M/V Honor. Photo courtesy Crowley

Crowley Completes First Vessel Acquisition for MARAD’s Ready Reserve Force

Mike Schuler
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March 22, 2022

Jacksonville-based Crowley Maritime Corporation has completed its first vessel acquistion under its multi-year Vessel Acquisitions Management contract awarded last year by the U.S. Maritime Administration.

Crowley is spearheading the acquisition and conversion of the roll-on/roll-off vehicle carriers Freedom and Honor from American Roll-On Roll-Off Carrier Group in collaboration with Stena RoRo, Serco and LCE (Life Cycle Engineering).

The acquisition of the M/V Honor is now complete. With the forthcoming acquisition of the MV Freedom, the acquisitions are designed to help recapitalize the U.S. Ready Reserve Force by increasing ship reliability and reducing the overall age of the fleet, a crucial component in conducting U.S. Department of Defense sealifts. The force provides nearly 50 percent of government-owned surge sealift capability.

Freedom and Honor were built in 1997 and 1996, respectively.

Photo courtesy Crowley

Crowley manages vessel acquisitions and conversions under federal contract awarded by MARAD in 2021, valued at $638 million, that calls for more vessels to be brought into the fleet.

Crowley will oversee any modification and maintenance required to ensure the two vessels are fit for service in compliance with U.S. Coast Guard, American Bureau of Shipping and U.S. Department of Defense requirements. Following the completed purchase of Freedom and Honor, Crowley will maintain and operate the two vessels on behalf of MARAD.

“Crowley is proud to build on our legacy as a proven government partner with over 20 years of partnership with MARAD,” said Crowley’s, Miles Spratto, program manager for vessel acquisition. “The Freedom and Honor will help revitalize the Ready Reserve Force, a fleet critical to our national security. We look forward to continuing the momentum with additional opportunities to acquire, manage and operate vessels on behalf of MARAD and the U.S. government.”

For the acquisitions, Crowley is using a proprietary IT system, known as SHIPFAX, to perform data analysis of the lifecycle of vessels and their components in order to assess and make purchasing recommendations to MARAD.

The Ready Reserve Force (RRF) is a subset of vessels within MARAD’s National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF) that provide surge sealift capability to the Department of Defense. The fleet currently consists of 41 vessels, comprising 35 roll-on/roll off vessels,4 crane, and 2 aviation logisitics ships, according to MARAD’s website. The ships are owned, crewed, and maintained by MARAD, but come under control of Military Sealift Command once activated.

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