Cape M Class - SEABEE
The Sea Barge (SEABEE) can carry the aircraft of Army units without extensive sectionalization. The 200- by 100-foot (61- by 30.5-m) deck area between the deckhouse and smokestacks provides a suitable landing area for fly-on/fly-off operations. The SEABEE barges are stored horizontally on 3 decks, 12 each on the main and lower decks and 14 on the upper deck. One hundred and sixty containers can be carried on 10 of the 14 barges on the upper deck. Barges are loaded aboard the SEABEE ship by a 2,000-ton-capacity submersible stern elevator. Under ideal conditions the SEABEE ship can load or discharge its load in 13 hours.
The dimensions and pertinent characteristics of the SEABEE ship areas follows: Length 874 ft (267 m) Width 106 ft (32 m) Deadweight (max) 38,410 LTON (34 000 MTON) Speed 21.7 knots Dry cargo 44,350 MTON Barge capacity 38 barges.
The watertight, double-hulled SEABEE barge is the same width and one-half the length of the standard US commercial river barge. It is slightly larger, but has approximately twice the cargo-carrying capacity of the LASH lighter. The barges are readily accessible during the voyage by catwalk in the ship and by manhole hatches in the barges. Each barge is fitted for smoke monitoring and has water fire-extinguishing systems. Forced draft ventilation while underway is also provided. The SEABEE barge, with the seven hatch covers installed, has a draft of just less than 2 feet (.6 m). The shallow draft allows the barge to be drawn very close to an unprepared river bank. No deck winches are installed on the SEABEE barge. However, sufficient cleats are available for securing the barge. The mooring lines must be kept taut at all times to prevent drift caused by tidal action or strong river currents. As the barge is loaded, the shoreside edge of the hull will settle firmly its full length on the river bank. The settling will add stability to the barge and aid in loading. Should high and low tidal conditions be expected along coastlines it will be necessary to prevent the barge from settling on shore. The loaded lighter can be moved off the river bank easily by crane or by a small harbor tug.
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 Interocean Ugland Management Corp. of Voorhees, NJ was awarded $6,257,735 over 5 years for Cape Mendocino and Cape May. Interocean Ugland Management Corp. was also 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 Mendocino and Cape May. Interocean Ugland Management was also awarded $6,809,145 for Cape Fear and Cape Mohican.
The SEABARGE (SEABEE) is arranged much differently from the LASH in that it has three decks on which the cargo barges or container flats are stowed. Barges are brought to each deck level by a stern elevator and are moved internally within the ship by the Transporter (conveyor) System. Two barges can be loaded or discharged in a cycle of about 40 minutes. SEABEE barge ships can carry up to 38 sea barges (97'6" long x 35' wide x 16'11" high). The elevator capacity is 2,000 LT. The SEABEE ship is the preferred ship to transport landing craft, utility, and lighter, amphibious resupply, cargo 60 ton. The military advantages of barge carriers include their suitability to carry either unit equipment, sustaining supplies, or ammunition; the ability to carry amphibious lighterage; and the capability to preload the barges before ship arrival and to discharge cargo from the barges at relatively austere port facilities, after the ship has sailed. Their military disadvantages include a complete dependence on a single, very complicated mechanical system for barge discharge; the barge's dependence, once afloat, upon the availability of towage; and the overall unsuitability of the barges for towing outside harbors or other protected waters.
The Sea Barge (SEABEE) transportation systems operate similar to a containership. In these systems, cargo is stowed in unitized barges. The barges are then stowed aboard a barge carrier. One major difference between containerships and barge carriers is the amount of cargo that lighters or barges can handle. SEABEE barges have cubic capacities of 40,000 ft3 (30 160 m3). The SEABEE system has an elevator to load its barges.
The SEABEE system operates similarly to the LASH system. Barge stowage is configured for deck loading. Barges are stowed and discharged by a stern-mounted, submersible 2,400-LTON (5,376,000 lb, 2 400 000 kg) ship's elevator. Barges are transferred from the elevator platform on one of the three decks for stowage by two large transporters. Each SEABEE carrier has a capacity of 38 barges; however, only 24 barges are currently available per vessel. In addition, the SEABEE ship can carry logistics-over-the-shore lighterage on its weather deck.
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