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Ready Reserve and Training Ships Providing Hurricane Relief

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SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (USTCNS) --– A Ready Reserve Force ship activated by US Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) September 20, 2005 has so far not been able to leave its home port of Beaumont, TX but that doesn’t mean it isn’t working.

The MV Cape Vincent was not able to depart Beaumont on time because some of the crew members couldn’t get to the ship in the traffic jams preceding landfall of Hurricane Rita. So the Vincent and its sister ship, the MV Cape Victory, have stayed in port and become a temporary shelter for the emergency vehicles belonging to the Port of Beaumont, the City of Beaumont, and Jefferson County, as well as for a number of police dogs who also need a place to stay.

Both ships have been activated by Military Sealift Command for USTRANSCOM to support operations in the Middle East in the past two years, with each of them being activated three times between January 2003 and September 2005. The Cape Vincent has served a total of 345 days and the Cape Victory has served for 349 days.

The Ready Reserve Force (RRF) is a fleet of militarily useful ships, usually used to support the U.S. Armed Forces in time of war or national emergency. RRF ships have frequently been activated to help in recovery efforts from disasters overseas, but this is the first time they have been activated to assist in recovery from a domestic disaster.

Five other RRF ships have been activated to help in hurricane recovery, as follows:

EQUALITY STATE at Port Sulphur, LA, is supporting U.S. Coast Guard in oil spill response at Perry Oil Dock.

DIAMOND STATE is supporting facilities and housing needs at Port of New Orleans.

WRIGHT in New Orleans is housing port workers. Oklahoma National Guard and Department of Transportation personnel are expected.

CAPE KNOX at Mireaux, LA is supporting oil spill response and recovery. Workers have left vessel for Hurricane RITA preparations.

CAPE KENNEDY at New Orleans is supporting Port of New Orleans.

Maritime Administration (MARAD) also owns training ships for all six state maritime academies, and three of those have been activated to support hurricane recovery efforts:

SIRIUS, from the Texas Maritime Academy, is providing housing and food for Army National Guard, Customs and Border Patrol, Harbor Patrol, local police, USDOT-OIG, Coast Guard, longshore workers and port workers. Five hundred meals have been provided to date.

EMPIRE STATE, from the State University of New York Maritime Academy, is at Alliance, LA (Conoco refinery) providing housing for refinery workers, security, medical personnel, and New Mexico Army National Guard.

STATE OF MAINE, from Maine Maritime Academy, is at New Orleans, providing housing and feeding for harbor pilots, long shore and other port workers, Coast Guard, numerous other federal agencies and American Red Cross.

“The Maritime Administration is working day and night to get these vessels successfully deployed,” said Acting Maritime Administrator John Jamian. “What we, and the men and women of the U.S. Merchant Marine, do best is support this nation in time of peace and war.”

All RRF ships are crewed by U.S. civilian merchant mariners. MARAD also provides training ships for all six state maritime academies. The RRF ships and training ships are all part of the National Defense Reserve Fleet, administered by MARAD.

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