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T-AK 2050 Green Wave

The MV Green Wave is a multipurpose vessel used to supply areas of Greenland and Antarctica for the Navy and the Air Force. The vessel was also used to transport other special military cargo, including ammunition. The MV "Green Wave" is a 16,000-ton cargo vessel. This ship is little, but it has wide open hatches. Green Wave is very basic and nothing fancy, but it gets the job done. Because of the Green Wave's versatility and cost effectiveness, MSC uses us for many fascinating missions - pole to pole and around the world. Green Wave was the first commercial ship to visit Antarctica, and the first U.S.-flagged commercial vessel to visit Cambodia in 35 years.

The T-AK 2050 Green Wave is entirely unrelated to the T-AK 2049 Green Valley and the T-AK 2064 Green Harbour, despite the superficial similarity in names and numbering. In September 1984 the "MS Woermann Mira" was moved to a dry dock at Jacksonville, Florida, having been sold to the US Navy and renamed T-AK 2050 Green Wave. The MV Green Wave is one of more than 20 Military Sealift Command ships in the Common User Sealift Program (PM5).

The Military Sealift Command resupply mission, Operation Pacer Goose, occurs annually and benefits more than 1,100 military and civilians employed at Thule Air Base, a U.S. Coast Guard station and neighboring weather stations. In 1997 MSC-chartered freighter MV Green Wave off-loaded approximately 32,000 square-feet of dry cargo, and the tanker MV Richard G. Matthiesen discharged its cargo of more than 25,000 tons of petroleum products. The supplies and fuel provided by MSC ships will help sustain the residents of Thule throughout the long, dark winter months. To enable MSC ships to navigate the icy waters of the Arctic region during Operation Pacer Goose, Canadian coast guard icebreaker ships first cut a channel through the ice immediately prior to their arrival. The ice can be anywhere from 8-to-10-feet thick and the channel about 10-to-20-miles long.

Each January, for more than 30 years, MSC ships have carried eagerly awaited and much needed cargo to National Science Foundation researchers working at McMurdo Station. The MV "Green Wave" has for many years acted as the main US Operation Deep Freeze logistics and supply vessel. Most seasons she carries cargo from the USA to McMurdo Sound via Lyttelton completing one round trip and sometimes a second trip from Lyttelton south. Green Wave, which has a specially strengthened hull to withstand damage from floating ice, loads cargo in Port Hueneme, CA, in early January and arrives at McMurdo Station in early February. Green Wave transports approximately 10 million pounds of cargo about 1,150 individual pieces of cargo and 506 containers. Green Wave returns to Port Hueneme with a year's worth of domestic and hazardous waste and recycled material so as to not pollute the Antarctic.

In February 1998 when returning from McMurdo Sound, the "Green Wave" had a engine mishap just as she was clear of the pack ice. Specifically, the No. 2 piston broke, causing the entire engine to fail. The ship's Captain, Peter Stalkus, ordered Chief Engineer Neville Motts to repair the engine. Motts, assisted by the second and third assistant engineers, attempted to repair the No. 2 piston. The three engineers removed the 3000-pound cylinder head and laid it on its headstand. Before they had a chance to secure the cylinder head to the headstand, the ship experienced an unforeseeable, dramatic roll. This roll caused the cylinder head to slide off its headstand, knocking Motts down and pinning him against a platform rail. Motts suffered a badly crushed pelvis and hip as a result. Motts's treating physician, who has performed over 2,000 hip surgeries, testified that Motts's was one of the most severe injuries he had ever treated.

Subsequent efforts to repair the engine failed. For the next two days, the Green Wave drifted on the high seas while the crew labored unsuccessfully to repair the vessel's engine. The Green Wave requested and received prompt assistance from the Polar Star, a Coast Guard cutter. The Polar Star began towing the Green Wave toward Christchurch, New Zealand. The icebreaker towed the cargo vessel from south of the Antarctic circle, across the Southern Pacific Ocean, to Port Lyttelton, New Zealand, which was more than 1,500 nautical miles away.

In July 1998 Central Gulf Lines, Inc., New Orleans, La., was awarded a $32,737,209 time charter contract for the charter of the MV Green Wave. Work will be performed in waters off Greenland and Antarctica. The contract was expected to be completed January 2000. This contract was competitively procured with 250 proposals solicited and seven offers received. The U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

In early 2001 MV Green Wave berthed at the Navy's Cheatham Annex near Williamsburg, Va., to download a cargo of nearly 400 containers holding one complete 500-bed fleet hospital. In addition to the merchant mariner and MSC support provided to the Navy's Fleet Hospital Program, the evolution brought together the U.S. Naval Reserve's Cargo Handling Battalion 12 from Bessemer, Ala., to perform the actual off-load of the vessel and Cheatham Annex, which provided the port and berthing space. This particular mission dealt with the return of a portable hospital that was prepositioned in Guam prior to its routine scheduled overhaul at the Fleet Hospital Support Center located at Cheatham Annex.

In September 2002 Military Sealift Command awarded a $12,339,300, 17-month, firm-fixed-price contract to American Automar, Inc. of Bethesda, Md., for the time charter of MV Kariba, a 521 foot-long ice-classed cargo ship. The contract would total $36 million should the two additional 17-month options be exercised. The ship will be used primarily to support Operation Deep Freeze, the annual resupply of McMurdo Base in Antarctica, and Operation Pacer Goose, the annual resupply of Thule Air Force Base in Greenland. In the interim between missions, the ship will also move ammunition, general cargo and fleet hospitals. MSC-chartered operations are scheduled to begin in December 2002, when the ship reports to Port Hueneme, Calif. MV Kariba, formerly under a Liberian flag, will be renamed and reflagged as a U.S. ship before reporting to MSC. The ship will replace MV Green Wave, which has been under charter by MSC since 1984.



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