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Sea Transportation: USMC Leases A Big Ship
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July 23, 2009: The U.S. Marine Corps has leased a 53,000 ton (displacement) cargo ship, for $29,000 a day, to store munitions at an anchorage off Diego Garcia island in the Indian Ocean. The lease is for four years. Typical of this type of ship is the SS Fisher (T-AK 4396) is a 687 foot long container ship, that is manned by a crew of 24 civilian contractors. In the event of an emergency, the ship will be able to move to wherever the marines need the ammunition.

While the army and marines prefer to keep their pre-positioned equipment and munitions ships stationary off places like Diego Garcia, the U.S. Air Force has a different approach. Like the army and marines, the air force uses ships to preposition heavy equipment in regions where the gear may be needed in a military emergency. One of these ships is a 670 foot long, 41,000 ton (displacement) container ship carrying smart bombs and missiles. The MV Tech. Sgt. John A. Chapman can carry 1,063 20 foot shipping containers containing the weapons. Each of these 20x8x8 foot containers can carry up to 18 tons of cargo (but most carry much less.) The MV Chapman is a ro/ro (roll on/roll off) ship that has a 120 foot long ramp that enables trucks to haul off the containers. Many of the containers are stored in air conditioned spaces, to reduce the heat stress on the munitions. The Chapman has a crew of 19 and moves around the Pacific, so it can race to hot spots like Taiwan, South Korea or the Persian Gulf, as needed. The ship normally carries several thousand smart bombs and missiles, of various types and sizes. The air force pays over a million dollars a month to lease and operate the ship.

Next Article → SUBMARINES: Thirty Year Old SSG Refurbished

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VelocityVector       7/23/2009 2:17:00 PM
T-AK 4396 and not 4296 among other errata FWIW.  Different ships.
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kisscatman       7/23/2009 9:51:02 PM
Perhaps if the damned USAF would just tie the ship up at Guam, they might be able to save some money?
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scooterfan    Hiring flip messmen to write these days.   7/24/2009 1:53:02 AM
Not only were the details off, but the meat of the story (old and rotten as it is) doesn't even come close to the headline.  There are some ex pat ESL less than hetro philipeano guys writing for the newspapers on Saipan, who could do a better job than this.  If you who wrote this sorry piece of toilet paper are reading this, please fly to Boston Massachusetts, find a policeman call him a bad name and turn backside to while dropping your shorts.  At least some one will enjoy the experience.  Race off indeed.  I'd like to see the Major Bernard Fisher race anywhere and if you look up the SS Cape Jacob, you might find the USMC keeps their ammo close to the scene.  Dumb ass. 
  Could it be that my inattention to detail and fact checking has given mr mark a hairy eyeball condition.  Yup.
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leesea    This is article has many errors in it   7/25/2009 7:42:09 AM
Without all of scooterfan's invective, I would have to agree the article is full of errors and misses several major points, such as:
first off gents one does NOT lease ships, these are charters which are different.
next the Maj Bernard Fisher is a medium sized, non-self sustaining container ship
Next, shipe is crewed by merchant mariners not "contractors"
Well of course a ship can move, but wherever is another vague statement
Next ALL MSC's prepo ships are stationed aka prepositioned (look up the definition!) where they are needed to respond to operational plans.
Next the USAF does NOT prepo any heavy equipment.  The Army and Marines prepo tactical equipment and supplies needed for surge to specific areas.  AF cargo of its nature "cubes out" before it "weighs out". Nothing wrong in that as suggested by article.  The Chapman is a Con/Ro not a container ship
MOST prepositioned cargo has been stored in environmentally controlled cargo holds or containers since the middle 1980s!
Most prepo ships make about 18 kts, not what I would call "racing about"?
The Cape Jacob is primarily and temporarily in the prepo force as a MCDS small UNREP ship.
Not here is what the idiot author missed:
 #! this is the first time that the Marines have had their ammo in containers on a SEPARATE ship since the 1990s
#2 The Marines are using other prepos ships because their MPF-F is far too expensive and may be cut.
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xylene       8/11/2009 2:30:58 PM

Wow somebody was taken to the cleaners at those rates in a currently depressed shipping market in the midst of a world recession.

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