SEABEE Heavy Lift Barge Carrier – Interesting Ship of The Week

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 211
August 27, 2008

A Logistical Amphibious Recovery Craft (LARC) hovercraftassigned to Beachmaster Unit One (BMU-1) launches from the Military Sealift Command (MSC) sea barge heavy lift ship SS Cape Mohican (T-AKR 5065) for the Joint Logistics Over the Shore (JLOTS) exercise. JLOTS is a joint training exercise focused on providing humanitarian relief or tactical support in an area without port facilities. U.S. Navy photo by Andrew Breese, US Navy

The Sea Barge (SEABEE) can carry the aircraft of Army units without extensive sectionalization. The 200- by 100-foot (61- by 30.5-m) deck area between the deckhouse and smokestacks provides a suitable landing area for fly-on/fly-off operations. The SEABEE barges are stored horizontally on 3 decks, 12 each on the main and lower decks and 14 on the upper deck. One hundred and sixty containers can be carried on 10 of the 14 barges on the upper deck. Barges are loaded aboard the SEABEE ship by a 2,000-ton-capacity submersible stern elevator. Under ideal conditions the SEABEE ship can load or discharge its load in 13 hours.

The dimensions and pertinent characteristics of the SEABEE ship areas follows: Length 874 ft (267 m) Width 106 ft (32 m) Deadweight (max) 38,410 LTON (34 000 MTON) Speed 21.7 knots Dry cargo 44,350 MTON Barge capacity 38 barges.

The watertight, double-hulled SEABEE barge is the same width and one-half the length of the standard US commercial river barge. It is slightly larger, but has approximately twice the cargo-carrying capacity of the LASH lighter. The barges are readily accessible during the voyage by catwalk in the ship and by manhole hatches in the barges. Each barge is fitted for smoke monitoring and has water fire-extinguishing systems. Forced draft ventilation while underway is also provided. The SEABEE barge, with the seven hatch covers installed, has a draft of just less than 2 feet (.6 m). The shallow draft allows the barge to be drawn very close to an unprepared river bank. No deck winches are installed on the SEABEE barge. However, sufficient cleats are available for securing the barge. The mooring lines must be kept taut at all times to prevent drift caused by tidal action or strong river currents. As the barge is loaded, the shoreside edge of the hull will settle firmly its full length on the river bank. The settling will add stability to the barge and aid in loading. Should high and low tidal conditions be expected along coastlines it will be necessary to prevent the barge from settling on shore. The loaded lighter can be moved off the river bank easily by crane or by a small harbor tug. (source:

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