Seafarers are sailing aboard two modern vessels that recently reflagged under the Stars and Stripes.
American Roll-On Roll-Off Carrier (ARC) added the ARC Commitment and ARC Defender to its U.S.-flag fleet. The ships hoisted the American flag during separate proceedings with the U.S. Coast Guard in Jacksonville, Florida, in December 2021 and January 2022. Both ships are operated by SIU-contracted TOTE Services for ARC.
The vessels are enrolled in the U.S. Maritime Security Program (MSP), one of the staples of the U.S. Merchant Marine and a key component of the nation’s sealift capability.
“The SIU applauds ARC for its ongoing dedication to our industry, including our mariners,” said SIU Vice President Contracts George Tricker. “As always, I am 100 percent confident in the Seafarers who are currently sailing aboard the Defender and the Commitment, as well as those who will sail aboard them in the future.”
In announcing the flag-ins, ARC said the two ships “are among the most capable and militarily useful vessels in the U.S.-flag commercial fleet, able to carry tracked and wheeled vehicles, helicopters, and other high and heavy project cargoes.”
Built in 2011, the ARC Commitment is 747 feet long. The ARC Defender, meanwhile, was constructed in 2008. The ship is 656 feet long.
“These tremendously capable and flexible U.S.-flag assets stand ready to support America’s national defense and economic security through trade, and further strengthen ARC’s position as the leading U.S.-flag Ro-Ro carrier” said ARC President and CEO Eric Ebeling. He added that the company has re-flagged seven vessels into the MSP fleet (and U.S. registry) since 2016. Among the first SIU members to sail aboard the ARC Commitment are Bosun Anthony Newbill, ABs Yassid Laboriel Lalin and Kenneth Townsend, OSs Jashawn Dixon and Nicholas Keating, Oilers John Albritton, Jalen Denson and Seth Schrader, Steward/Baker Reshawn Solomon, Chief Cook Ricardo Petilo and SA Samone Alston.
The Defender’s first crew included Bosun Bobby Brown, ABs Jon Mark Newman, Michael Otwelland Carlos Williams, OSs Michael Reardon and Orlando Rosa Aguirre, Oilers Nicholas Chiappini and Ghadir Sarkis, Steward/Baker Torrika Devine, Chief Cook Sherron Decoteau and SA Joe Rogers.
Established in 1996, the MSP ensures that the Defense Department has access to a fleet of militarily useful, U.S.-crewed, U.S.-flag vessels in times of war or national emergency. Companies whose ships are enrolled in the program also make sure their infrastructure is available. In return, the federal government provides an annual stipend through the MSP. Experts have estimated it would cost the government billions of dollars to replicate what the MSP (and its related Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement) provides.