The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) has activated 13 Ready Reserve Force (RRF) ships on January 24 to support Operation Enduring Freedom. The activations follow orders received from the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command.
The recently-activated ships join 19 others already activated to support Operation Enduring Freedom. These, combined with four others on long-term assignment, bring the total of activated MARAD RRF ships to 36.
For more than 25 years, MARAD’s RRF has augmented the Military Sealift Command’s 125-ship cargo fleet. The ships were used in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and more recently in Haiti, Somalia, Croatia, Bosnia, and for humanitarian support as part of Hurricane "Mitch" relief in Central America
“The RRF is a great asset because it provides efficient sealift, tailored to meet the requirements of the military. The program also supports vital marine industries and labor unions that have been in decline, but are critical to support our nation in times of war,” Maritime Administrator Capt. William Schubert stated. All RRF ships are crewed by American merchant mariners who volunteer for this potentially difficult duty.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) manages the RRF, which is a fleet of 72 militarily useful ships. This fleet, located throughout the country, is maintained in a reserve status in the event that the Department of Defense needs these ships to support the rapid, massive movement of military supplies and troops for a military exercise or large-scale conflict.