SS Mount Washington (T-AOT-5076)

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SS Mount Washington (T-AOT-5076).jpg
United States
Name: SS Mount Washington
Builder: Bethlehem Steel Corp. Quincy MA
Laid down: 1963
Sponsored by: Mount Washington Tanker Co
Completed: 31 October 1963
Out of service: 2007
Struck: 2007
Status: Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet
General characteristics
Displacement: 65,800 long tons
Length: 736 ft (224 m)
Beam: 102 ft (31 m)
Draft: 40 ft 1 in (12.22 m)
Propulsion: Steam turbines, 2 boilers, 1 shaft, 21,500 shp
Speed: 15.3 knots (28.3 km/h)
Complement: Civilian: 38 • Military: 0

SS Mount Washington is one of four Offshore Petroleum Discharge System (OPDS) tankers. The Mount Washington is one of the largest of the fleet - 736 feet (224 m) long, a beam of 102 feet (31 m), and a fuel capacity of 364,000 bbl (57,900 m3). Built in 1963 for the commercial trade, the Mount Washington was turned over to the Maritime Administration in 1987 and was placed into the Ready Reserve Force as one thirteen 'Common User Tankers' that can be activated in the event of National Emergency.

Previously layberthed in Houston, the ship was towed to Suisun Bay where she is currently maintained in a ROS-40 status, meaning she can be ready for deployment in 40 days or less.

The Ready Reserve Force (RRF) is the Maritime Administration program which provides sealift of supplies for the U.S. military throughout the world. The RRF supplements the Maritime Prepositioning Program which has strategically located ships pre-loaded with Army or Marine Corps equipment.

The former commercial vessels of RRF sit empty while they await call-up. Under the program, the ships must be ready for loading and sailing within 4, 5, 10, or 20 days. Those assigned 4 and 5 day readiness have a permanent skeleton crew of 9 or 10 mariners. Private shipping companies under contract to MARAD provide maintenance, activation, manning, and vessel operation.

The Department of Defense periodically tests readiness of the RRF by initiating no-notice activations, and by routine activations for military cargo operations and exercises. RRF ships are also used for cargo handling training by Navy and Army Reserve units. When activated, control of the RRF ships transfers from the Maritime Administration to the Military Sealift Command, a part of the Navy.

The OPDS was designed by and for the U.S. Navy, for use with the Army and Marine Corps Inland Petroleum Distribution System (IPDS). The OPDS is stored aboard a selected Ready Reserve Fleet tanker. It is transported to a theater of operations by the tanker. The OPDS provides 1.2 million US gallons (4,500 m3) per 20-hour day of refined petroleum to the beach, from a tanker moored four miles (6 km) from shore. The tanker is manned by a civilian crew.

Other OPDS tankers are the SS American Osprey, SS Petersburg, and the SS Chesapeake.


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