Thursday, September 19, 2019

Uh-oh. 34 Sealift Ships Were Just Activated

By Sal Mercogliano, Ph.D. – In a week punctuated by a drone missile strike on two oil production plants in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, the United States Transportation Command on Monday initiated a Large-Scale Sealift Readiness ExerciseAs part of its Turbo Activation series which began in 1994, the joint command, located at Scott Air Force Base in southern Illinois, issued activation orders for 22 ships from the Maritime Administration’s Ready Reserve Force and 6 vessels from the Military Sealift Command. This activation of 28 ships at one-time is the largest single-day activation in the history of the surge sealift force. Even during the conflicts in 1990 and 2003, when a total of 86 and 58 ships were broken out of the reserve fleets respectively, this figure exceeds any single day.

 Read the rest of the article here 

        MSC ships carry larger crews than civilian ships, although both are mostly crewed by civilian mariners.  Along with the 28 ships activated the other day, 6 additional ships were activated yesterday. 


Round two
6 more RRF vessels activating please contact your Union hall tomorrow

 It's not too hard to read the tea leaves. The RRF had a massive spectacular fail this past spring when it became apparent that the ridiculously antiquated mothball fleet will be unlikely to meet the sealift needs in any overseas conflict. Hence the turbo activation. Never mind a twofer, this is a multiplefer. Given Iran's saber rattling and a lot of seeming interest in not avoiding a direct conflict with Iran, a little scrimmage was scheduled.  I'll leave it to brighter minds to parse out the details, but it doesn't seem all that opaque an exercise. We're likely going to kick sand in someone's face before too long. We no longer have the ships to support a rapid invasion. A demonstration would serve multiple masters.

 Either way, there's a massive demand for mariners this week. I'm curious to see how that pans out, let alone the ships. I'm glossing over the defense and global security aspects here. I'm out of my wheelhouse when it comes to military issues.

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