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USNS Sealift Atlantic (T-AO 172) on date
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Design: SCB, MC/MA, Navy XX #
Displacement (tons): 6,786 light, 34,000 full
Dimensions (feet): 587' oa, 567' wl x 84' e/wl x 35' max nav/limit
Original armament: 4-5"/38
Later armaments: (19xx) 4-20mm
Complement: ###
Speed (kts.): ##.#
Propulsion (HP): #,###
Machinery: Diesel, 1 screw

168SEALIFT PACIFIC20 Jun 1972Todd, San Pedro15 Nov 197215 Oct 197314 Aug 1974
169SEALIFT ARABIAN SEA20 Jun 1972Todd, San Pedro5 Mar 197326 Jan 19746 Feb 1975
170SEALIFT CHINA SEA20 Jun 1972Todd, San Pedro15 Oct 197320 Apr 197419 May 1975
171SEALIFT INDIAN OCEAN20 Jun 1972Todd, San Pedro30 Jan 197427 Jul 197429 Aug 1975
172SEALIFT ATLANTIC20 Jun 1972Bath Iron Works20 Apr 197326 Jan 197426 Aug 1974
173SEALIFT MEDITERRANEAN20 Jun 1972Bath Iron Works9 Mar 19739 Mar 19746 Nov 1974
174SEALIFT CARIBBEAN20 Jun 1972Bath Iron Works23 Jul 19738 Jun 197410 Feb 1975
175SEALIFT ARCTIC20 Jun 1972Bath Iron Works6 Feb 197431 Aug 197422 May 1975
176SEALIFT ANTARCTIC20 Jun 1972Bath Iron Works29 Apr 197426 Oct 19741 Aug 1975

T-AONameTInactStrikeDisposalFateMA Sale
168SEALIFT PACIFICT1994None?1994RTO15 Feb 1995
169SEALIFT ARABIAN SEAT1995None?1995RTO2 Mar 1995
170SEALIFT CHINA SEAT1995None?1995RTO18 Apr 1995
171SEALIFT INDIAN OCEANT1995None?1995RTO2 May 1995
172SEALIFT ATLANTICT1994None?1994RTO4 Apr 1995
173SEALIFT MEDITERRANEANT1994None?1994RTO18 Apr 1995
174SEALIFT CARIBBEANT1995None?1995RTO4 Apr 1995
175SEALIFT ARCTICT1995None?1995RTO4 Apr 1995
176SEALIFT ANTARCTICT1995None?1995RTO4 Apr 1995

Class Notes:
"Handy Size Tankers (HST)" intended to replace the T2 tankers then being used by MSC. To provide new tankers for its fleet, MSTS in conjunction with MARAD used a build-and-charter program, under which operating contracts would be assigned to companies for a set period, usually five years, making it possible for them to build ships in U.S. shipyards knowing they had assured business. These ships were ordered by the Marine Ship Leasing Corp. under this program, delivered to the Irving Trust Co. as owner, and chartered by them to MSC on the dates shown under Svc, above. Exceptions are shown in the individual ship listings. K and L dates are from the MSC Merchant Ship Register. There was no SCB design or FY assignment for these ships. All to AOT Sep 1978. All came under the Panamanian flag when sold in 1995. Sale dates are shown under MA Sale above although the sales were by the owner, not MA. Inactivation (end of charter) and RTO (return to owner) dates probably came around 20 years from delivery as there were four five-year options in the charters.

[From Mercogliano article] In May 1967, the Department of Defense identified the requirement for 9 new ships to replace the Maritime Commission-built tankers of the 1940s. Original plans were for Navy funding to be used to construct these vessels but as money earmarked for shipbuilding evaporated, MSTS fell-back on its build-and-charter program. The service began negotiations with Central Gulf Lines to construct these ships but was terminated in 1969 due to problems in the financial arrangements. The project was revived, and on June 21, 1972 an agreement was made with Marine Transport Lines, Inc., Citicorp Leasing, Inc., and Salmon Brothers to construct the 9 Sealift-class tankers at Todd Shipyard, San Pedro, California, and Bath Iron Works, Maine for five years, with options for a total of twenty years. Built with medium-speed diesels and capable of carrying 25,000 deadweight tons of fuel at 16 knots, they only required a crew of 26 and could handle four different product. By 1975, the nine Sealifts had replaced the T-2s in the nucleus fleet.

Unfortunately, the Falcons were not the only tankers that had problems with their contract operators. In April 1990, the International Marine Carriers, Inc. (IMC) assumed the fourth five-year option of the 9 Sealift-class tankers from Marine Transport Lines. The Government Accounting Office, in their investigation of the contract found MSC at fault for lack of oversight in the maintenance of the ships and the failure to ensure that qualified and fully staffed crews were available. These conditions occurred because of the lack of program oversight, failure to assign responsibilities within MSC, and no contracting officer to oversee the performance of the new commercial operator. Added to the problems was the decision to issue a fixed-price contract with the goal to save money. In actuality, a fixed price prevented routine maintenance from being accomplished due to the need to ensure funding was available to correct emergent casualties. When these ships completed their contracts in 1994 and 1995 they did so under the stigma of impropriety which tarnished their twenty years of valiant and resolute service to the armed forces.

Ship Notes:
Merc. SANTA CHIARA 1995.
168SEALIFT PACIFIC[K 29 Nov 1972, L 13 Oct 1973] To RDF (rapid deployment force) 12 Aug 1980. Merc. PATTY ANN 1995.
169SEALIFT ARABIAN SEA[Delivery and charter date 6 May 1975 in NVR.] Merc. SAPHIL 1995.
170SEALIFT CHINA SEA[Delivery and charter date 9 May 1975 in NVR.] Merc. SANTA AMBREGIO 1995.
173SEALIFT MEDITERRANEANDelivered 7 Nov 1974 and BB chartered to MSC 6 Nov 1974. Merc. SAN MARCO 1995.

Page Notes:
Compiled: 18 Sep 2021
© Stephen S. Roberts, 2021
Sources: DB, Maroon, VSC, NVR