A.P. Moller – Maersk Group’s U.S. arm Maersk Line, Limited (MLL) last week celebrated the naming of its first ice-classed and fourth U.S. flag tanker, the Maersk Peary, in Norfolk, VA. The freshly painted and recently reflagged 591-foot ship will be used to support a long-term charter contract with Military Sealift Command (MSC).
Aptly named after Rear Admiral Robert E. Peary who famously reached the Geographic North Pole in 1909 and led various research missions to the Arctic, the vessel will be used to deliver fuel to support military operations and research at Thule Air Force Base, Greenland and McMurdo Station, Antarctica,
In July, MLL announced the long-term time charter from the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command. The charter will begin in November 2011 and consists of a one-year base with four options that could potentially extend the contract to 59 months and a total value of $71.5 million. Maersk Peary was reflagged into the U.S. registry on September 19, 2011, and American officers and crew will operate the ship.
“The name-giving is a great opportunity to honor our customers and partners; reflect on our company’s commitment to the U.S. flag maritime industry; and celebrate the strengthening of these partnerships,” said John F. Reinhart, President and CEO of Maersk Line, Limited, at the ceremony.
“We chose the name Admiral Peary because he was a Navy man, he was an explorer and he was somebody to be reckoned with,” added Reinhart. “By naming the ice-class tanker after Admiral Peary, we uphold his legacy as a model of courage, determination and integrity.“
Kevin M. Tokarski, Associate Administrator for National Security at the U.S. Maritime Administration, spoke at the ceremony about the vital role that companies like Maersk Line, Limited have in maintaining our national security. “The addition of the Maersk Peary is another example of excellence Maersk Line, Limited provides to the U.S. flag fleet,” said Mr. Tokarski. “Maersk Peary will add 45 jobs and expand the pool of ready and capable U.S. Merchant Mariners.”
Mr. Michael Sacco, President of the Seafarers International Union (SIU), praised Maersk Line, Limited for its continued investment in U.S. flag vessels and the U.S. Merchant Marine. “When the U.S. Military looks at such a ship, it sees capacity to sustain its forces around the world. When members of SIU see this beautiful ship, they see jobs and opportunity,” said Mr. Sacco. “It’s about my three favorite words – jobs, jobs, jobs!”
Maersk Peary embarked on its maiden voyage under the U.S. flag early Saturday morning, and she is expected to arrive at McMurdo Station in January 2012 and then Thule Air Force Base next summer.