Crowley Maritime Corporation announced it has managed the first vessel acquisition under its contract to help recapitalize a sealift fleet with the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD).

In 2021, Crowley was awarded a multi-year vessel acquisition and management (VAM) contract to help recapitalize MARAD’s Ready Reserve Force (RRF). It is now spearheading the acquisition and conversion of two vehicle carriers from American Roll-On Roll-Off Carrier Group in collaboration with Stena RoRo, Serco and LCE (Life Cycle Engineering).

The first vessel to be acquired, Honor, will be followed by Freedom. The acquisitions will enhance the RRF by increasing ship reliability and reducing the overall age of the fleet, a crucial component in conducting U.S. Department of Defense sealifts. The force provides nearly 50% of government-owned surge sealift capability.

Crowley said it will oversee any modification and maintenance required to ensure the two vessels are fit for service in compliance with U.S. Coast Guard, American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) and U.S. Department of Defense requirements. Following the completed purchase of Freedom and Honor, Crowley will maintain and operate the two vessels on behalf of MARAD.

“Crowley is proud to build on our legacy as a proven government partner with over 20 years of partnership with MARAD,” said Crowley’s, Miles Spratto, program manager for vessel acquisition.

“The Freedom and Honor will help revitalize the Ready Reserve Force, a fleet critical to our national security. We look forward to continuing the momentum with additional opportunities to acquire, manage and operate vessels on behalf of MARAD and the U.S. government.”

RRF is a subset of vessels within MARAD’s National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF) ready to support the rapid worldwide deployment of U.S. military forces. According to MARAD, the program currently consists of 41 vessels, including 33 roll-on/roll off (RO/RO) vessels, including 8 Fast Sealift Support (FSS) vessels; one heavy-lift or barge carrying ships; four auxiliary craneships; one tanker and two aviation repair vessels.

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