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Named after the star in the constellation Orion, the SS BELLATRIX is the second ALGOL - class fast sealift ship and the second ship in the Navy to bear the name. Ships in that class are the world's fastest cargo ships. Originally built in the West Germany in 1973 as SS SEA-LAND TRADE for Sea-Land Services, Inc., Port Elizabeth, N.J., the ship was purchased by the Navy in 1981 and converted. The cargo hold was redesigned into a series of decks connected by ramps so that vehicles can now be driven in and out of storage areas for rapid loading and unloading. Four cranes were installed - twin cranes amidships capable of lifting 35 long tons and twin cranes aft capable of lifting 50 long tons. In 1984, the BELLATRIX was delivered to the Military Sealift Command.
Since then, the BELLATRIX was involved in several operations including Desert Shield/Desert Storm (1990/91), Restore Hope (1992) and Operation Enduring Freedom (2001 - ). On October 1, 2007, the BELLATRIX was transferred to the MARAD. On October 1, 2008, the ship was transferred to the Ready Reserve Force and lost her USNS designation.
|General Characteristics:||Launched: February 1, 1973|
|Delivered to Sea-Land Services, Inc., Port Elizabeth, N.J.: April 1,1973|
|Purchased by the Navy: October 13, 1981|
|Conversion started: October 22, 1982|
|Delivered: September 10, 1984|
|Builder: Rheinstahl Nordseewerke, Emden, West Germany|
|Conversion yard: National Steel and Shipbuilding, San Diego, CA|
|Propulsion system: two Foster-Wheeler boilers, 875 psi (61.6kg/cm2); 9500F (5100C) and two GE MST-19 steam turbines; 120,000 hp (89.5 MW)|
|Length: 946.2 feet (288.4 meters)|
|Beam: 105.6 feet (32.2 meters)|
|Draft: 36.4 feet (11.1 meters)|
|Displacement: approx. 55,355 tons full load|
|Speed: 33 knots|
|Aircraft: helicopter landing area only|
|Capacity: more than 700 Army vehicles (including tanks, trucks, and helicopters)|
|Crew: 43 civilians, 12 military technicians (fully operational); 18 civilians (reduced operating status)|
|Homeport: Marrerro, LA|
This section contains the names of sailors who served aboard SS BELLATRIX. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.
SS BELLATRIX Image Gallery:
The photos below were taken by Stefan Karpinski and show the BELLATRIX underway in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2003.