GLADSTONE, Australia -- Military Sealift Command’s (MSC) voyage-charter MV Ocean Grand is traveling through the Pacific as part of mobility operation Pacific Pathways 18-2 (PP18-2) and arrived Gladstone, Australia, to offload gear for exercise Hamel 2018, June 15.
During the two-day offload, the Ocean Grand discharged about 150 end items and containers that will be used during exercise Hamel 2018.
The Ocean Grand is a commercial ship from Intermarine under contract by MSC to support PP18-2, a U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) mobility operation that supports five USARPAC exercises and links them into a single operation by using a single MSC commercial vessel to carry a designated task force and their force package equipment for the entire duration. This iteration of PP18-2 is supporting exercises' Hamel in Australia, Keris Strike in Malaysia, Garuda Shield in Indonesia, Hanuman Guardian in Thailand, and Orient Shield in Japan.
The ship is a heavy-lift, general cargo vessel that's equipped for carriage containers and strengthened for heavy cargo. It is equipped with three shipboard cranes: crane one, which is near the bow, can lift approximately 120 metric tons (265,000 pounds); and cranes two and three can each lift approximately 450 metric tons (about one million pounds). When cranes two and three are used as a single unit, the cranes combine for 900 metric tons of lift.
“The MV Ocean Grand fits this mission well due to its cargo handling capabilities, three ship cranes with crew that are capable of utilizing them if necessary, and long cargo hold spaces,” said Navy Lt. Travis Christensen, strategic sealift officer, MSC Far East. “Also, its shorter length overall and breadth, compared to a larger vessel such as an LMSR (large, medium-speed, roll-on roll-off) ship, allow it to occupy less pier-space and affords access to ports and harbors with limited maneuvering area. The long cargo holds allow more room for stowage and reduces time spent opening or securing cargo hold hatches on more compartmentalized break-bulk vessels.”
The Ocean Grand is a member of the Maritime Security Program (MSP), a series of American-flag ships that are assets the U.S. military can draw upon during contingencies.
According to www.globalsecurity.org, MSP was established by the Maritime Security Act of 1996 “to assure the continued viability of a U.S.-flag merchant marine capable of maintaining a role in international commercial shipping and supporting the national sealift policy of maintaining assured access to U.S-flag shipping to deploy unilaterally if necessary during national emergencies,” and contingencies.
The Ocean Grand departed Tacoma, Wash., in mid-May from Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) with equipment and a detachment of ship riders, and arrived Australia in June to support exercise Hamel.
After exercise Hamel, the Ocean Grand will travel to Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Japan to support Keris Strike, Garuda Shield, Hanuman Guardian, and Orient Shield. At the conclusion of each exercise, the ship will backload all gear from each country before returning to JBLM.
MSC operates approximately 115 non-combatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners.