Crowley Liner Services and North Florida Shipyards
will be recognized on December 20 in Jacksonville by U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) officials for their contributions in the successful completion of the $18 million conversion of the Ready Reserve Force ship MV Cape Washington.
MARAD South Atlantic regional representatives, including Nuns Jain, Director; Jeff McMahon, Ship Operations and Maintenance Officer, and Dave
Jansohn, Contracting Officer's Technical Representative, are scheduled to present awards to Crowley Vice President and General Manager John Douglass and North Florida Shipyards President
Matt Self in a luncheon ceremony at
12:30 p.m. at Crowley's Jacksonville headquarters (9487 Regency Square Blvd.)
The ship conversion project, which involved expanding the total deck storage capacity for military cargo and hardware to 295,958 square feet, represented the culmination of several years of planning and work by MARAD,
Crowley and North Florida Shipyards. The Cape Washington is the second ship to undergo this conversion at North Florida Shipyards. The MV Cape Wrath was completed in 2001 at a cost of approximately $15 million. Crowley Liner
Services is the ship manager for both vessels plus six others in the MARAD
Created in 1976 during America's bicentennial year, the Ready Reserve Force supports rapid, massive movement of military supplies in
support of military and humanitarian operations. There are 76 ships in the force. Military equipment such as tanks, trucks, Humvees, and helicopters can be driven or towed onboard the Cape Washington and 30 similar ships.
Other ships also have special capabilities valuable to the military, such as the ability to pump fuel to inland points up to four miles away, or to unload goods from its cargo holds and those of other ships without the help of equipment on shore. MARAD, which owns the ships, contracts with private ship operating companies
to manage them, using seafaring union members as
crew. When activated for military missions, the ships are under the operational control of the Navy's Military Sealift Command (MSC).
During operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Ready Reserve Force vessels provided cargo carrying capacity for nearly 800,000 of the 3.2
million tons of cargo needed to support U.S. military forces.
"The ultimate test of the Ready Reserve Force occurred when nearly 80 activated Ready Reserve Force ships helped us create a 'steel bridge' to
the Persian Gulf for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm," said Rear Admiral David
Brewer of the Military Sealift Command during the Ready
Reserve Force's 25th anniversary last year. "If you'd been in a high-flying airplane above the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, the Suez Canal, you'd have seen almost literally one ship every 50 miles between the United States and the Persian Gulf. The ships in that steel bridge carried 95 percent of the combat gear needed by our forces in that conflict."