US MSC Contracts to Operate 11 Prepositioning Ships
The USA’s Maritime Prepositioning Ships serve as vast, floating stocks of equipment, ammunition, and supplies that can be sailed into friendly ports to meet up with flown-in Marines. This critical but often-unrecognized force includes a combination of U.S. government-owned ships and chartered U.S.-flagged ships, and can also include ships activated from the Maritime Administration’s Ready Reserve Force. They are not crewed by US Navy personnel, but use U.S. civilian mariners (“CIVMARs”), who work for ship operating companies under contract to the federal government.
Most of Military Sealift Command’s prepositioning ships are able to discharge cargo pierside, or use shallow-draft barges (lighterage), that are carried aboard in case ports are non-existent or in poor condition. In May 2010, US MSC made one of the largest buys in its history – which, of course, led to a GAO protest and accompanying delays. Those are all resolved now…
Work will be performed at sea worldwide, and is expected to be completed in September 2012, or September 2016 if all options are exercised. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/12. This contract was competitively procured, with more than 50 proposals solicited via solicitations posted to the Military Sealift Command, Navy Electronic Commerce Online and FBO.com websites, with 6 offers received by US Military Sealift Command in Washington, DC (N00033-12-C-3116).
This marks the final re-award for all 10 ships affected by the GAO decision (vid. June 14/10 entry); Keystone was one of the firms who filed against Maersk. The contracts now stand as:
- USNS 2nd Lt. John P. Bobo (T-AK 3008, formerly MV 2nd Lt. John P. Bobo)
- USNS PFC Dewayne T. Williams (T-AK-3009, formerly MV PFC Dewayne T. Williams)
- USNS 1st Lt. Baldomero Lopez (T-AK 3010, formerly MV 1st Lt. Baldomero Lopez)
- USNS 1st Lt. Jack Lummus (T-AK 3011, formerly MV 1st Lt. Jack Lummus)
- USNS Sgt. William R. Button (T-AK 3012, formerly MV Sgt. William R. Button)
- USNS LCpl Roy M. Wheat (T-AK 3016, heavily modified in 1999, redelivered in 2003)
- USNS GYSgt Fred W. Stockham (T-AK-3017, formerly MV Lica Maersk and then T-AKR-299 USNS Soderman until 2000)
The Sgt. Matej Kocak-class was converted before entering service with MSC. The ships gained 157 feet amidships, and a helicopter landing platform.
- USNS Sgt Matej Kocak (T-AK 3005, formerly SS John B. Waterman)
- USNS PFC Eugene A. Obregon (T-AK 3006, formerly SS Thomas Heywood)
- USNS Maj Stephen W. Pless (T-AK 3007, formerly SS Charles Carroll)
Patriot Contract Services, LLC – small business set-aside:
- USNS 1st Lt. Harry L. Martin (T-AK 3015, formerly MV Tarago)
July 15/11: Maersk Line, Ltd. in Norfolk, VA wins the re-compete for a multi-year contract to operate MSC’s 5 Bobo Class Container RO-RO (Roll-On, Roll-Off) ships. These ships will be deployed worldwide, pre-positioning US Marine Corps equipment and supplies in key ocean areas, to ensure rapid availability during military operation and humanitarian relief.
The contract will begin in September 2011, with a base period of 30 days and 4 one-year options. If all options are exercised, the total contract value will reach approximately $126 million, excluding reimbursable expenses and performance incentives. Ships include USNS 2nd Lt. John P. Bobo, USNS PFC Dewayne T. Williams, USNS 1st Lt. Baldomero Lopez, USNS 1st Lt. Jack Lummus, and USNS Sgt. William R. Button.
Maersk has now won every re-compete conducted to date. The 3 remaining ships under Maersk’s May 2010 award all belong to the Kocak Class, and Lot 5 per the original RFP. They have not been awarded; deadline for BAFO(Best and Final Offer) submission was July 19/11. Maersk Line Ltd. release [PDF].
April 8/11: Maersk Line, Ltd. wins the re-competed contract to operate and maintain USNS GYSgt Fred W. Stockham and USNS LCpl Roy M. Wheat. If all options are exercised, the contract periods will extend into 2015, and the approximate contract value, excluding reimbursable expenses, is expected to be $66 million. Scott Cimring, Maersk’s Senior Director of Government Ship Management:
“MLL’s support of Maritime Prepositioning Ships goes back to 1983 when we converted five commercial vessels and operated them for 25 years. We’re pleased that MSC has… entrusted us with these ships.”
Maersk will provide personnel and mariners, operational and technical support ashore and afloat, as well as all the equipment, tools, provisions and supplies necessary to operate these vessels worldwide. MLL also will support MSC in the management of government-owned cargo, including, but not limited to, hazardous materials, vehicular, bulk, and general cargoes. Maersk Line, Ltd. release [PDF].
July 1/10: US MSC announces that it has issued a small business set-aside contract for the 11th ship, to Patriot Contract Services, LLC. The contract awarded to PCS covers the operation and maintenance of MPS USNS 1ST LT Harry L. Martin.
June 14/10: Keystone, General Dynamics AMSEA, and Waterman Steamship file protests with the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), over Military Sealift Command’s award of 10 charters to Maersk Line Limited.
The protests will eventually result in re-competes for all 10 charters. American Maritime Officers.
May 27/10: US MSC signs contracts that could be worth over $1 billion, involving the operation and maintenance of 11 government-owned Maritime Prepositioning Force ships for over 5 years each. A set of 4 contracts awarded to Maersk Line, Ltd. will cover 10 of the ships, while the 11th is covered by a small business set-aside contract that will be awarded at a later date. Each contract has a base period that lasts to Sept 30/10, and up to 5 one-year options would extend the contracts to Sept 30/15 if exercised. The contract also includes reimbursement clauses for certain kinds of expenses.
Ships covered include various types, from older MPS ships, to LMSR Roll-on/Roll-offs originally built for Army use, to the newest MPF-E CON/RO container ships with roll-on, roll-off capability:
- USNS 2nd Lt John P. Bobo
- USNS Sgt William R. Button
- USNS Sgt Matej Kocak
- USNS 1st Lt Baldomero Lopez
- USNS 1st Lt Jack Lummus
- USNS PFC Eugene A. Obregon
- USNS Maj Stephen W. Pless
- USNS GYSgt Fred W. Stockham
- USNS LCpl Roy M. Wheat
- USNS PFC DeWayne T. Williams
The contract to be awarded at a later date is for the operation and maintenance of Maritime Prepositioning Ship USNS 1st Lt Harry L. Martin. That was a small-business set-aside, so additional notifications are needed.
All 11 ships are deployed to strategic locations worldwide, and MSC operates approximately 110 noncombatant, civilian-crewed ships that strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world, move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces, conduct specialized missions, and replenish U.S. Navy ships at sea. Overall, the MSC operates 31 prepositioning ships for the US military. US MSC.