Monday, January 18, 2010

5 U.S. Merchant Marine ShipsTo SteamTo Haiti

The Gopher State 

The Gopher State

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced that the department’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) is sending five ships to assist with relief efforts in Haiti. Gopher State, Petersburg, Huakai, Cornhusker State and Cape May are being prepared to sail to the Caribbean Ocean from different parts of the United States. All are owned or controlled by MARAD, and will be crewed by civilian U.S. merchant mariners.

“Sending these ships will help those on the front line of this effort save as many lives in Haiti as possible,” LaHood said. “These ships will add crucial capabilities by supporting operations to move large volumes of people and cargo.”

The use of the ships to send supplies is significant. Acting Maritime Administrator David Matsuda says one cargo ship can carry as much as 400 fully loaded cargo planes.

M/V Huakai is a new high-speed ferry capable of speeds of nearly 40 knots in the open ocean. Petersburg, Cornhusker State, Cape May and Gopher State are part of MARAD’s Ready Reserve Force, which includes a total of 49 ships at ports around the country.

The Maritime Administration is unique in its worldwide capabilities, maintaining fleets and expertise in support of the U.S. military and emergency operations. Its mission is to promote the development of the American maritime industry including its workforce. The agency also operates the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York.

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