DOT awards $77 million in NDRF contracts
U.S. Transportation Department on Wednesday announced contracts totaling $77 million for three U.S. maritime firms to operate 10 National Defense Reserve Fleet ships through July 27, 2015.
'This money will help make sure these important Defense Reserve Fleet ships are manned with skilled mariners and are ready when our nation calls,' said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, in a statement.
The contracts were awarded to Ocean Duchess of Houston for $16.6 million; Keystone Ocean Shipping of Bala Cynwyd, Pa., $30.2 million; and Interocean American Shipping Corp. of Moorestown, N.J., $30.5 million. These companies are responsible for keeping the ships in good mechanical condition and ensuring crews are available for their operation when needed.
Eight of the ships are reserve-status cargo ships, part of the Transportation Department's Ready Reserve Force, and two others are used to assist Missile Defense Agency operations. Ready Reserve Force ships have been activated 91 times since 2002.
'Missions in Haiti, Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as rescue efforts following hurricanes Katrina and Rita, show the need for a prepared and ready-to-act fleet of ships,' said Maritime Administrator David T. Matsuda.
DOT said the money was awarded to companies offering the 'best value to the government,' and was funded through Defense Department funding and implemented by MarAd under the Ready Reserve Force program.
MarAd, which maintains the NDRF, promotes the development and maintenance of an adequate U.S. merchant marine fleet sufficient to carry the nation’s domestic waterborne commerce and a substantial portion of its waterborne foreign commerce, and capable of service as a naval and military auxiliary in time of war or national emergency.