up of the recent Ready Reserve Force Turbo Activation 21-1. The success of this is due to the contribution of our Ship Managers and all of the mariners needed to make activating these ‘old workhorses’ even possible. MARAD is now in the 75th year of maintaining the Nation’s reserve of sealift ships and the median age of these vessels is 46-years old. Indeed, the age of the vessels today is older than when the Ready Reserve Force fleet was developed in 1976 with the first ships from WWII. The challenges of activating and operating these vessels is more difficult each year and we do not take for granted the significant efforts your personnel muster to get this done.”
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