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Military Sealift Command Chartered Ship Carries Navy Ship to Bahrain

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS061208-15
Release Date: 12/8/2006 12:08:00 PM

By Laura M. Seal, Military Sealift Command Public Affairs

INGLESIDE, Texas (NNS) -- USS Gladiator (MCM 11) departed from Naval Station Ingleside Dec. 7 after being loaded aboard Military Sealift Command (MSC)-chartered heavy lift ship Condock V (6763/84).

MSC chartered the ship in September after receiving a request to transport Gladiator from Texas to Bahrain. Moving the mine countermeasures ship in this manner prevents the wear and tear of an open-ocean voyage.

The 1,300-ton Gladiator was loaded onto Condock V Dec. 4, in a process called “float-on,” which is used for cargo too large to lift by crane.

Condock V filled its ballast tanks, submerging its open-air cargo deck under about 32 feet of water. The 224-foot Gladiator then was maneuvered into position over Condock V’s deck with the help of pusher boats and lines. With Gladiator correctly positioned, Condock V pumped water from the ballast tanks, raising the submerged deck as Gladiator settled onto specially constructed supports. The process took about 12 hours.

“This move presented a unique challenge because it was a really tight fit. We only had about five feet of space between the Gladiator and the side walls of Condock V,” said Tom Walters, heavy lift expert for MSC.

As the contracting agent, MSC coordinated the engineering effort with Naval Sea Systems Command and Condock. An independent marine surveyor was also on hand.

This is the seventh float-on/float-off move orchestrated by Military Sealift Command for the U.S. Navy since 2000. The most well-known of these moves was the transport of guided missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG 67) from Yemen to Pascagoula, Miss., following a terrorist attack in 2000 that ripped a 40-by-40-foot hole in the ship.

Gladiator will replace one of two coastal mine hunters being decommissioned and sold to Egypt. A second mine countermeasures ship will be transferred via heavy-lift on another Condock ship later this year.

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