Pentagon’s Rapid Wartime Response Cargo Ships Trapped In Baltimore After Bridge Collapse

According to the shipping blog gCaptain, using the Automatic Identification System (AIS) data that tracks commercial vessels, the Pentagon’s Rapid Wartime Response cargo ships are trapped in Baltimore after the bridge collapse.

Pentagon's Rapid Wartime Response Cargo Ships Trapped In Baltimore After Bridge Collapse 1

The 1.6-mile-long Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed Tuesday morning, trapping two fast-moving military cargo ships in the Port of Baltimore. For several days, the main US East Coast port has been immobilized due to the collapse of a bridge, which has hindered vessel transit in and out of the harbor.

According to data from Vessel Finder and the maritime incident archive Shipwrecklog, the cargo ship that collided with the Baltimore bridge, named the Dali, was also involved in a collision in Antwerp in 2016.

According to the shipping blog gCaptain, three bulk carriers, two general cargo ships, one vehicle carrier, one tanker, four Ready Reserve Force vessels (RRF), and the container ship Dali that struck the bridge are trapped in the harbor using the automatic identification system, or AIS, data that tracks commercial vessels.

Among the three bulk carriers are:

  • The Liberian-flagged JY River, owned by JIADE INTERNATIONAL SHIP and managed by WAH KWONG SHIP MANAGEMENT HK of Hong Kong.
  • The Thailand-flagged Phatra Naree, owned by PRECIOUS STONES SHIPPING LTD and managed by PRECIOUS SHIPPING PCL of Thailand.
  • The Portuguese-flagged Klara Oldendorff, owned and managed OLDENDORFF CARRIERS GMBH & CO of Germany.

The vehicle carrier is:

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  • The Swedish-flagged Carmen, owned by WALL RO/RO AB and managed by WALLENIUS MARINE AB of Sweden.

Among the general cargo ships are:

  • The French-flagged Saimaagracht, owned by REDERIJ SAIMAAGRACHT and managed by SPLIETHOFF’S BEVRACHTINGS BV of the Netherlands.
  • The Panama-flagged Balsa 94, owned by EASTERN CAPITAL MARINE INC and managed by HIONG GUAN NAVEGACION CO LTD of Hong Kong.

The vessel is:

  • The Marshall Islands-flagged Palanca Rio, owned by MINSHENG RUIYANG TIANJIN SHPG and managed by PUMA ENERGY SUPPLY & TRADING of Singapore.

The following ships are part of the US Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) Ready Reserve Force:

  • The Cape Washington, a Cape W Class roll-on/roll-off vessel.
  • The Gary I. Gordon, a Gordon-class roll-on/roll-off vessel.
  • The SS Antares (T-AKR-294), a Algol-class fast sealift vehicle cargo ship.
  • The SS Denebola (T-AKR-294), another Algol-class fast sealift vehicle cargo ship.

The War Zone (TWZ), a military blog, claims that Algol class ships are “some of the fastest cargo vessels of their general size anywhere in the world.” These ships are a component of the RRF, a subset of MARAD’s National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF), which gives the Pentagon access to surge sealift capabilities in the event of international crises.

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According to TWZ, it takes five to 10 days for RRF vessels to activate. Until called upon, a skeleton crew operates the vessels.

RRF are positioned at significant US marine ports.

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TWZ observed that during the previous three decades, the Algol class boats have been called into action on multiple occasions:

Algol class have been called upon multiple times since they entered US service. Just five of these ships were responsible for transporting 20 percent of US cargo sent from the United States to Saudi Arabia during the first phase of Operation Desert Shield in the immediate run-up to the First Gulf War. The ships would go on to deliver 13 percent of all cargo that arrived in Saudi Arabia from the United States in the full course of that conflict. 

The US military subsequently used Algols to support operations in Somalia and the Balkans in the 1990s, as well as the opening phases of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in the early 2000s.

“The Department of Transportation will not say how many National Defense Reserve Fleet Ships are Stuck” in Baltimore Harbor, according to a Thursday story by Kristina Wong of Breitbart News.

The CEO of gCaptain, John Konrad, was cited by Wong as cautioning that the imprisoned RRF warships pose a “huge problem if a war starts [but] not much of a problem if the next few months are peaceful.”

It is uncertain how prepared the RRF fleet is right now. And just like that, a container ship with an apparent catastrophic “electric issue” took out a portion of the US RRF fleet, rather than a missile or suicide drone. Enemies of America are paying attention.

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