MSC Logo
Press Release

MSC PAO 97-14
March 24, 1997
For more information, contact:
Marge Holtz or Nancy Breen
(202) 685-5055

MSC saves $20 million on ship charter contract

The U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command saved approximately $20 million for its Army customer by exploring alternative contracting methods when the Army needed two heavy lift ships for its prepositioning program.

Original Army requirements dictated the charter of two float-on/float-off vessels. However the field of competition for this specialized service is extremely narrow, which led to a prohibitively high price tag for the second vessel. Discussions with the Army resulted in MSC adding "lift-on/lift-off" to the category of ships that would be acceptable for the second procurement. The end result was a satisfied customer and a big money savings as well.

"It's great to be able to please your customer and save money for American taxpayers as well," said Vice Adm. Jim Perkins, USN, who took over the command of MSC on Feb. 14. "I applaud the MSC program team that worked on this procurement. These contracts are a good example of doing business smarter."

The contract award for the first heavy lift ship went to Cormorant Shipholding Corporation of Bethesda, Md.--$60.5 million for the 59-month charter of MV American Cormorant.

Van Ommeren Shipping (USA), Inc. of Stamford, Conn., received the second contract with an estimated value of $23.6 million for the charter of the MV Strong Virginian. The 24-month contract has two options--one for 24 months and a second option for 11 months.

American Cormorant is a semisubmersible, float-on/float-off ship, which means that through the use of ballast tanks it partially submerges itself in order to load and discharge smaller vessels. The ship will be used as a floating warehouse for mechanized landing craft, a floating crane, a fuel barge, mobile cranes, forklifts, tugs and water purification units.

Strong Virginian is a lift-on/lift-off, multipurpose vessel that requires no shore-side assistance for cargo operations because of its 600-ton capacity cargo boom that allows it to lift extraordinarily heavy cargos. The ship will carry small vessels such as utility landing craft and mechanized landing craft to be used at ports during contingencies.

Both ships will be prepositioned in the Indian Ocean at the island of Diego Garcia.

MSC's prepositioning program began in the early 1980s. Its object was to provide fully loaded vessels ready to sail at a moment's notice in the event of a contingency. All of the armed services--Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines--have cargo prepositioned on vessels maintained by MSC. MSC's current afloat prepositioning force consists of 36 ships.