Crowley crews mark first year of service on Military Sealift Command ships

(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) ­— Crewmembers of six of the vessels in the Military Sealift Command T-AGOS/T-AGM fleet managed and operated by Crowley Maritime Corp.’s government services group have reached their first anniversaries aboard their ships.

The anniversaries mark a milestone in Crowley’s management program to attract and retain crewmembers and offer professional development. Through May, more than 100 members have reached anniversaries as Crowley emphasizes training, retention and promotional opportunities.

"We congratulate the seafarers who have continued and advanced their careers on these vessels,” said Crowley’s Mike Golonka, vice president, government services. “The men and women making their careers aboard these ships provide a critical service to our country, so providing opportunities to enrich their careers is part of our commitment to fulfilling our management role.”

Crowley began fully managing the ships, which support the U.S. Navy’s Surveillance Towed Array Sensor Systems (SURTASS) operations, U.S. Air Force radars and other research, between January and May of last year. The fleet consists of seven vessels — five T-AGOS vessels and two T-AGM ships with more than 250 crewmembers total. Crowley provides personnel, operational and technical support, equipment, provisions and supplies for the United States naval ships.

The work anniversaries were reached on Crowley-managed USNS Loyal, USNS Able, USNS Effective, USNS Victorious, USNS Impeccable and USNS Invincible. Crowley also began managing USNS Howard Lorenzen this year.

"Crowley has long been a desirable company for seafarers seeking opportunities," said Capt. Arthur Burns, who was promoted to master on USNS Victorious in 2016 after serving as chief mate on USNS Able. "It's an honor to serve with a strong crew, and I appreciate the company's support of the crew and the opportunities to advance."

Crowley has emphasized training and professional development of mariners as well as supporting quality of life through scheduled rotations. Overall, retention for the fleet is 87 percent, including 92 percent for officers and 82 percent for unlicensed mariners.

In addition, 35 promotions have taken place within the Crowley fleet, and 11 more T-AGOS members have received promotions to other fleets.

Capt. Phillip "P.C." Thrift highlighted the culture and opportunity provided on the Crowley-managed ship USNS Able. Thrift was promoted to master of the vessel.

 "I have never sailed with finer shipmates," said Thrift. "You just don't find the camaraderie like you have on these vessels in the commercial fleet. Their service to one another and their contribution to our national defense should not go unrecognized. I'm also grateful for the opportunity and trust that Crowley has afforded me in my recent promotion to master. It's a testament to our shore-side support personnel and, of course, my amazing crew for making the transition as smooth as possible."

The ships have made more than 700 embarkations since Crowley took over. The ships use SURTASS equipment to gather undersea acoustic data around the world in support of the anti-submarine warfare operations. The ships’ equipment processes and transmits data via satellite to shore for evaluation.

Crowley’s ship management group provides all phases of commercial ship management, along with full technical management and government contracting. Under this U.S. Navy contract, Crowley is providing full turnkey operation and management for the fleet, including crewing, scheduled and unscheduled repair and dry-docking.

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By Professional Mariner Staff