Multipurpose Vessel Overview and Operating Considerations
Will Terrill, President and CEO of US Ocean LLC and Patriot Shipping LLC, presented Multipurpose Vessel Overview and Operating Considerations during the US Flag Ocean Carrier Perspectives class at the NDTA-USTRANSCOM Fall Meeting on October 7, 2019, in St. Louis, Missouri.
A multipurpose vessel (MPV) has both twenty-foot equivalent (TEU) and grain capacity, it can be geared or ungeared, and its deadweight tonnage (DWT) capacity ranges from 2,000 to 35,000+ dwt. Two subsets of the MPV, the heavylift/project carriers and premium carriers can lift more than 100 metric tons (mt) and more than 250mt, respectively.
In the US-flag fleet, vessels have cranes with lift capacity greater than 150mt. Many are sprinkler fitter in order to carry 1.1 cargo [explosives with a mass explosion hazard] on deck and under deck. Several US-flag vessels are ice class and have supported Operation Deep Freeze in McMurdo, Antarctica, and Operation Pacer Goose in Thule, Greenland.
The MPV fleet carries a wide variety of breakbulk and project cargo and competes with vessels in other sectors, such as container, roll-on roll-off (RO/RO), bulker, and module carriers. Key commercial markets for MPVs include wind, infrastructure, oil and gas, mining, and thermal power generation. This is because the large, over-sized, over-dimensional cargoes of these sectors are well-suited for the MPV fleet.
“The best utilization of our vessels is in a worldwide trade to remote locations,” said Terrill. “The less infrastructure, the better because that’s what our vessels are really equipped to do with their shallow draft capabilities and their lift-on lift-off (LO/LO) capabilities.”
For the US military, MPVs offer the utility of RO/RO, float-on float-off (FLO/FLO), LO/LO, ammunition and container transport. Typical military cargo carried by an MPV includes tanks, vehicles, equipment, containers, fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, and watercraft. “With the US-flag fleet, the goal of the ships is to be both militarily useful, as well as commercially viable,” explained Terrill.