MarAd Seeking RO/ROs For Ready Reserve Force Fleet
The U.S. Maritime Administration, on behalf of the Navy, has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the acquisition of roll-on/roll-off vessels with a high military utility for the Ready Reserve Force (RRF). A similar RFP earlier this year invited owners of U.S.-built, U.S.- flag ships of several types (including RO/ROs) to submit proposals to MarAd.
RO/ROs are the only class of merchant ships sought in the latest RFP. Ships offered under this invitation must be documented under the U.S. flag and meet other specific requirements upon delivery, but "need not possess U.S. coastwise trading privileges." Therefore, they need not necessarily have been constructed in the U.S.
The Ready Reserve Force is a special group of merchant ships in the National Defense Reserve Fleet that is maintained by MarAd, with funds provided by the Navy, in a state of five- to 10-day readiness to meet sealift requirements of the U.S. armed services in any contingency. There are currently 36 vessels—34 general cargo ships and two tankers— in the RRF.
As a result of the first RFPs, the Navy has chosen a total of 19 breakbulk freighters offered by two U.S. steamship companies at a total cost of about $30 million. These ships are scheduled to be brought into the RRF by November 30 this year.