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MV Falcon Lady (later USNS Columbia, T-AO 182) probably with USNS Taluga (T-AO 62) circa 1974-75.
Falcon Lady was then under bareboat charter to MSC manned by Civil Service Marine personnel.
Click on this photograph for links to larger images of this class.

Class: COLUMBIA (T-AO 182)
Design: SCB, MC/MA, Navy XX #
Displacement (tons): 12,300 light, 45,877 full
Dimensions (feet): 672.3 oa, 638 pp x 89 x 36.2
Original armament: 4-5"/38
Later armaments: (19xx) 4-20mm
Complement: 27
Speed (kts.): 16.5
Propulsion (BHP): 15,000 (16,000 in FALCON LADY)
Machinery: Medium-speed diesel, 1 screw

Construction:
T-AONameAcqBuilderKeelLaunchSvc
182COLUMBIAJan 1976Ingalls, Pascagoula East23 Oct 196812 Sep 197015 Jan 1976
183NECHESFeb 1976Ingalls, Pascagoula East30 Dec 196830 Jan 1971Feb 1976
184HUDSONApr 1976Ingalls, Pascagoula East8 Feb 19718 Jan 197223 Apr 1976
185SUSQUEHANNAMay 1976Ingalls, Pascagoula East20 Nov 197020[2] Oct 197111 May 1976

Disposition:
T-AONameTInact/CustStrikeDisposalFateMA Sale/Depart
182COLUMBIAT21 May 1984None?21 May 1984RTO5 Jul 2012/D
183NECHEST2 Oct 1983None?2 Oct 1983RTO--
184HUDSONT5 Feb 1984None?5 Feb 1984RTO--
185SUSQUEHANNAT14 May 1984None?14 May 1984RTO--

Class Notes:
All built for Falcon Carriers (later Falcon Tankers) with Government aid in the form of mortgage insurance. Diesel engines by Chantiers de l'Atlantique except Crossley-Premier Engines Ltd. in FALCON LADY. Completion of FALCON LADY was delayed by the reconditioning of the British engines by Fairbanks Morse. The original keels of the last two were laid down in 1969 but taken up and stored, perhaps becuase their engines had to be changed. All merchant owners were US firms except MISSION CAPISTRANO, U.S. Government. All returned to owner (RTO) 1983-84 as shown above. COLUMBIA was later reacquired as MISSION CAPISTRANO as recorded below.

[From Mercogliano article] Besides the replacement of the T-2s [see AO 168 class], MSC looked toward the augmentation of the T-5s with additional larger and more fuel efficient ships. A build-and-charter arrangement was made with Falcon Carriers, Inc., to construct four 37,000 dwt tankers in October 1967. These ships represented a technological leap over the older tankers. Equipped with medium-speed diesel engines, and automated pump rooms they utilized a crew of 23, instead of the 40 on the older T-5s, or 39 on the T-2s. The ships proved technologically adequate, the operation of them proved mixed. In April 1972, MSC re-negotiated with the owner of the ships, Iranian Destiny Tankers Inc., to bareboat-charter the tankers and replace the crews with civilian mariners. The company had suffered financial problems and the material readiness of the ships had decreased. The MV Falcon Princess required over $1 million in repairs to put the ship back into operation.

Ship Notes:
T-AONameMANotes
182COLUMBIAEx-FALCON LADY, completed 11 Mar 1971 (Yard 1162). Transferred from Falcon Tankers to MSC 3 May 1974. Renamed COLUMBIA by MSC 16 Jan 1976 effective 12 Jan 1976 and delivered to contract operator 30 Apr 1976. To AOT Sep 1979. Redelivered from contract operator to MSC and simultaneously returned to Falcon Tankers 21 May 1984, reverted to FALCON LADY. Renamed MISSION CAPISTRANO (AOT 5005) Dec 1987 when preparing for MA takeover for RRF, RRF in BRF from Mar 1988. Activated Feb 1991 for Desert Storm, back to RRF Beaumont Mar 1991. Title to MA 1 Sep 2004 and downgraded to NDRF retention same date, to non-retention Jul 2006. Withdrawn 5 Jul 2012, departed under domestic sale.
183NECHESEx-FALCON DUCHESS, completed 4 Aug 1971 (Yard 1163). Transferred from Falcon Tankers to MSC 3 May 1974. Renamed NECHES by MSC 11 Feb 1976. To AOT Sep 1979. Redelivered from contract operator to MSC and simultaneously returned to Falcon Tankers 2 Oct 1983, reverted to FALCON DUCHESS. Chartered May 1984 as ECLIPSE, changed ownership 1 Aug 1985 and again reverted to FALCON DUCHESS. Merc DUCHESS 18 Jun 1992. BU Gadani Beach 18 Dec 1997
184HUDSONEx-FALCON PRINCESS, completed 4 May 72 (Yard 1165). Transferred from Falcon Tankers to MSC 10 Apr 1974. Renamed HUDSON by MSC 19 Mar 1976 [23 Apr 1976] and delivered to contract operator 26 Apr 1976. To AOT Sep 1979. Redelivered from contract operator to MSC and simultaneously returned to Falcon Tankers 5 Feb 1984, reverted to FALCON PRINCESS. Merc SEA PRINCESS 30 Nov 1993. BU Chittagong 6 Mar 2001
185SUSQUEHANNAEx-FALCON COUNTESS, completed 13 Jan 1972 (Yard 1164). Transferred from Falcon Tankers to MSC 17 Apr 1974. Renamed SUSQUEHANNA by MSC 19 Mar 1976 [14 May 1976] and delivered to contract operator 17 May 1976. To AOT Sep 1979. Redelivered from contract operator to MSC and simultaneously returned to Falcon Tankers 14 May 1984, reverted to FALCON COUNTESS. BU Alang 6 Dec 1993 [22 Nov 1993], beached 26 Jan 1994

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