By Todd Karpovich | Photography by Bill McAllen
In September, American Roll-on Roll-off Carrier (ARC) christened three new ships, the Resolve, the Integrity and the Independence — some of the most versatile and militarily useful ships in the U.S.-flag commercial fleet — at the Port of Baltimore.
“We were very pleased to host this wonderful event,” said James J. White, Executive Director of the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA). “ARC is an important partner of ours and we look forward to many more years of working with [President and CEO] Eric Ebeling and their great leadership.”
The new vessels will be enrolled in the Maritime Security Program (MSP), the bedrock Congressional maritime readiness program, and the Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement (VISA).
Baltimore was an appropriate site for the ceremony because it is ARC’s largest port of call and also the largest roll-on/roll-off port in the nation.
“The Maritime Administration and the Department of Transportation are so pleased to see ARC making this new investment,” said Maritime Administrator Mark H. Buzby in his keynote address at the ceremony. “Witnessing these three vessels flying the U.S. ensign and enrolled in the Maritime Security Program should be a welcome sight for us all as we work to grow the U.S.-flag fleet to support America’s economic and national security. May they sail safely and boldly with the American crews for years to come.”
Buzby was joined by several other distinguished speakers, including Major General Michael C. Wehr, Director of Strategic Plans, Policy and Logistics (J5/J4) at U.S. Transportation Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill.; Michael Sacco, President of Seafarers International Union of North America, AFL-CIO; and James J. White,
ARC President and CEO Eric Ebeling gave special thanks to White and the entire MDOT MPA staff for their hospitality and support. Ebeling noted that a critical factor to the success of the U.S. maritime sector is a strong public-private partnership with the Department of Transportation and its maritime component MARAD as well as the Department of Defense, in particular the U.S. Transportation Command.
Seafarers International Union (SIU) President Michael Sacco said the new vessels are vitally important to the MSP fleet.
“Whether we’re going to war or mobilizing for a humanitarian mission anywhere around the globe, we’ve got to have reliable ships, with loyal American mariners, delivering the goods,” said Sacco. “The men and women who sail aboard the [vessels] are America’s fourth arm of defense and part of a legacy that has supported our troops, not for years, but for centuries.”
Consistent with past practice and company tradition, the new vessels were named to reflect core American values. Ebeling said that “with these three additional ships, ARC stands poised to operate a fleet of 10 ships for the foreseeable future, a net increase of four ships since 2016 and, incidentally, our largest fleet ever, strengthening ARC’s position as the leading U.S.-flag ro/ro global logistics provider.”
The three vessels all have main decks that can accommodate cargoes up to 6.5 meters (21.32 feet) in height, which will make them among the most capable in the U.S.-flag commercial fleet for government and project cargoes.
ARC is the largest U.S.-flag ro/ro carrier and the second-largest U.S.-flag carrier operating in international trade. The company provides American-owned, managed and crewed ro/ro shipping and intermodal services committed to the requirements of the U.S. Department of Defense, other U.S. government departments and agencies and commercial customers.
M/V ARC Resolve (formerly M/V Otello) is 199m long with a beam of 32.26m. She has a 14.15m wide and 7.04m high stern opening, with a stern ramp rated for cargo weighing up to 240 MT.
M/V ARC Integrity (formerly M/V Fedora) and M/V ARC Independence (formerly M/V Faust) are sister ships — each is 237m long, has a beam of 32.26m, a 14.15m wide and 7.04m high stern opening and a stern ramp rated for cargo up to 240 MT.