T-AKX Prepositioning Ship Delivered By Bethlehem's Sparrows Point Yard
Bethlehem Steel Corporation's Sparrows Point shipyard near Baltimore recently christened and delivered its second reconstructed maritime prepositioning ship. The RO/ R0 vessel was named the Pfc. James Anderson Jr. in honor of the Vietnam war hero who was a posthumous recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Sponsor of the vessel was Mary Frances Anderson of Carson, Calif., the sister of Pfc. Anderson. Shipyard general manager David Watson officiated at the christening ceremony, and was joined in recognizing Pfc. Anderson, the first black U.S. marine to receive the nation's highest medal, by Lt. Gen. William R. Maloney, who was representing the Marine Corps and its commandant, Gen. Paul X.
Kelley. Gen. Maloney was introduced by Commo. Richard F.
Donnelly, vice commander of the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command. The ship now carrying this marine hero's name, along with four other Maersk RO/RO vessels, was selected in 1982 to be reconstructed by Bethlehem Steel because, with the redesign, she would be wellsuited to the prepositioning ship mission.
The Pfc. Anderson will provide the capability for quick reaction by Marine Corps troops at trouble spots anywhere in the world. The ship will be used for the mobile, long-term storage of vehicles, weapons, ammunition, fuel, and other material to resupply a Marine Amphibious Brigade.
To meet these mission requirements, Bethlehem separated the vessel amidship and added a 157- foot midsection, extending her length to 755 feet. Her depth was changed with the addition of two deck levels, increasing the deck-tokeel depth from 54 to almost 70 feet. This required the alteration of three decks— first, main, and upper. These expansions provided more cargo hold, space for a third set of twin 36-ton cranes, and an additional 80-person deckhouse for "surge" crews during periodic loading and unloading. The normal crew complement will be about 65, composed of civilian and Military Sealift Command personnel.
Other major additions included new ramps, fuel tanks, repair shops, and a helicopter landing platform aft. Bethlehem was able to gain production speed by pre-outfitting many of the new modular units with piping, cable ways, and machinery before lifting them into place aboard the ship.
Reconstruction statistics, with the new 755-foot length and 69-foot 10^-inch depth, include a displacement of 28,249 long tons and a 32- foot 10'4-inch full-load draft. Diesel engine power will provide a speed of 17.2 knots at 80 percent of rated horsepower output. The ship's range is 10,800 nautical miles. Onboard capacities are 120,000 square feet for vehicles, provisions for 313 ammunition and refrigerated cargo containers, 1.3 gallons of drummed and bulk petroleum products, 84,933 gallons of potable water, and 615,083 gallons of fuel. The first prepositioning ship, Cpl. Louis J. Hauge Jr., was delivered by the Sparrows Point yard in the summer of 1984. In addition to the Anderson, one more ship will be delivered by the Baltimore yard in the fall of this year.
Another Maersk sister ship was delivered, and one more is scheduled to be delivered, from Bethlehem's Beaumont, Texas, shipyard.
In total, the five-ship military reconstruction effort represents a contract of more than $600 million to Bethlehem.
The reconstruction of the three ships at Sparrows Point created a demand for more than 19,200 tons of steel plate from Bethlehem's adjacent rolling mills.
Maersk Line, Limited of New York will operate the ships for the Military Sealift Command.