Sea Transportation: July 24, 2001


The US Marines have chartered the Australian high-speed ferry Westpac Express to carry troops from Okinawa to training areas in Japan or Korea. Currently, when a Marine battalion is sent to such training, it takes 18 days of ferrying them by aircraft (each way). The Westpac Express can carry an entire 950-man battalion in a single lift and make the transit to Japan in 24 hours (only 18 hours to Korea). This will save a lot of time and money. Due to Japanese sensibilities, the ship will retain its jaunty blue-and-white commercial paint job.--Stephen V Cole


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