(Jacksonville, Fla.; Aug. 1, 2005) – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) announced last week that it has awarded contracts to Crowley Liner Services of Jacksonville, Fla., and Marine Transport Lines of Secaucus, N.J., to manage 11 and six Ready Reserve Force (RRF) ships respectively. Both companies are independent subsidiaries of Crowley Maritime Corporation.
In total, MARAD has an all-cargo fleet of 54 RRF ships maintained by nine American owned and operated ship management firms.
“We have seen firsthand that the Ready Reserve Force provides a vital link to the men and women of the armed services by carrying thousands of military vehicles, aircraft and other materiel to support operations in Afghanistan and Iraq,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta. “This is an extremely cost-effective and well-run program that keeps us prepared to rapidly respond to the military’s needs.”
“We’ve been honored to manage ships for MARAD for the past several years,” said Tom Crowley, Jr., chairman, president and CEO. “I think these newly awarded contracts reflect the fact that our people have done an excellent job crewing, maintaining and operating these ships safely for the administration. Our labor unions, which include the Seafarers International Union, American Maritime Officers and the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association are also to be commended for their good work and efforts to make this a successful operation. We look forward to providing many more years of exemplary service.”
The RRF ships are kept in a high state of readiness at 15 ports located on the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf coasts of the United States. Some ships also are kept in a pre-positioned status overseas. Crowley-managed vessels have home ports in Baltimore, Houston, Tacoma, Long Beach, San Diego and South Carolina.
Most of the new ship management contracts are built on a four-year base period and include two three-year extension options that will be based on the company’s performance. Crowley and other management firms are responsible for keeping the ships in a constant state of readiness and getting the ships fully crewed with U.S-citizen merchant mariners when an activation call goes out.
“The Ready Reserve Force has moved an extraordinary amount of cargo over the past several years and our nations maritime industry has kept this fleet in good working order and worked diligently to show its value,” said Acting Maritime Administrator John Jamian.
The Ready Reserve Force was established in 1976 and was significantly strengthened after the Gulf War in 1991 in order to ensure the military’s continued access to cargo capacity. Many of the ships have unique capabilities and have been used for humanitarian missions such as carrying aid to Haiti and participating in the December 2004 tsunami relief efforts.
Oakland-based Crowley Maritime Corporation, founded in 1892, is primarily a family and employee-owned company that provides diversified transportation and logistics services in domestic and international markets by means of four operating lines of business: Liner Shipping Services; Ship Assist and Escort Services; Oil and Chemical Distribution and Transportation Services; and Energy and Marine Services. Other services provided within these business lines include logistics, contract towing and transportation, energy support services, salvage and emergency response, vessel management and petroleum distribution and sales in Alaska. Additional information about Crowley its subsidiaries and business units may be found on the Internet at www.crowley.com.
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