The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Military Sealift Command:
(WASHINGTON) — The Chief of Naval Operations has approved the Navy joint high speed vessel (JHSV) crewing approach developed by Military Sealift Command.
Because the ships are new and could conduct a wide variety of missions, MSC determined that the best course of action is to institute a pilot program where the first two vessels (JHSV 2 and JHSV 4) will be crewed with civil service mariners, and the following three will be crewed with civilian contract mariners.
Crewing the first two JHSVs with civil service mariners will give us the experience that MSC needs to best operate and maintain these new platforms, said MSC Commander Rear Adm. Mark H. Buzby. It will also give us insight into ship limitations, crew experience levels and level of management control needed to develop contracts for crewing the next three JSHVs, and will give us the most comprehensive information to determine how MSC will crew and operate these ships in the long run.
MSC presently uses both crewing models for its ships.
The first Navy JHSV, USNS Vigilant, is scheduled to be delivered to MSC in fiscal year 2013, and the second, USNS Fall River, is scheduled to be delivered in fiscal year 2014. The crews will arrive on the ships before they are turned over to the Navy.
We have great confidence in the capabilities of merchant mariners to successfully operate these unique platforms, based on their superb performance over many years aboard our ships, added Buzby.
A total of 10 JHSVs are planned under the current contract, five for the Navy and five for the Army. JHSVs 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 will belong to the Navy and JHSVs 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 will be delivered to the Army. The Navy ships will have crews of 21, while the Army plans to have larger crews composed of soldiers.
MSC operates approximately 110 noncombatant, civilian-crewed ships that strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world, move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces, conduct specialized missions and replenish U.S. Navy ships at sea.