Crane Ships, Heavy Lift Ships, Tanker Retired from Sealift Fleet

Landing Craft Air Cushion 33 exits from the elevator of SS Cape Mohican (T-AKR 5065) during Exercise Brilliant Zenith 2015. Cape Mohican has now been retired. U.S. NAVY / Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Eric Chan

ARLINGTON, Va. — Five sealift ships are now in various stages of recycling now that they have been retired from the Ready Reserve Force (RRF), which provides sealift ships when mobilized in support of the Navy’s Military Sealift Command, a component of U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM). 

The RRF, administered by the Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD), now keeps 41 ships — down from 46 — in a reduced operating status available for activation within five days for national emergencies or other mission assignments.  

“Five ships have been removed from the RRF, following a determination from DoD/USTRANSCOM/Navy that there no longer existed a requirement for these ships,” said a DoT Spokesperson. “This is a fairly common occurrence. For example, in 1993 we had 102 ships in the RRF, today there are 41. As to the vessel disposition, they will all eventually be relocated to one of MARAD’s reserve fleet sites and later recycled. 

Two auxiliary crane ships — SS Flickertail State on the East Coast and SS Grand Canyon State on the West Coast — have been withdrawn from service, leaving two crane ships available on each coast. 

The RRF’s only two heavy lift ships — SS Cape May on the East Coast and SS Cape Mohican on the West Coast — have been retired. 

Also retired on the West Coast was the SS Petersburg, an offshore petroleum distribution system tanker.