Empire State crew visits Underway Replenishment test site for training

Personnel from Naval Surface Warfare Center Port Hueneme Division’s (NSWC PHD) Underway Replenishment (UNREP) test site welcomed the crew of MT Empire State for training, Dec. 19.

“We’re giving them step-by-step training on everything they need to know to properly complete an UNREP,” said Chief Petty Officer Brandon Orr. “It will benefit them because it’s hands-on, it’s trial by error, we can slow down or stop if needed and give them in-depth insight on every facet of this evolution and the crew will be able to pass on this knowledge.”

During the training, the crew learned how to successfully attach a Robb Coupling assembly for fuel lines, practiced hands-on rigging and identified safety hazards and emergency procedures.

“The benefit is the crew gets a little more experience doing UNREPs and we’re able to complete the operation a little faster and keep everyone safe and trained up,” said the ship’s Master, Henry Wallace. “It makes us better and safer during the whole operation.”

“I think that it’s great to get the ship in here for training any opportunity that we can,” said Military Sealift Command Action Officer Marissa Strawbridge.

The Empire State, owned and operated by Crowley Maritime Corporation, is a long-term MSC charter tanker that services the fleet by providing refined petroleum products and delivery to Department of Defense storage and distribution facilities worldwide. The ship has a cargo-carrying capacity of 320,000 barrels.

Tankers such as the Empire State offer necessary sustainment capabilities at sea.

“It gives the fleet options on refueling their capacity for the warfighter,” said MSC Program Analyst and Contracting Officer, Johnny Horton. Horton facilitates the procurement of Defense Logistics Agency fuels for the ship.

NSWC PHD recently hosted a centennial celebration of UNREP in May 2017. The process of UNREP dates back to 1917 when the nation was in the midst of World War I and hardier fuel replenishment methods were needed to ensure the Navy’s destroyers could survive longer passages. Now, UNREP systems are installed aboard every surface ship in the Navy.

UNREP involves the transfer of all consumables from supply ships to customer ships while both are underway. Items such as fuel, food, ammunition, repair parts, and personnel are routinely transferred at sea. NSWC PHD’s responsibility is to ensure the Navy’s UNREP systems work when needed and performs as planned.

As the Navy’s only fully equipped and operational UNREP test site, NSWC PHD has provided UNREP engineering services to the fleet since 1963. The NSWC PHD team of experts are the fleet’s full-service UNREP and In-Service Engineering Agents, maintaining crucial capabilities that permit the U.S. Navy to remain at sea for as long as necessary.

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