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Press Release

MSC PAO 99-07
February 25, 1999
For more information, contact:
Marge Holtz or Lisa Gates
(202) 685-5055

USNS Antares bound for Croatia

For the second time in less than seven months, Military Sealift Command has been called to transport U.S. military equipment and supplies to Bosnia for the NATO peacekeeping mission Operation Joint Guard.

MSC's Fast Sealift Ship USNS Antares, a 946-foot cargo ship ideally suited for transporting military equipment, is underway for Rijeka, Croatia, and is expected to arrive in the Baltic port Feb. 28.

Nearly 92,000 square feet of combat equipment and combat support equipment from the U.S. Army's 1st Cavalry Division from Fort Hood, Texas, was loaded aboard the roll-on/roll-off vessel in Beaumont, Texas, and Wilmington, N.C.

The military equipment on board ship came from six different U.S. military installations including Fort Hood and Fort Sam Houston, Texas; Fort Carson, Colo.; and Fort Riley, Kan.

More than 200 shipping containers and 25 Army helicopters were lifted aboard Antares in Beaumont while 54 pieces of rolling stock were driven up the ship's side ramp to stowage positions inside the ship.

Following the Beaumont load-out, Antares sailed to Wilmington where 15 more helicopters, 25 shipping containers, nine wheeled vehicles and other items of general cargo were loaded aboard. Antares departed Wilmington Feb. 9 for the 18-day transatlantic voyage.

Antares is believed to be only the second U.S. Navy ship to put in at the Balkan port. USNS Soderman, one of MSC's large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ships, transported 1st Cavalry Division cargo to the region in August 1998.

Antares is one of eight Fast Sealift Ships that are capable of traveling at speeds of up to 30 knots. These vessels are specially suited to transport heavy or bulky military equipment such as tanks, large wheeled vehicles and helicopters.

Antares, normally kept in reduced operating status, capable of being fully activated within four days, is crewed by U.S. merchant mariners under contract to Military Sealift Command.

Military Sealift Command provides worldwide ocean transportation for the Department of Defense and operates more than 100 ships, providing underway replenishment services to Navy combatant vessels; specialized oceanographic and surveillance military support; afloat prepositioning of U.S. military equipment; and transportation of Department of Defense fuel, military equipment and other supplies.

MSC is headquartered at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., with area commands in Norfolk, Va., San Diego, Calif., Yokohama, Japan, Naples, Italy, and Bahrain.