MSC Logo
Press Release

MSC PAO 98-07
March 19, 1998
For more information, contact:
Marge Holtz or Lisa Gates
(202) 685-5055

First MPF(E) ship marks major milestone

The first payment of $19.8 million made to Tarago Shipholding Corporation of Bethseda, Md., for the purchase of MV Tarago, a 754-foot, roll-on/roll-off vessel, marked a major milestone for Phase II of Military Sealift Command's Maritime Prepositioning Force (Enhanced), or MPF(E), program. Phase II of the program is for the conversion of an existing vessel to an MPF(E) ship.

The vessel is currently undergoing conversion at Atlantic Drydock Corporation of Jacksonville, Fla. Conversion work includes structural modifications to increase cargo capacity as well as the addition of large cranes and other changes to make the ship suitable for the prepositioning mission. Upon delivery to MSC, the vessel will be renamed USNS 1st Lt. Harry L. Martin in honor of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve lieutenant who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Battle of Iwo Jima on March 16, 1943.

The MPF(E) program will add one additional ship to each Maritime Prepositioning Ship squadron. Phase I of the program was executed in April 1996 when the Naval Sea Systems Command awarded five engineering design contracts for the conversion of an existing vessel to an MPF(E) ship. Phase III is for the operation and maintenance of that ship for the first five years following conversion.

MPF(E) ships will add needed cargo space to the existing Maritime Prepositioning Force. The converted ships will be used in both roll-on, roll-off and lift-on, lift-off modes and will be able to discharge U.S. Marine Corps cargo both at pierside and at anchorage as well as support Navy helicopter operations.

MSC awarded the firm, fixed price contract in the amount of $145.7 million to Tarago Corporation on Feb. 14, 1997. Of the total contract award, $100 million is for the conversion work and $45.7 million is for the operation and maintenance of the ship for the first five years.