T-ACS Keystone State Auxiliary Crane Ships
The auxiliary crane ships are Military Sealift Command Ready Reserve Force ships that can be quickly available to support military sea transportation needs. These self-sustaining ships are useful in ports that have limited, damaged or undeveloped port facilities. The auxiliary crane ships are converted container ships with three twin boom pedestal cranes which can lift containers or other cargo from themselves or adjacent vessels and deposit the cargo on a pier or lighterage.
These ships incorporate a unique capability stemming from the need to be able to offload containers and other heavy equipment from non-self-sustaining containerships in areas where port facilities are damaged, inadequate or non-existent. T-ACS has four or six cranes arranged in pairs, all on the starboard side. Each crane can lift a 20-foot or a 40-foot container, each pair can lift an M-60 battle tank, and four working together can lift a 105 ton Side Loadable Wooping Tug (SLWT).
T-ACS have a high holding power, balanced fluke, port anchor for use in discharge operations. Discharge stops at 30 knots of wind. Ship roll of 5° can stop crane operations due to uncontrolled pendulation. Use of tugs or stern anchors can reduce the ship roll to allow operations to continue (may trade roll for pitch). Container ships moor to T-ACS on the T-ACS' starboard side. Two methods of container ship to T-ACS mooring - T-ACS at anchor or both ships underway. The JLOTS Ship Debarkation Officer coordinates with the T-ACS master or mooring master to ensure the mooring plan supports the ship discharge plan. Relocating (warping) the container ship may be necessary to discharge the vessel. T-ACS have a Cargo Control Center (CCC) for the use of the Ship's Debarkation Officer and SLCP. T-ACS forward and aft discharge stations are at ship's bow and stern, CWF's can be drawn under the ship sponsons and structural flair. Yokohama fenders doubled on aft end of T-ACS helps prevent the CWF being drawn under and the LSV/LCU-2000 being provided with adequate stand-off distance. Crane collisions can occur if the crane operators are not coordinating their efforts, this is especially critical during nightime operations (Haaglund cranes have an optional collision advoidance system, check to see if ship is equipped). Coordinate with T-ACS master to see if the ship has an allowance of inspected and certified slings, spreaders, etc. neede to discharge the embarked cargo and expected container ship/alongside ship cargo. If not, a unit needs to be tasked to provide. T-ACS berthing, messing and sanitary facilities are limited. Ship's support needs to be agreed prior to operations. Portable toilets, meals from ashore and crew shift from ashore may be required.
The ten Keystone State Class ships are conversion crane ships the first of which was completed in 1984 and the last of which was completed in 1997. Conversion of seven T-ACS ships had been completed as of April 1, 1989. T-ACS 8 was delivered in FY 89; f 9 and 10 were delivered in FY 90. Conversion of the T-ACS 1 was accomplished at the Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. T-ACS 2 and 3 were converted by Dillingham Ship Repair of Portland, Oregon. T-ACS 4, 5 and 6 were converted by Norshipco in Norfolk, Virginia. Norshipco also converted T-ACS 9 and 10. T-ACS 7 and 8 were converted by Tampa Ship of Tampa, Florida.
Contracts for T-ACS 11 and 12, projected in 1990, were not awarded.
Five of the ships were deployed to the Arabian Gulf in 1990-91.
In October 1992 the Congress directed the Secretary of the Navy and the Secretary of Transportation to increase the contract price (the contract price, including all modifications as of the date of enactment of the Defense Appropriations Act) for the T-ACS 7 and T-ACS 8 conversion and reactivation contract by $13,300,000 based upon the Defense Contract Audit Agency's estimated incurred costs sustained by the contractor, and to pay to the contractor which built and delivered T-ACS 7 and T-ACS 8 the amount of $13,300,000, no later than November 1, 1992.
On 12 June 1998 US Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater announced the award of a total of 39 performance-based contracts to 10 American ship-owning and -operating companies to manage 89 ships of the Ready Reserve Force. The total estimated value for the contracts included the expected costs of shipyard work and other maintenance and operational expenses for which the ship managers are reimbursed. V Ships Marine, Limited of Mineola, NY was awarded $14,631,130 over 5 years for Keystone State, Gem State, Grand Canyon State and Petersburg. Keystone Shipping Services, Inc. of Bala Cynwyd, PA was awarded $9,452,330 over 5 years for Green Mountain State and Beaver State. Interocean Ugland Management Corp. of Voorhees, NJ was awarded $10,923,265 over 5 years for Gopher State, Flickertail State and Cornhusker State. Apex Marine Ship Management of Lake Success, NY was awarded $9,052,940 over 5 years for Diamond State and Equality State.
Following this announcement of contracts to manage RRF ships in 1998, MARAD independently discovered an error in the award process, and rescinded the contracts. It extended existing contracts to make sure the ships remained mission ready. On 04 May 2000 Maritime Administrator Clyde J. Hart Jr. announced the award of 33 contracts, awarded on a competitive basis, to nine American ship owning and operating companies to manage 74 of the Ready Reserve Force ships. American Overseas Marine Corporation of Quincy, MA was awarded $11,543,456 for Green Mountain State and and Beaver State. Interocean Ugland Management Corp. of Voorhees, NJ was awarded $12,088,040 for Gopher State, Flickertail State, and Cornhusker State. Pacific Gulf Marine, Inc. of Gretna, LA was awarded $11,546,604 for Diamond Sate and Equality State, and $16,196,284 for Keystone State, Gem State and Grand Canyon State.
Gopher State is prepositioned in Guam, and is the only T-ACS serving with the Army Prepositioning Afloat program. USNS Gopher State acted as a temporary Army prepositioning ship in 1994. T-ACS 4 Gopher State is an auxiliary crane ship with four 30-ton cranes. Gopher State was renamed in 1987 after conversion from a container ship, and the ship is named in honor of the state of Minnesota. Gopher State is owned by the Maritime Administration and operated by Interocean-Ugland Corporation. Its mission is to provide crane support when no improved pier facilities exist. It has two twin 30-ton-capacity boom cranes mounted on the starboard side of the ship. When moored inboard of another ship, cargo can be unloaded either from itself or from the outboard ship to the pier facility. In addition to the crane capability, the vessel carries 284 TEUs of transportation and quartermaster equipment. Although not employed for their ability to carry cargo, these ships have an overall capability of carrying 711 TEUs of containers.
The T-ACS 5 Flickertail State, T-ACS 6 Cornhusker State, T-ACS 7 Diamond State, T-ACS 8 Equality State, T-ACS 9 Green Mountain State, and T-ACS 10 Beaver State are assigned to the Ready Reserve Force (RRF), crewed by Maritime Administration (MARAD) personnel in an increased state of readiness that would permit activation within a few days. When activated, RRF ships come under the operational control of the Military Sealift Command.
In August 2003 three Ready Reserve Force ships successfully completed readiness activation exercises. The three activated ships were the Grand Canyon State and the Gem State, both berthed in Alameda, California, and the Green Mountain State, berthed in Bremerton, Washington. Readiness exercises such as these keep these ships in shape to provide the support our Armed Forces need.
Turbo Activations, sponsored and monitored by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the U.S. Transportation Command, are made without notice. During an exercise, RRF ships are directed to shift from a reduced operating status to a fully crewed status, with the quarters made habitable and cargo gear ready, within four or five days. Activations are often followed immediately by a sea trial.
The Grand Canyon State, Gem State and Green Mountain State were successfully delivered to the Military Sealift Command within their readiness time frames. The three ships are auxiliary crane vessels used to carry cargo. In addition, they can be used to load and unload other ships anywhere in the world and are particularly useful when port facilities have been damaged.
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