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The T-AO 187 HENRY J. KAISER - class

USNS Pecos T-AO 197

The HENRY J. KAISER (T-AO 187), the first of an 18-ship series of new oilers, was delivered in December 1986. When they joined the fleet, KAISER-class ships permited the retirement of oilers of the 1940s (MISPILLION-class) and 1950s (NEOSHO-class). The ships were built for the Military Sealift Command (MSC).

There are stations on both sides of each ship for underway replenishment of fuel and stores. Equipped with 5 fueling stations, they can replenish two ships at a time pumping up to 900,000 gallons of diesel fuel and 540,000 gallons of jet fuel per hour. These ships have a capacity for small quantities of fresh and frozen provisions, stores, and other materials which will permit full replenishment of some of their customers. With a dry cargo carrying capacity of 7,400 square feet and refrigerated deck vans that can hold up to 128 pallets of chilled food, they can deliver fleet cargo, mail, and provisions via CONREP (connected replenishment) from two dry cargo rigs or via VERTREP (vertical replenishment) on the helo deck.

USNS John Ericsson T-AO 194Three of the newest MSC underway replenishment oilers have double hulls, designed to meet OPA 90 (Oil Protection Act 1990) requirements. . Fitted with integrated electrical auxiliary propulsion, the delivery of USNS PATUXENT (T-AO 201), USNS RAPPAHANNOCK (T-AO 204) and USNS LARAMIE (T-AO 203) was delayed by the decision to fit double hulls to meet the requirements of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. This modification increased construction time from 32 to 42 months and reduced cargo capacity by 17 percent, although this can be restored in an emergency. Hull separation is 1.83 m at the sides and 1.98 m on the bottom.

Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) originally awarded the construction contract for T-AO 191 and T-AO 192 to Pennsylvania Shipbuilding Company (PennShip), but the contract was terminated for default. NAVSEA awarded Tampa Shipyards Inc. (Tampa), a wholly owned subsidiary of the American Shipbuilding Company (AMSHIP), letter contract N00024-90-C-2300 on November 16, 1989, for the completion of T-AO 191 and T-AO 192. During performance of the contract, Tampa and NAVSEA had differing interpretations over responsibility for correction of defects or deficiencies for work performed by PennShip and concerning the amount of material necessary to complete the ships. Tampa experienced significant financial and performance problems which resulted in Tampa's failure to make progress to meet the T-AO 191 contract delivery date of May 29, 1992. The contract delivery dates for the two ships were extended to January 31, 1993, for T-AO 191 and September 30, 1993, for T-AO 192.

Mr. George M. Steinbrenner, the former Chairman of the Board of AMSHIP, the current chairman of the AMSHIP Executive Committee and principal stockholder of AMSHIP, commissioned a study by Paul Maglicocchetti Associates (PMA) of selected Tampa activities. The study by PMA on Tampa's behalf indicated that Tampa had failed to adequately staff and organize the company to perform new construction work despite representations made to the Navy prior to T-AO contract award. NAVSEA's analysis indicated that transferring the ships to another facility would not add unacceptable cost or schedule delays, and that Tampa's continued performance of the T-AO 191 and T-AO 192 contract was not essential to the national defense. Both ships were finally cancelled on August 15, 1993, and are now berthed on the James River in Virginia as part of the James River Reserve Fleet.

The crews of the HENRY J. KAISER - class ships consist primarily of Civilian Mariners, who work under industry-standard rules regarding hours of work and compensation. The Mariners draw "base pay " for a forty hour workweek (with a few exceptions), but outside normal working hours are entitled to overtime pay. In a nutshell, any evolution during normal working days, and between 0800 and 1700, incurs no overtime. Weekends and holidays incur overtime costs, as do evolutions between 1700 and 0800. The cost involved is in the neighborhood of $20/hour per Mariner involved in the evolution.

General Characteristics - Henry J. Kaiser class
Builders:Avondale Shipyards, Inc., New Orleans, La.
Pennsylvania Shipbuilding Company (T-AO 191, T-AO 192, T-AO 194)
Tampa Shipyards Inc., Tampa, Fla. (T-AO 191, T-AO 192)
Power Plant:2 Colt-Pielstick 10 PC4.2 V 570 diesels;
34,442 hp(m) (24.3MW) sustained; 2 shafts; cp props
Length:677 feet (203 meters)
Beam:97 feet (29.6 meters)
Draft:35 feet (10.6 meters)
Displacement:40,800 tons full load
T-AO 201, 203-204: 42,000 tons
Speed:20 knots (23 mph, 36.8 kmph)
Range:6,000 nautical miles @ 20 knots
Cargo Capacity:180,000 barrels of fuel; 8 20-feet containers refrigerated
T-AO 201, 203-204: 159,000 barrels of fuel; 8 20-feet containers refrigerated
Crew:82 civilian crew (18 officers); 21 Navy (1 officer) plus 21 spare
Aircraft:Helicopter platform only
Armament:not armed in peacetime
Date deployed:December 19, 1986 (USNS Henry J. Kaiser)

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