Mobilization Ship Design To Be Unveiled November 6 At Conference In Arlington

Design of a multipurpose mobilization ship suitable for both rapid production in wartime and commercial needs in peacetime will be unveiled November 6 by the Maritime Administration (MarAd), an agency of the Department of Commerce.

The forum will be a Government/Industry Mobilization Ship Conference at the Crystal City Marriott Hotel, Arlington, Va. Other participants will include Defense Department officials, shipowners and operators, naval architects, and representatives of shipyards and major ship component manufacturers. Robert J. Blackwell, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Maritime Affairs, said: "One of the purposes of the conference is to inform interested parties of the versatile, efficient, and commercially attractive mobilization ship design developed by MarAd.

Another is to encourage the marine industry to build, own, and operate ships suitable for both commercial and wartime mobilization purposes. Such a ship must be built to prove its adequacy, assure its rapid producibility, and provide for essential industrial preparedness planning." MarAd has the responsibility for providing the shipping capability and military support needed during wartime mobilization. As part of its national defense planning effort, the agency established a "Ship Designs for Mobilization" project in 1974.

John J. Nachtsheim, MarAd Assistant Administrator for Operations, said: "Ideally, the ultimate design would be a multipurpose commercial vessel capable of competing effectively in world trade, but with all the costsaving features of standardization and ease of production which the Liberty and Victory ships offered in World War II. With this initiative, we are turning things around— designing a ship for commerce that could be used equally as effectively during a national emergency." The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, the Naval Sea Systems Command, the Military Sealift Command, and the United States Army have provided guidance in developing the design. Each vessel could accept breakbulk, containerized, and roll-on/roll-off cargoes.

Other optional configurations provided for versatility would have certain common features, including hull form, midship sections, and machinery casing and spacing. Optional features include a 110-foot midbody for lengthening (or "jumboizing") the vessels, plus the choice of steam, medium-speed diesel, slow-speed diesel, or gas turbine machinery plants.

The Government/Industry Mobilization Ship Conference will be open to the public. All interested persons are invited to attend. Further information is available from Ms. Linda M. Williams, Office of Ship Construction, Maritime Administration, Room 4059, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, D.C. 20230, telephone (202) 377-4538.

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