Military


T-AO 187 Henry J. Kaiser

The Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187), the first of an 18-ship series of new oilers, was delivered in September 1986. Three of the Kaiser class were delivered in 1987 and one was delivered in 1988. When they joined the fleet, Kaiser-class ships permited the retirement of oilers of the 1940s (Mispillion class) and 1950s (Neosho class). The ships were built for the Military Sealift Command (MSC).

These ships conduct underway replenishment in support of operating forces by simultaneously providing POL from five stations (two starboard and three port); fleet freight, mail, personnel and other items from two stations (one starboard and one port) for periods normally not to exceed thirty-two hours per week. UNREP hours are considered to commence with "first line over" and terminate with "last line clear". They conduct vertical replenishment in support of operating forces by providing fleet freight, personnel, mail and other items from one helicopter platform with helicopters from other units for periods normally not to exceed 20 hours per week. This includes the time from the setting of flight quarters to securing from flight quarters.

There are stations on both sides of each ship for underway replenishment of fuel and stores. Equipped with 5 fueling stations, they can replenish two ships at a time pumping up to 900,000 gallons of diesel fuel and 540,000 gallons of jet fuel per hour. These ships have a capacity for small quantities of fresh and frozen provisions, stores, and other materials which will permit full replenishment of some of their customers. With a dry cargo carrying capacity of 7,400 square feet and refrigerated deck vans that can hold up to 128 pallets of chilled food, they can deliver fleet cargo, mail, and provisions via CONREP (connected replenishment) from two dry cargo rigs or via VERTREP (vertical replenishment) on the helo deck.

Allowable shear force and bending moment values must not be exceeded in any full load, part load or ballasted condition or the safety of the ship will be jeopardized. The control of oiler loadings to be one of the most important factors contributing to the safety of the ships. All in port cargo loading or discharging and at sea cargo discharging and/or ballasting shall be accomplished in such a manner that the calculated shear force and bending moment shall not exceed the applicable allowable values as noted in the vessel's Loading Manual. When calculations show the shear force or bending moment to exceed the applicable allowable in port or at sea value, the liquid loading within the ship shall be redistributed to reduce the values below the maximum allowable values. Computerized calculations may be used in lieu of the longhand calculations, provided periodic checks are performed to verify computer results.

Three of the newest MSC underway replenishment oilers have double hulls, designed to meet OPA 90 (Oil Protection Act 1990) requirements. . Fitted with integrated electrical auxiliary propulsion, the delivery of USNS Patuxent (T-ATF 201), USNS Rappahannock (T-ATF 204) and USNS Laramie (T-ATF 203) was delayed by the decision to fit double hulls to meet the requirements of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. This modification increased construction time from 32 to 42 months and reduced cargo capacity by 17 percent, although this can be restored in an emergency. All cargo and fuel tanks on Patuxent are separated from the main external shell of the ship by the double or inner hull. The extra hull provides significant protection against oil spill emergencies caused by grounding or other structural damage. Hull separation is 1.83 m at the sides and 1.98 m on the bottom.

USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187) has become part of the MSC Prepositioning Program at Diego Garcia, carrying aviation fuel. Thirteen of these underway replenishment oilers are currently operated by Military Sealift Command and provide underway replenishment of fuel to US Navy ships at sea and jet fuel for aircraft assigned to aircraft carriers.

Three Kaiser class fleet oilers were brought back into the MSC fleet in fiscal year 1999 to replace the capabilities of five USS oilers that were decommissioned. USNS John Ericsson was in Reduced Operating Status [ROS-30] and USNS Leroy Grumman was in ROS-90, both with small watch crews aboard. Although T-AO 189 John Lenthall was retired on 11 Nov 1996, the ship was placed back in service with the Military Sealift Command (MSC) Naval Fleet Auxuliary Force Homeport on 07 December 1998. USNS John Lenthall had been deactivated and placed in category "B" layup at the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility in Philadelphia without any crew aboard. Ericsson and Grumman were brought to full operational status within their respective 30- and 90-day limits. Lenthall required almost four months to reactivate and return to duty.

Fleet oilers USNS Benjamin Isherwood (T-AO-191) and Henry Eckford (T-AO-192) were both lay-berthed incomplete at Unit 7 of the Reserve Fleet moored near Fort Eustis. Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) originally awarded the construction contract for T-AO 191 and T-AO 192 to Pennsylvania Shipbuilding Company (PennShip), but the contract was terminated for default. NAVSEA awarded Tampa Shipyards Inc. (Tampa), a wholly owned subsidiary of the American Shipbuilding Company (AMSHIP), letter contract N00024-90-C-2300 on November 16, 1989, for the completion of T-AO 191 and T-AO 192. During performance of the contract, Tampa and NAVSEA had differing interpretations over responsibility for correction of defects or deficiencies for work performed by PennShip and concerning the amount of material necessary to complete the ships. Tampa experienced significant financial and performance problems which resulted in Tampa's failure to make progress to meet the T-AO 191 contract delivery date of May 29, 1992. The contract delivery dates for the two ships were extended to January 31, 1993, for T-AO 191 and September 30, 1993, for T-AO 192.

Mr. George M. Steinbrenner, the former Chairman of the Board of AMSHIP, the current chairman of the AMSHIP Executive Committee and principal stockholder of AMSHIP, commissioned a study by Paul Maglicocchetti Associates (PMA) of selected Tampa activities. The study by PMA on Tampa's behalf indicated that Tampa had failed to adequately staff and organize the company to perform new construction work despite representations made to the Navy prior to T-AO contract award. NAVSEA's analysis indicated that transferring the ships to another facility would not add unacceptable cost or schedule delays, and that Tampa's continued performance of the T-AO 191 and T-AO 192 contract was not essential to the national defense.

The crews of these ships consist primarily of Civilian Mariners, who work under industry-standard rules regarding hours of work and compensation. The Mariners draw "base pay " for a forty hour workweek (with a few exceptions), but outside normal working hours are entitled to overtime pay. In a nutshell, any evolution during normal working days, and between 0800 and 1700, incurs no overtime. Weekends and holidays incur overtime costs, as do evolutions between 1700 and 0800. The cost involved is in the neighborhood of $20/hour per Mariner involved in the evolution.



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