MSC ship wins Chief of Naval Operations environmental award

The Chief of Naval Operations announced Wednesday that Military Sealift Command fast combat support ship USNS Bridge is one of the winners of the fiscal year 2008 CNO Environmental Quality Small Ship Award. Bridge is one of MSC’s four fast combat support ships that replenish Navy ships at sea with fuel, ammunition, food and other cargo.

The 754-foot ship, which currently operates out of San Diego and has a total crew of 170, including a small contingent of active-duty Navy sailors along with civil service mariners, was cited for the crew’s work in preventing pollution, ensuring readiness in responding to environmental issues, conserving resources and complying with environmental regulations.

While the ship voluntarily met standards stricter than required by the Navy, each mariner received special training in environmental management, used environmentally friendly chemicals and conducted monthly spill drills. In two years, Bridge, under the command of civil service master Capt. Jeffrey Siepert, transferred 182.7 million gallons of fuel without a significant mishap.

Chief Engineer Brian Muir worked to optimize boiler operations to reduce the fuel consumption by 1,000 gallons per day. Muir’s initiative resulted in a reduction of carbon emissions from boiler operations by more than 4,000 tons per year, equivalent to taking more than 565 cars off the road each year. In addition, Chief Officer Thomas Giudice and other key members of the shipboard management team were responsible for management of the Bridge’s successful solid waste disposal and recycling programs.

The chief of naval operations environmental awards recognize ships, installations, and individuals or teams for their environmental stewardship. As a result of this selection, Bridge will compete in the secretary of the Navy environmental awards.

In his message, John P. Quinn, acting director of the CNO Environmental Readiness Division, extended his personal congratulations and noted that the winners and nominees’ “sustained commitment to environmental excellence is an integral party of Navy operations and is essential to overall Navy mission accomplishment.†The award will be presented at a ceremony in June in Washington, D.C.

Military Sealift Command operates approximately 110 non-combatant, merchant mariner-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners.

By Professional Mariner Staff