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MSC Delivers Second Minesweeper to Bahrain

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070228-01
Release Date: 2/28/2007 7:41:00 AM

By Sealift Logistics Command Central Public Affairs

MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- Heavy-lift ship M/V Condock III, chartered by Military Sealift Command (MSC), delivered mine countermeasures ship USS Scout (MCM 8) to Manama, Bahrain, Feb. 18 after a month-and-a-half journey, which began at Naval Station Ingleside, Texas.

Scout is the second minesweeper MSC has delivered to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in the past month. Condock IV delivered USS Gladiator (MCM 11) on Jan. 23. Scout and Gladiator are forward deployed to the U.S 5th Fleet in support of maritime security operations in the region.

Heavy-lift ships like Condock III and Condock IV transport outsized cargo like these 224-foot minesweepers using a process called “float-on, float-off.” During this process, the heavy-lift ship fills its ballast tanks and submerges its open air cargo deck so the cargo can literally float into position over the submerged deck. When the ship de-ballasts, the cargo is held in place on the deck by specially constructed supports.

When both Gladiator and Scout were delivered to the Port of Mina Salman in Bahrain, the heavy-lift ships reversed this process to off-load the minesweepers. While tied up alongside the pier, Condock IV and Condock III ballasted down and lowered their stern ramps. This allowed Gladiator and Scout to “float off,” the ships’ decks and tie up behind them at the pier. MSC fleet ocean tug USNS Catawba (T-ATF 168) also assisted in both operations. The tug used one of her tow lines to steady each minesweeper as it pulled away from the heavy lift ship that had transported it.

Using heavy-lift ships to move Gladiator and Scout halfway around the world prevents the wear and tear an open-ocean voyage would inflict on these small ships.

MSC operates the U.S. Navy’s fleet of more than 110 noncombatant, civilian-crewed ships that deliver combat equipment to troops, resupply Navy ships at sea, chart the ocean floor and perform a variety of other missions for the Department of Defense.

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