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NOLA-based Navy Ship Thanks Qatari VIPs for Katrina Contributions

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070403-22
Release Date: 4/3/2007 7:33:00 PM

From Sealift Logistics Command Central

DOHA, Qatar (NNS) -- U.S. Navy cargo ship USNS Cape Knox (T-AKR 5082) hosted a New Orleans-themed reception for Qatari government officials aboard ship in Doha, Qatar, on March 31.

The reception was held to thank the government of Qatar for their incredible generosity to the U.S. Gulf Coast in the aftermath of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. Qatar donated more than $100 million to various relief and rebuilding efforts to help the region recover after the devastating storm.

The Qatari government’s generosity holds special meaning for Cape Knox and her crew. The ship is homeported at Poland Street Wharf in New Orleans’ 9th Ward, the area of the city most severely affected by Hurricane Katrina.

The majority of Cape Knox’s 27-person civilian mariner crew also lives in the U.S. Gulf Coast region; a number of them lost their homes during the storm. Ten of Cape Knox’s current crew members were also aboard the ship in New Orleans when Katrina hit. After riding out the storm, Cape Knox housed relief workers cleaning up oil spills in the city’s port.

“The Gulf [coast] has endured hurricanes before, but never one of Katrina’s magnitude,” said Cape Knox’s master, Capt. Rick Jordan, who also noted that the reception was a very personal way for him to express his gratitude.

Jordan was born and raised in Mississippi and currently lives in New Orleans, where his home suffered storm damage. His mother’s Mississippi home was destroyed. She is currently living in a Federal Emergency Management Agency-funded trailer.

“In the past, we’ve relied on our neighbors to help us get back on our feet, but this storm knocked out our neighbors as well,” said Jordan during the event. “We are so grateful that new neighbors, the people of Qatar, stepped forward from thousands of miles away to help. The crew and I are humbled by your compassion.”

Khalid Al Jabor, manager of the Qatar Authority for Charitable Activities; Mohammad bin Al Athba, executive manager of the Qatar Charity Association and U.S. Ambassador to Qatar Chase Untermeyer were among the event’s attendees.

Capt. Glen R. Sears II, the commander of Sealift Logistics Command Central, the command which oversees the movement of noncombatant ships like Cape Knox carrying military cargo in the region, presented Al Jabor with a plaque on behalf of the U.S. Navy.

“We want to show you how much we appreciate Qatar’s help when our country most needed it,” said Sears.

Jordan and his crew also presented Al Jabor and Untermeyer with a collection of books about New Orleans and asked that they be distributed to schools and libraries in Qatar.

Cape Knox belongs to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration as a Ready Reserve Force (RRF) ship. RRF ships are kept pierside in reduced operating status until they are needed to support U.S. military operations, exercises or humanitarian relief efforts around the globe. When activated, RRF ships come under the operational control of the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command.

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

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