FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                   MAR 12-95
Thursday, December 7, 1995              Contact:  John Swank
                                        Tel.:  (202) 366-5807


     Shortly before 8:00 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1, the Defense 

Department's Transportation Command ordered the activation of two 

Ready Reserve Force (RRF) cargo ships to support NATO forces in 


     Berthed in Portsmouth, Va., the CAPE RACE and CAPE RISE were
intended for activation within four days' notice, and both sailed
well ahead of schedule.

     All 28 crew members on each ship are American merchant
mariners, civilian seafarers who normally sail U.S.-flag cargo
ships carrying domestic and international commerce.

     "Once again, America's maritime industry and merchant
mariners have answered the call to duty," said Secretary of
Transportation Federico Pena.  "America's skilled merchant
mariners and the entire maritime industry remain vital to our
national defense, peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts."

     This was the second activation of the CAPE RACE this year to
support NATO efforts in Bosnia.  For two months it carried cargo
between Germany, the United Kingdom and Croatia in support of
Britain's 24th Air Mobile Brigade.

     On Oct. 30, Secretary Pena visited the CAPE RACE to commend
its crew for "exemplary and professional performance" during that

     The Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration
(MARAD) owns and maintains ships in the RRF to provide prompt
sealift support in the event they are needed for the rapid
deployment of military forces.

     Maritime Administrator Albert J. Herberger praised the
maritime company which manages the CAPE RACE and CAPE RISE for
MARAD, and the seafaring unions which provided the crews.

     "These activations demonstrate how government, private
industry and labor can work together to serve the national
interest," he said.

     OMI Ship Management, Inc. manages the two ships for MARAD. 
In deployed operations, they are crewed by skilled American
civilian seafarers belonging to the American Maritime Officers
Union and the Seafarers International Union.

     The RRF was established by MARAD and the Navy in 1976.  The
first large-scale activation of RRF ships came in support of
operations in the Persian Gulf in 1990 and 1991.  That breakout
of 79 ships required 3,000 civilian seafarers to crew them.  RRF
ships also have operated in support of humanitarian operations in
Somalia and in Haiti.

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