AK 1005 Austral Rainbow
AK 1005 (T-AK 2046) Austral Rainbow, was [apparently until mid-1998] one of three ships under charter to support the U.S. Air Force's ammunition prepositioning mission. Austral Rainbow is a LASH, or lighter aboard ship, vessel built in 1972. It is 820 feet long, 100 feet wide and has a deadweight tonnage of 41,000 long tons. In its current configuration, Austral Rainbow can carry up to 100 20-foot containers, 74 LASH barges and two pusher boats. The two pusher boats are used to move barges which have been unloaded into the water. Each barge can carry as much as 250 long tons of cargo. The ship sails at a speed of 16 knots. Austral Rainbow was prepositioned in Diego Garcia.
Some sources report in apparent error that Gulf Banker, Gulf Farmer and Gulf Merchant are designated T-AK 2044, T-AK 2045 and T-AK 2046 [respectively], rather than the correct T-AK 5044, T-AK 5045 and T-AK 5046. Other sources report Austral Rainbow as T-AK 2046 rather than AK 1005, which is also attested by reputable sources.
On 11 January 1995 Central Gulf Lines, New Orleans, Louisiana, was awarded a $13,231,167 time charter contract for the charter of the ship SS Austral Rainbow for a period of 17 months. The SS Austral Rainbow is a barge vessel which will be used to transport U.S. Air Force cargo. This contract contains two 17-month options, which if exercised, will bring the total cumulative value of the contract to $39,811,000. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured with 50 proposals solicited and three offers received. The U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command, Central Technical Activity, is the contracting activity (N62387-95-C-1204). On 21 August 2000, the Maritime Administration (MARAD) gave approval to Eastern Overseas, Inc., Port Washingotn, NY, for the sale of the AUSTRAL RAINBOW to Eckhardt Marine GmbH, a German corporation, for scrapping in India. A lash carrier, the AUSTRAL RAINBOW was built in Avondale, La., in 1972. MARAD's approval is required under section 9 of the Shipping Act, 1916, as amended. The Indian navy was able to recapture the M/V Austral Rainbow in 2000, a rather large ship that had been hijacked by pirates.
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