USNS Yukon CONSOL Replenishment with MT Empire State in SOCAL OPAREA

April 30, 2020 – Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Yukon (T-AO 202) conducted a consolidated cargo replenishment (CONSOL) at sea with the MSC long-term chartered motor tanker ship Empire State (T-AOT 5193) off the coast of Southern California April 25-26. The CONSOL was part of MSC’s response to operating under COVID19 precautions.

During the CONSOL, Yukon received 335 thousand gallons of JP5 aviation fuel that will be transferred to Navy ships in the local area of operations.

According to Capt. Dan Glazier, Yukon’s Civil Service Master, taking fuel from a tanker ship like Empire State allows Yukon, and other MSC ships, to stay at sea to refuel, rather than to come into a commercial fuel pier in port. Originally, the concept was developed to keep United States Ships out of foreign ports during times of conflict, but in today’s world of COVID19, the technology allows a crew that is free from the virus, to stay underway and isolated at sea, while still having the ability to receive fuel and service the fleet.

“Keeping my crew healthy and safe is really a priority, especially during the COVID19 pandemic,” said Glazier. “Being able to take fuel from the tanker is a good option for us when we need fuel for our customers, or when we need to stay out to sea.”

As Glazier went on to explain, the tanker doesn’t only supply fuel for customers, it can also provide fuel for the receiving ships to use as well, which is another way to ensure ships can stay underway indefinitely.

MSC reintroduced the ability to conduct tanker to oiler CONSOLS-at-sea in 2015. In the 1980s and 1990’s, MSC chartered Champion Class tankers (T5 tankers) UNREPing Navy oilers was common place, especially in the Navy’s 5th Fleet area of operations. With the switch to privately owned/Navy chartered tankers, Navy oilers refueling at Navy owned fuel piers became the favored process. Civilian tanker ships, such as Empire State, still maintained the ability to fuel at sea; the demand for fuel consolidation (CONSOL) at sea declined. Reintroducing the technology is a way to utilize a flexible platform that allows MSC to operate world-wide in a variety of missions. Yukon’s ability to receive fuel from Empire State is an example of the technology being put into use during a “real world” scenario.

Yukon isn’t the only ship in the Pacific AOR to use this concept. USNS Henry J. Kaiser has also conducted CONSOL operations with Empire State in the COVID19 world.

According to Glazier, despite being at-sea for an extended period of time, moral on Yukon is high and his crew of highly professional civilian mariners understand the importance of the work they do to support the fleet.

“A lot of my crew has said they miss and worry about their families and want to go home,” said Glazier,” but they also understand that they have a job to do out here, and that the job is important to keeping our country safe and our Navy operating, so they are willing to make the sacrifices they have to, to make sure that mission continues.”
Yukon continues to provide logistics services to the Navy’s Third Fleet in the Southern California area.

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