Navy Buys Six SL-7 Sea-Land Containerships In $207.5-Million Contract

Six of the largest and fastest containerships in the U.S.-flag merchant fleet have been purchased by the Navy for use by the Military Sealift Command to enhance the strategic mobility capability of the armed forces.

The Naval Sea Systems Command recently awarded a $207.5- million contract for the purchase of six SL-7 containerships from Sea-Land Industries, Inc., Edison, N.J. The price includes 4,000 containers, 800 container chassis, and spare parts. The purchase contract includes the option to purchase two additional SL-7s.

Title of the ships will go to the government after a five-day survey and a 45-day inspection period.

The ships are being delivered to the Military Sealift Command at San Francisco, Calif., and Elizabeth, N.J., at intervals from the end of August through early November.

The 33-knot ships will provide fast logistic capability and improve the strategic sealift to quickly deploy supplies located within the U.S. to potential danger areas worldwide.

Each ship can carry 1,968 twenty-foot equivalent containers (TEUs), or 50 percent more than the next largest U.S.-flag containership.

The SL-7s, all less than 10 years old, are 946 feet long with a beam of 105.5 feet.

Within three years the ships will be converted to self-sustaining roll-on/roll-off vessels with sufficient cranes, booms, hatches, and sideports to permit rapid loading and unloading.

When converted, the eight SL- 7s will have the capability to carry all the equipment required by a heavy mechanized Army division.

While the Army will be the principal user of the SL-7s, to be designated T-AKRXs, they will be equally capable of transporting Air Force, Marine Corps, or Navy equipment and supplies when necessary.

After being accepted by the Navy, the SL-7s will be given new names following the Navy's practice of naming dry cargo ships for celestial bodies and phenomena.

Proposed new names are USNS Algol, Bellatrix, Denebola, Betelgeuse, Altair, Galaxy, Zenith, and Eclipse.

Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 7,  Sep 1981

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Maritime Reporter

First published in 1881 Maritime Reporter is the world's largest audited circulation publication serving the global maritime industry.