October 4, 2004

Maersk Line to replace MSP ships

Maersk Line, Limited (MLL) says that it has signed agreements with the U.S. Maritime Administration that will transfer six Maritime Security Program (MSP) operating agreements to modern containerships that will replace six existing MSP vessels built in the 1980s and managed by U.S. Ship Management, Inc. (USSM).

The new replacement vessels are: Sealand Intrepid, Sealand Lightning, Sealand Charger, Sealand Comet, Sealand Meteor and Alva Maersk. The replacements were approved by the Maritime Administration and U.S. Transportation Command and, notes Maersk, represent a "significant improvement in the ability of MLL's U.S.-flag fleet to serve its military and commercial customers."

"This is a major milestone in MLL's plan to enroll newer, faster and larger U.S.-flagged vessels into the maritime security program," said Ken Gaulden, MLL's senior vice president for marketing and government relations. "The end result will be a much improved MSP."

MSP age limits require that older vessels be replaced in the current program before reaching 25 years of age. The first of the new replacement vessels will enter U.S. flag later this month. The replaced vessels will continue to operate under U.S. flag until their replacement begins operating under U.S. flag with a U.S. crew.

The disposition of the six replaced vessels will be determined in the near future, but they are ultimately expected to be operated in Maersk's international fleet.

All the replacement vessels will be integrated into MLL's existing U.S.-flag fleet operations, streamlining operations and creating efficiencies in MLL's global network of intermodal assets, including terminals, cranes, logistical platforms, computerized management systems, containers and chassis. The transfers will strengthen the MSP for military purposes and enhance the U.S.-flag presence in international shipping, says MLL.

Maersk Line, Limited is based in Norfolk, Virginia, and is one of the Department of Defense's primary shipping contractors. The company operates vessels registered in the United States in full compliance with U.S. laws and regulations. It manages a fleet of nearly 50 ships in commercial and government service, including vessels requiring Top Secret security clearances. Maersk Line, Limited, a subsidiary of Denmark's A.P. Moller/Maersk A.S., is independently controlled by a board of directors comprised entirely of U.S. citizens, with retired vice chief of naval operations and supreme allied commander, Atlantic, Admiral Harold W. Gehman, serving as Board Chairman.

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