Military Sealift Command ships USNS Carl Brashear (T-AKE 7) and USNS Bob Hope (T-AKR 300) conducted an inport, ship-to-ship transfer operations at Naval Station Everett, Wash., yesterday, in preparation for the upcoming summertime maritime exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) in Hawaii.
Due to limited pier space at the shipyard, and with a timeline for RIMPAC support, the decision was made to conduct the inport ship-to-ship operation, something not as widely done by MSC ships as transfers-at-sea, such underway replenishments conducted by duty oilers several times a week.
Brashear, who had been participating in operations at the Manchester Naval Fuel Depot, transited to Naval Station Everett the day before the load on May 14, and moored alongside, on the outboard side, of Bob Hope.
According to Capt. Michael Grogan, Brashear’s civil service master, mooring a ship like Brashear next to a ship like Bob Hope isn’t the easiest of operations. Due to the size difference between the ships; Brashear at 689 feet and Bob Hope at 951 feet; and the close proximity of the Naval Station pier area, maneuvering into position was the most challenging part of the mission for Brashear’s crew.
“Going outboard to Bob Hope is really the challenge for this operation,” explained Grogan. “It is really tight at Everett and maneuvering around Bob Hope is tricky. It takes a lot of attention to detail and good seamanship to bring the ships alongside each other. It’s challenging, but it is also a good exercise for the crew. It keeps everyone thinking.”
Once alongside Bob Hope and within feet of each other, cargo operations proceeded on May 16. Using Bob Hope’s deck crane, six truckloads of Air Force equipment, including generators, were transferred from the pier, across Bob Hope’s deck and loaded onto Brashear.
“This wouldn’t normally be the way we would do this kind of a loadout,” said Grogan. “With the timeline for RIMPAC and the traffic at the piers in Everett, this was really the only way for us to get this equipment onboard and over to Hawaii in time for RIMPAC.”
Following operations in the Pacific Northwest, Brashear will transit to Hawaii where it will deliver the Air Force cargo. Once in Hawaii, the ship will remain in the area, supporting MSC’s Mid-Pacific missions and participating in RIMPAC.