Eyes of the Fleet

Eyes of the Fleet

Monday, January 18, 2010

Haiti: Crane ships and more ordered to Haiti

H/T: GCaptain and to Ken Adams (see comments). DOT Press Release here.

MARAD ships are getting ordered to Haiti:
The U.S. Maritime Administration
announced Monday that MV Gopher State, MV Cornhusker State (photos to left) and SS Cape May will join OPDS Petersburg from California and M/V Huakai from Hawaii.

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

Acting Maritime Administrator David T. Matsuda added, “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.”
During today's Blogger Roundtable, LTG Keen discussed the severe fuel shortages adding the complexity of humanitarian operations in Haiti. The immediate solution is OPDS Petersburg.

What are OPDS ships? See here:
Today planning for petroleum delivery to combat shore areas is on-going. As noted here, the basic system is the Offshore Petroleum Discharge System (OPDS). OPDS defined:
Provides a semipermanent, all-weather facility for bulk transfer of petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) directly from an offshore tanker to a beach termination unit (BTU) located immediately inland from the high watermark. POL then is either transported inland or stored in the beach support area. Major offshore petroleum discharge systems (OPDS) components are: the OPDS tanker with booster pumps and spread mooring winches; a recoverable single anchor leg mooring (SALM) to accommodate tankers of up to 70,000 deadweight tons; ship to SALM hose lines; up to 4 miles of 6-inch (internal diameter) conduit for pumping to the beach; and two BTUs to interface with the shoreside systems. OPDS can support a two line system for multiproduct discharge, but ship standoff distance is reduced from 4 to 2 miles. Amphibious construction battalions install the OPDS with underwater construction team assistance. OPDS are embarked on selected ready reserve force tankers modified to support the system.
All of which means that the Navy runs a pipeline to the beach from a mooring buoy offshore to which product tankers can connect and pump their cargo to storage facilities operated by the Army on the shore. This system is operated by the Military Sealift Command:
The U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command awarded a $26.6 million contract with options to Edison Chouest Offshore, based in Galliano, La., for the time charter of one Offshore Petroleum Discharge System, or OPDS.

The OPDS consists of two ships -- a support ship and a tender -- that work together to pump fuel for U.S. military forces from a commercial oil tanker moored at sea to a temporary fuel storage area ashore.

To begin the process, the 348-foot support ship and 165-foot tender work together to install up to eight miles of eight-inch-diameter flexible pipe. Next, the support ship positions the tanker for safe off-load operations. While the tender holds the tanker in place, the tanker's lines connect to the flexible pipe through the support ship. Booster pumps aboard the support ship increase the pressure of fuel, pushing the fuel to shore.

The OPDS is especially valuable in areas where fuel piers are unavailable, and tankers are unable to tie up ashore to off-load fuel. The OPDS can pump up to 1.7 million gallons of fuel per day.
The system has been recently exercised. And, no, that ship is not sinking, it's just positioning itself to offload the Single Anchor Leg Moor component of OPDS.

Comparison of "old" OPDS with new contract OPDS:

From PowerPoint presentations which can be reached from here and here.
The new system allows for use of other tankers, greater offshore distance and more flexibility.
Two of the ships are Auxiliary Crane Ships (ACS) and will substantially add to the ability to move cargo from ship to shore.

Cape May is a Seabee class barge carrier - which, I think might prove to be perfect for transporting JLOTS barges, as seen in the nearby photos, the Navy Improved Navy Lighterage System (INLS) can fit nicely onto barges, but the deck of Cape May is of a size that INLS can be "mother shipped" on deck.

Deck loading for Cape May is a feature of its design:

As noted here:
SEABEE carriers are capable of embarking barges at the stern using winch-driven lift platforms with a load-carrying capacity of more than 2,000 metric tons. Barges are loaded, usually in pairs, by being floated into the dock-like afterbody of the ship over the lowered lifting platforms, then lifted up to deck height, from where they are rolled into the ship on very flat rail-mounted trolleys. This type of transfer is thus known as "lift and roll". The Lykes Line's SEABEE ships can stow thirty-eight barges on three decks. Special fittings allow the upper deck to be loaded with containers instead of barges. SEABEE ships are able to carry containers and other cargoes on deck, but these ships do not have on-board lifting gear for such cargoes.
And here:
The SEABARGE (SEABEE) is arranged much differently from the LASH in that it has three decks on which the cargo barges or container flats are stowed. Barges are brought to each deck level by a stern elevator and are moved internally within the ship by the Transporter (conveyor) System. Two barges can be loaded or discharged in a cycle of about 40 minutes. SEABEE barge ships can carry up to 38 sea barges (97'6" long x 35' wide x 16'11" high). The elevator capacity is 2,000 LT. The SEABEE ship is the preferred ship to transport landing craft, utility, and lighter, amphibious resupply, cargo 60 ton. The military advantages of barge carriers include their suitability to carry either unit equipment, sustaining supplies, or ammunition; the ability to carry amphibious lighterage; and the capability to preload the barges before ship arrival and to discharge cargo from the barges at relatively austere port facilities, after the ship has sailed. Their military disadvantages include a complete dependence on a single, very complicated mechanical system for barge discharge; the barge's dependence, once afloat, upon the availability of towage; and the overall unsuitability of the barges for towing outside harbors or other protected waters.

The Sea Barge (SEABEE) transportation systems operate similar to a containership. In these systems, cargo is stowed in unitized barges. The barges are then stowed aboard a barge carrier. One major difference between containerships and barge carriers is the amount of cargo that lighters or barges can handle. SEABEE barges have cubic capacities of 40,000 ft3 (30 160 m3). The SEABEE system has an elevator to load its barges.

The SEABEE system operates similarly to the LASH system. Barge stowage is configured for deck loading. Barges are stowed and discharged by a stern-mounted, submersible 2,400-LTON (5,376,000 lb, 2 400 000 kg) ship's elevator. Barges are transferred from the elevator platform on one of the three decks for stowage by two large transporters. Each SEABEE carrier has a capacity of 38 barges; however, only 24 barges are currently available per vessel. In addition, the SEABEE ship can carry logistics-over-the-shore lighterage on its weather deck. (emphasis added)
From the DOT Press Release: M/V Huakai is a new high-speed passenger and vehicle ferry capable of speeds of nearly 40 knots in the open ocean. It was obtained by the Maritime Administration when a Hawaiian ferry company failed and abandoned it. Since late last week it has been undergoing preparations in Norfolk, VA.

UPDATE: DOD Bloggers Roundtable with LTG Keen: (warning - auto opening podcast)
DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable with Lt. Gen. P. K. (Ken) Keen, Commander Joint Task Force Haiti. Lt. Gen. Keen provided an update of ongoing U.S. military disaster relief operations in Haiti. SOUTHCOM is closely monitoring the situation and is working with the U.S. State Department, United States Agency for International Development and the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance and other national and international agencies to determine how to best respond to this crisis.
JLOTS can be pushed forward as port assessment continues. "Getting the ports open is absolutely critical..."


  1. I have never seen any crane ship before. That is the reason why I can't tell how large the actual size of the vessel.

  2. In addition, the SEABEE ship can carry logistics-over-the-shore lighterage on its weather deck