US Navy commissions USS Gabrielle Giffords

This story was originally written by Naval Today

The U.S. Navy commissioned its 10th littoral combat ship, the USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10), at Pier 21 at the Port of Galveston, Texas, on June 10.

Adm. William Moran, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, delivered the ceremony’s principal address before officially commissioning the ship into service.

uss gabriel giffords

Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy

Following the commissioning, Dr. Jill Biden, the ship’s sponsor and wife of former Vice President Joe Biden, gave the time-honored Navy tradition of ordering the crew to “man our ship and bring her to life!”

The crowd sounded its approval as the crew ran aboard the ship to man their assigned stations and complete the ceremony of bringing the ship into active service to end a story that began more than five years ago.

In 2012 the Secretary of the Navy announced the future ship’s name, and USS Gabrielle Giffords became the 16th ship to be named for a woman and only the 13th ship to be named for a living person since 1850.

The ship is commanded by Cmdr. Keith Woodley, a native of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, who leads the core crew of 50 officers and enlisted personnel.

During the ceremony Woodley praised the crew for their dedication and hard work in getting the ship ready for service.

“This is not just a new ship. This is a new class of ship and that makes it even more challenging for the crew,” said Woodley. “They have risen to that challenge and performed exceptionally well in getting this ship ready for service.”

Most other Navy surface combatant ships have a crew of 300 or more sailors, but littoral combat ships like Gabrielle Giffords have more automated systems and much smaller crews than their counterparts. Gabrielle Giffords’ crew is just 73 at the ship’s commissioning.

The 3,200-ton Gabrielle Giffords was built by Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama. The ship is 421 feet in length and has a beam of 103 feet and a navigational draft of 15 feet. The ship uses two gas turbine and two diesel engines to power four steerable waterjets to speeds in excess of 40 knots.

USS Gabrielle Giffords will now depart Galveston and begin her transit to her homeport at Naval Base San Diego.


Philly Shipyard starting four LNG Containerships, for new Hawaii line

Philly Shipyard Inc. (PSI) has begun construction of up to four new Jones Act compliant container type vessels and is actively promoting the formation of a new entrance into the containership trade between the U.S. mainland and Hawaii with a goal to enter service in 2020 as modern emissions standards make the islands old steam ships obsolete.

philly shipyard

Image Credit: Philadelphia Magazine

The new ships will be a continuation of the two Aloha-class 3,600 TEU containerships that Philly Shipyard is currently building for Honolulu-basedMatson Inc.

The Hawaii-Mainland trade route is currently serviced by two carriers, Pasha Group and Matson Navigation.

Philly Shipyard’s corporate parent is Aker ASA, a Norwegian industrial investment company with interests in marine assets including oil and gas and fisheries. The shipbuilding company has a successful history promoting new Jones Act vessel owners in the U.S. market, including the American Shipping Company and Philly Tankers.

In a prepared statement, PSI explained its rationale for launching the Hawaii-to-Mainland trade venture by explaining that the current carriers in the region are reliant in part on a group of near end-of-life steamships and that when stricter new MARPOL/ECA emissions regulations take effect in 2020, several of the older steam powered vessels now serving the route will be out of compliance.

Even if these aging steamships are modified, they would be less reliable and carry significantly higher operating costs than modern vessels in areas such as fuel consumption and manning and maintenance requirements.

PSI has commenced design work and procurement activities for the vessels, with the planned delivery dates for the first pair of vessels being in 2020, and the second pair 2021. They’ll be a direct continuation, PSI said, of the series of two similar 850-foot, 3,600-TEU “Aloha class” containerships that PSI is currently building for Matson Navigation’s Hawaii


The Perils of Hazmats

By: Peter Buxbaum | Issue #646 | Apr 10 2017 at 09:14 AM | Channel(s): Intermodal  Road

The transportation of hazardous materials was once an arcane subject known to an esoteric coterie of specialists, but of late the subject has hit the radar screens of ordinary citizens with the advent of exploding smartphones and lithium ion batteries. Now, air travelers know they aren’t allowed to bring certain devices on board aircraft, and air cargo movers have their own set of regulations to follow when it comes to the errant power sources.



Photo Courtesy of AJOT


Transportation companies and third-party logistics providers can do a lot to help shippers of hazardous materials comply with an ever-changing maze of regulations, but shippers can’t expect their service providers to do all the heavy lifting. To the contrary, shippers must be intimately familiar with the regulations governing hazmats, become certified under them, and provide required training to their employees in the handling of the materials. Shippers are the ones responsible for the proper packaging and labeling of hazmats, and the regulations governing these items aren’t simple.

If shippers fail to comply, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Agency (PHMSA) of the United States Department of Transportation will come after them and fine them, sometimes to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars for each incident. The Federal Aviation Administration, not to mention agencies of foreign governments, also have jurisdiction in enforcing hazmat regulations.