August 13, 2020 – Throughout the months of July and August, the Military Sealift Command chartered roll-on/roll-off/container ship MV Cape Hudson (T-AKR 5066) has been supporting the U.S. Army, transporting military vehicles and supplies throughout the Pacific region for use in ongoing military training exercises.
Managed by the Matson Navigation Company, and part of The United States Maritime Administration (MARAD) Ready Reserve Force, Cape Hudson has been conducting load, transport and delivery of military cargo, including vehicles and supplies, between a number of ports, in support of the U.S. Army, its partners and allies in the region, exercises; most notably Pacific Defender.
Working in a COVID-19 pandemic world presented new challenges for the ship. Following a no-notice, 5-day mission activation, Cape Hudson, complete an onboard, 14-day quarantine period, to ensure the crew was virus free. Thanks to the teamwork of the ship’s Master and crew, and long hours by the shore side management staff, Cape Hudson was found COVID-19 free and mission ready within the required activation timeline, and able to maintain its schedule.
Luckily Matson has leveraged longstanding relationships with their maritime unions, the United States Coast Guard, and experienced agents in each port location, COVID testing contractors, vessel decontamination contractors, COVID PPE suppliers, to help support this unique mission environment and ensure the ship and crew remain complaint with all COVID-19 safety protocols,” explained Conor Sullivan, Cape Hudson’s civilian master. “Following CDC guidelines, MSC and Matson COVID-19 policies and procedures, with a strict adherence to social distancing, wearing of face masks and proper PPE, frequent handwashing / personal sanitary practices, and common space disinfecting multiple times a day, the crew was committed to combating the virus and keeping the vessel clean and safe and ready to continue to support the mission.”
While the support mission Cape Hudson is conducting is very typical of MSC operations, the crew of the ship still takes great pride in ensuring the units participating in the exercises have the equipment and supplies they need to train, operate and maintain a constant state of readiness.
“The sense of pride and satisfaction from tangibly supporting the U.S. Military. Working closely with MSC, MARAD, The Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, The United States Transportation Command, and local military we have fostered relationships in various new areas that aren’t usually seen when working commercially,” said Sullivan. “The crew sacrifices home life to sail and work commercially, but supporting the military/troops and hard-working men and women who sacrifice much more to keep our country safe and secure brings great satisfaction to all officers and crew aboard the Cape Hudson.”
Cape Hudson will continue supporting the Army in the Pacific until the end of August.