The Navy has been looking at alternatives to building additional support ships. Navy designed ships are very capable and very expensive. Commercial design ships could save considerable amounts of money, but the operational differences must be taken into account. "Substituting Merchant Ships for Naval Vessels (SubMer)" was a study conducted by the Center of Analyses at the Navy's request. It considered the attractiveness of using commercial ships for Navy support missions. Two of the four analyses are reported in this paper. One examined the use of Tankers for the underway replenishment of POL. The other analyzed the use of Containerships for the underway replenishment of Ordinance. The Tanker and Containership are not usable "as is" for Navy purposes. They lack rigs for transferring cargo while underway, the sophisticated Navy Navigation and Communication Systems, a large enough crew to transfer the cargo underway, special cargo pumping or handling equipment, and the electrical power for such equipment. The study considered adding this additional equipment to duplicate the capabilities of the Navy ships, but no major structural changes or new ship designs were allowed as these might affect the ship's commercial use or add considerably to the cost. The modified commercial ships could be used in two different roles. They could be used for "wartime augmentation" of existing Navy forces when emergency needs arise. Or the modified commercial ships could be used as full "peacetime substitutions" for additional Navy support ships. The study concluded that there were deficiencies in the commercial ships which could not be overcome within the guidelines of the study. The modified Tanker had less speed and lower cargo transfer times than the Navy Oilers (AOs), and the modified containership had severe safety and cargo transfer problems compared with the Navy Ammunition Ships (AEs). However, these commercial ships also represented savings of at least 23 percent in 30-year procurement and operating expenses (dollars are discounted at 10% over 30 years). The study did not attempt to weigh the deficiencies against the savings.

  • Availability:
  • Corporate Authors:

    American Society of Naval Engineers

    Suite 507, 1012 14th Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20005
  • Authors:
    • Robinson, K E
  • Publication Date: 1980-4

Media Info

  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: p. 34-42
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00312165
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 27 1980 12:00AM