Auxiliary Oiler For U.S. Navy Christened At Avondale Shipyards

Avondale Shipyards, Inc., a subsidiary of Ogden Corporation, recently christened the USS Merrimack (AO-179), the third in a series of five auxiliary oilers being built for the U.S. Navy. These are the first of their type to be built since 1956; deliveries will begin this year and extend through 1982.

Mrs. Charles H. Griffiths, wife of the vice admiral who is Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Submarine Warfare), served as sponsor of the ship. Other principals at the christening ceremony were Albert L. Bossier Jr., president of Avondale Shipyards, who presided at the ceremony and delivered the welcome address; Vice Adm. Charles H. Griffiths, USN, who delivered the principal address ; and Rear Adm. Paul H.

Engel, USN, Deputy Commander- Plans, Programs, and Financial Management/Comptroller, NAVSEA, who also delivered remarks.

With a crew of 200 officers and enlisted personnel, the AO's mission is to deliver bulk DFM (Diesel Fuel Marine) and JP-5 from shore depots to AOEs and AORs effecting delivery under way, to make underway delivery to combatants and support forces, and to deliver limited fleet freight, mail, and personnel.

The Merrimack has an overall length of 591 feet, beam of 88 feet, mean draft of 31.5 feet, and displacement of 26,110 tons. Powered by a fully automated, 24,000- shp steam turbine and two boilers, she has a sustained sea speed of 20 knots.

Liquid cargo transfer capability is provided by three "stream" double-hose (DFM/JP-5) stations to port and two single-hose stations to starboard. Piping for 7-inch hose for both DFM and JP-5 outlets is provided at all delivery stations. One 21/l2-inch JP-5 hose rig is provided at each after fueling station port and starboard for token transfer to small ships.

Manpower requirements for fueling- at-sea evolutions have been reduced by automating the liquid cargo transfer system and by redesign of the liquid cargo transfer station for underway replenishment.

The capability to transfer fleet issue cargo, fleet freight, and personnel is provided for by the installation of one send/receive replenishment station on each side.

Each replenishment kingpost is fitted with a five-ton boom for ship-to-shore/barge transfer of cargo, and with outriggers for non-stream ship-to-ship delivery.

A helicopter platform for day operations only is provided aft for VERTREP (vertical replenishment) of hard cargo and fleet freight, and for landing without service and maintenance facilities.

A storeroom for hard cargo is provided on the 01 level forward permitting horizontal breakout to the replenishment stations and the VERTREP platform aft

Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 34,  Jun 15, 1980

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