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USNS Spica (T-AFS 9)

- formerly RFA TARBATNESS (A 345) -
- Military Sealift Command -
- decommissioned -
- sunk as a target -

USNS SPICA was the second SIRIUS - class Combat Stores Ship. All three ships in this class were transferred from the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary to the Military Sealift Command between 1981 and 1983.

In June 2001, the USNS SPICA and USNS CONCORD swapped coasts. Since then, SPICA was an Atlantic asset and CONCORD a Pacific. Both decommissioned and stricken from the Navy list on January 25, 2008, the SPICA was subsequently laid-up in Philadelphia, Penn. The ship was sunk as a target on May 6, 2009, off the US East Coast.

General Characteristics:Keel laid: April 1, 1965
Launched: February 1, 1967
Commissioned: March 21, 1967
MSC "in Service": November 1, 1981
Decommissioned: January 25, 2008
Builder: Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd, Wallsend-on-Tyne, UK
Propulsion system: 1 Wallsend-Sulzer 8RD76 diesel
Propellers: one
Length: 524 feet (159.7 meters)
Beam: 72 feet (22 meters)
Draft: 22 feet (6.7 meters)
Displacement: approx. 16,800 tons full load
Speed: 19 knots
Aircraft: two CH-46 helicopters
Armament: none
Crew: 49 Navy personnel, 115 civilian crew

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Crew List:

This section contains the names of sailors who served aboard USNS SPICA. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.

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Accidents aboard USNS SPICA:

April 7, 2003eastern Mediterranean
A SA.30 Puma helicopter, deployed on board USNS SPICA, crashed while conducting routine vertical replenishment with USS HARRY S. TRUMAN (CVN 75). The helicopter's two civilian pilots survived and were rescued shortly afterwards. Such civilian helicopters provide underway logistics support under contract to the Navy.

Involved in the rescue operation were SH-60 helicopters from USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN 71), USS HARRY S. TRUMAN (CVN 75), and USS WINSTON S. CHURCHILL (DDG 81).
March 17, 2005Persian Gulf
USS MONTEREY (CG 61) and the USNS SPICA collide while conducting underway replenishment operations in the Persian Gulf. There are no casualties or injuries reported as a result of the collision.

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USNS SPICA Patch Gallery:

Operation Enduring Freedom 2002

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The photos below were taken by me on November 7, 2008, and show the SPICA laid up at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.

Click here to view more photos.

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