News and Media

MARAD to Recognize Crowley and North Florida Shipyards for $18 Million Vessel Conversion Friday

(Jacksonville, Fla.; Dec. 19, 2002) – Crowley Liner Services and North Florida Shipyards will be recognized Friday, Dec. 20, in Jacksonville by U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) officials for their contributions in the successful completion of the $18 million conversion of the Ready Reserve Force ship MV Cape Washington.

MARAD South Atlantic regional representatives, including Nuns Jain, director; Jeff McMahon, ship operations and maintenance officer; and Dave Jansohn, contracting officers technical Representative, are scheduled to present awards to Crowley Vice President and General Manager John Douglass and North Florida Shipyard’s President Matt Self in a luncheon ceremony at 12:30 p.m. at Crowley’s Jacksonville headquarters (9487 Regency Square Blvd.)

The ship conversion project, which involved expanding the total deck storage capacity for military cargo and hardware to 295,958 square feet, represented the culmination of several years of planning and work by MARAD, Crowley and North Florida Shipyards. The Cape Washington is the second ship to undergo this conversion at North Florida Shipyards. The MV Cape Wrath was completed in 2001 at a cost of approximately $15 million. Crowley Liner Services is the ship manager for both vessels plus six others in the MARAD program.

Created in 1976 during America’s bicentennial year, the Ready Reserve Force supports rapid, massive movement of military supplies in support of military and humanitarian operations. There are 76 ships in the force. Military equipment such as tanks, trucks, Humvees, and helicopters can be driven or towed onboard the Cape Washington and 30 similar ships. Other ships also have special capabilities valuable to the military, such as the ability to pump fuel to inland points up to four miles away, or to unload goods from its cargo holds and those of other ships without the help of equipment on shore. MARAD, which owns the ships, contracts with private ship operating companies to manage them, using seafaring union members as crew. When activated for military missions, the ships are under the operational control of the Navys Military Sealift Command (MSC).

During operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Ready Reserve Force vessels provided cargo carrying capacity for nearly 800,000 of the 3.2 million tons of cargo needed to support U.S. military forces.

The ultimate test of the Ready Reserve Force occurred when nearly 80 activated Ready Reserve Force ships helped us create a steel bridge to the Persian Gulf for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, said Rear Admiral David Brewer of the Military Sealift Command during the Ready Reserve Forces 25th anniversary last year. If you’d been in a high-flying airplane above the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, the Suez Canal, you’d have seen almost literally one ship every 50 miles between the United States and the Persian Gulf. The ships in that steel bridge carried 95 percent of the combat gear needed by our forces in that conflict.

North Florida Shipyards has more than 275 local employees and has been serving the Jacksonville marine community for 31 years. The company, which is a small business concern and independently owned by Joe Schiffart, contributes $30 million to $35 million annually to the Jacksonville economy.

Crowley Liner Services is a subsidiary of Oakland-based Crowley Maritime Corporation and is part of its liner segment. The corporation, founded in 1892, is primarily a family- and employee-owned company engaged in worldwide logistics, liner services, contract towing and transportation, energy support services, ship assist and escort services, vessel management and petroleum and chemical marine transport. Crowley contributes an estimated $200 million annually to the local Jacksonville economy. Additional information about Crowley, its subsidiaries and business units may be found on the Internet at www.crowley.com.

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