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Cape F - LASH

There are two types of LASH ships. The first design is the C8, and the later is the C9, equipped with a larger lighter capacity. Several configurations of each type are in operation, depending on their trade routes.

On 12 June 1998 US Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater announced the award of a total of 39 performance-based contracts to 10 American ship-owning and -operating companies to manage 89 ships of the Ready Reserve Force. The total estimated value for the contracts included the expected costs of shipyard work and other maintenance and operational expenses for which the ship managers are reimbursed. V Ships Marine, Limited of Mineola, NY was awarded $3,722,850.00 over 5 years for Cape Florida, Cape Flattery and Cape Farewell. Interocean Ugland Management Corp. of Voorhees, NJ was awarded $6,257,735 over 5 years for Cape Fear and Cape Mohican.

Following this announcement of contracts to manage RRF ships in 1998, MARAD independently discovered an error in the award process, and rescinded the contracts. It extended existing contracts to make sure the ships remained mission ready. On 04 May 2000 Maritime Administrator Clyde J. Hart Jr. announced the award of 33 contracts, awarded on a competitive basis, to nine American ship owning and operating companies to manage 74 of the Ready Reserve Force ships. Interocean Ugland Management Corp. of Voorhees, NJ was awarded $6,809,145 for Cape Fear and Cape Mohican. Pacific Gulf Marine, Inc. of Gretna, LA was awarded $3,268,500 for Cape Farewell, Cape Florida and Cape Flattery.

The Lighter Aboard Ship (LASH) LASH is a single-decked vessel with large hatches, wing tank arrangements, and a clear access to the stern. The LASH has a gantry crane with a cargo handling capacity of approximately 450 LT. The function of this crane is to convey barges or lighterage from the stowed location aboard the ship to the stern region and to lower the barges or lighterage into the water. Some LASH ships are equipped with container gantry cranes for the handling of the onboard complement of containers. Different classes of LASH ships have capacities ranging from 64 to 89 barges or a mixture of LASH barges and military lighterage.

The Lighter Aboard Ship (LASH) transportation systems operate similar to a containership. In these systems, cargo is stowed in unitized lighters. The lighters are then stowed aboard a mother ship. One major difference between containerships and barge carriers is the amount of cargo that lighters can handle. LASH lighters have cubic capacities of 20,000 ft3 (15 080 m3). The LASH system uses a gantry crane to load its lighters.

The LASH system consists of a fleet of lighters and a lighter-carrying vessel or mother ship capable of transporting 46 to 89 lighters. The lighters are handled by a 446-LTON (999,040 lb, 404 605 kg), rail-mounted, gantry crane, which can travel the entire length of the cargo area. During a typical loading cycle, lighters are lifted over the transom stern by the gantry crane. The gantry crane then travels forward, stacking the lighters in deep hold cells, athwartship.

The interior of the lighter is fitted with two levels of tiedowns. The first level consists of five tiedowns per side and four per end and are located 2 feet 6 inches (.76 m) above the deck. The second level has the same number of tiedowns as the first level, located 8 feet (2.44 m) above the deck. Each LASH lighter has a 370 LTON (828,800 lb, 370 000 kg) capacity.

The exercise Joint Logistics-Over-The-Shore 2005, or JLOTS 2005, tested a ship-to-shore cargo-moving process used by the U.S. military when port facilities are either too damaged or non-existent to permit off-loading pierside. Two civilian-crewed ships, cargo ship SS Cape Flattery and crane ship SS Keystone State, participated in the exercise. These ships are a part of the U.S. Maritime Administration's 58-ship Ready Reserve Force and are usually kept pierside in reduced operating status.

To begin, the 669-foot Keystone State and the 893-foot Cape Flattery moored 1,000 yards from shore and loaded 840 containers onto lighterage - small barges that transfer cargo to shore. Next, the floating lighterage pulled alongside Keystone State to be loaded with the containers. Once the lighterage were full, the barges transited to shore for off-loading. Meanwhile, a third ship, sea barge heavy lift ship SS Cape Mohican, delivered equipment for building the exercise's base camp.

This type of logistics exercise provides a great opportunity for Sailors and Soldiers to familiarize themselves with these ships and their equipment in a real-world scenario. JLOTS continues to improve the skills of the servicemen and women so that when they are called upon to deliver much needed supplies to an area - whether for war or humanitarian assistance - they will be ready.

During JLOTS 2005, containers were off-loaded from Cape Flattery with the assistance of Keystone State onto the waiting lighterage. Cape Flattery used her on board gantry crane to move cargo, while members of the Navy Cargo Handling Battalions 1 and 11 off-loaded the containers using Keystone State's three on board twin-pedestal cranes. The containers, simulating humanitarian relief supplies, were lifted from the deck of Cape Flattery and across the deck of Keystone State, before finally being placed on the lighterage.

The Patriot-operated Cape Florida in Orange, TX rode out Hurricane Katrina August 2005 and were valiant in their successful efforts to keep the ship from the wrath of Rita. Three tugs helped keep the vessel close to the dock as the destructive weather provided some tense moments. The Patriot-managed vessels Cape Farewell in Beaumont and Cape Flattery in Orange, TX also experienced some harrowing moments but survived the storm.

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