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Sea Transportation: New Class of Military Tankers
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July 14, 2007: The U.S. Department of Defense is replacing four T-5 tankers (each with a capacity of about 10 million gallons) with two new tankers, each carrying about 14 million gallons. The two new ships are being built in the United States, as mandated by law, but are using a ship design provided by a South Korean firm. Over the last two decades, South Korea has become the dominant builder of tankers on the planet. The T-5 tankers, built in the 1980s, are reaching the next of their useful lives in the next few years. The new tankers will be delivered in 2010 and 2011, and will be used, in addition to civilian tankers, to deliver petroleum products to U.S. armed forces worldwide. Like the T-5 class tankers, the new ones will be leased, not owned, by the U.S. government. This has been the police for over half a century, and the last government owned tanker was retired in 1985, about the time the current T-5s were built, and chartered. In 2003, the U.S. government bought four the T-5s (the other was sold to another commercial firm). The current T-5s are based on a design created in the 1950s, but much updated since then. The T-5, in turn, was developed from the T-2 design of World War II.


This small fleet of tankers is augmented by foreign owned tankers in time of war. During the Vietnam war, there were as many as a hundred tankers supplying fuel for all the services overseas, but particularly in Vietnam.  The T-2s, and the new class of tankers, are built to move through icy waters, so that they can supply bases in Greenland and Antarctica, with fuel.  The new ships will each cost about $4 million a month to charter.  Each new tanker costs about $112 million to build, and the charter fee includes maintenance and crew expenses.


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xylene       7/16/2007 6:36:05 PM

I think the T-5's are very well designed ships. I don't think they resemble a T-2 very much though. I think the T-5's were ahead of their time with independent deep-well pumps for each cargo tank. It is the norm on chemical tankers , but was very rare for a product tanker in the 1980's. Unless they have went through major upgrade most T-5's did not have fully computer controlled valves and cargo control room. I remember back in 1995 having to go up and down the decks with MMC and manually calculate rates basis temperatures, ullage, and strapping tables. Hopefully the new ships will have fully computerized CCR with computer controlled valves and fixed butterworthing system.

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leerw    T-5 Sealift Tankers   9/16/2007 9:47:57 PM
The original posting leads readers to believe some incorrect information.  T-5 is not a class of tanker, its a size (using a MARAD standard scale).  MSC designates these ships as AOT - Auxiliary Oiler Transport to indicate their primary role is the sealift of POL products to DOD installations around the world with a secondary capabilit of pumping oil to some other auxiliaries.   These T-5s (as were the last one)  are acquired under bareboat charters by MSC.    The ships can be purchased at the end of the charter as indicated, but MSC does not buy the ships outright.

The most recent MSC contract is merely one to replace the last T-5s.   It is an interesting charter in that it is a build and charter arrangement which MSC has used in the past quite successfully.  

These modern tankers are indeed not like the wartime designed and built T-2s.  They are up to current shipbuilding standards and conform to international safety codes

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