U.S. Merchant Marine Mobilizes for Haiti Relief

Monday, January 18, 2010

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced that the Department’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) is sending five ships to assist with relief efforts in Haiti.  Gopher State, Petersburg, Huakai, Cornhusker State and Cape May are being prepared to sail to the Caribbean Ocean from different parts of the United States.  All are owned or controlled by MARAD, and will be crewed by civilian U.S. merchant mariners.

“Sending these ships will help those on the front line of this effort save as many lives in Haiti as possible,” said Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.  “These ships will add crucial capabilities by supporting operations to move large volumes of people and cargo.”

“Once again the U.S. Merchant Marine is answering the call for assistance, as it has done since our Nation began,” said Acting Maritime Administrator David T. Matsuda. “These ships and skilled crews are ideally suited to assist in Haiti by providing unique capabilities.  One cargo ship can carry as much as 400 fully loaded cargo planes.”

M/V Huakai is a new high-speed ferry capable of speeds of nearly 40 knots in the open ocean.  Petersburg, Cornhusker State, Cape May and Gopher State are part of MARAD’s Ready Reserve Force (RRF), which includes a total of forty-nine ships at ports around the country. 

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