The recovery and salvage ship USS Grasp (ARS 51) was decommissioned after 20 years of service and transferred to Military Sealift Command
(MSC) in a ceremony at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek January 19.
Past and present crew members attended the ceremony to say farewell to the ship.
As a U.S. Navy ship, Grasp had a crew of approximately 100 Sailors. As an MSC asset, the ship will now have a crew of 26 civilian mariners and four enlisted military personnel.
According to many on board, the relatively small crew enabled them to come together more so than on other ships.
Following decommissioning Grasp will enter an extensive maintenance period during which it will be converted for operation by the civilian mariners.
After the shipyard period, the ship will begin a training phase designed to provide the ship’s civilian crew with experience operating with embarked military mobile diving and salvage units. Additional changes to the engineering plant and bridge equipment will allow operation by the smaller civilian crew.
By Journalist 3rd Class Davis J. Anderson, Fleet Public Affairs Center Atlantic