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CURRENT ISSUE

ARM MERCHANT SHIPS?
Should merchant ships transiting high risk areas carry small arms for defense against pirates?

Selected crew should be trained and have guns available
Professional armed security teams should be hired
No guns on merchant ships, ever

August 18, 2009

NASSCO launches T-AKE 9

USNS Matthew Perry, which will be the newest ship in the U.S. Navy's Lewis and Clark-class of dry cargo/ammunition ships, was christened and launched Aug.16, during a late afternoon ceremony at General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard, San Diego.

The 689 ft ship, designated T-AKE 9, is expected to be delivered to the Navy's Military Sealift Command in early 2010 following a series of tests and sea trials.

The 689-foot ship slid into the water for the first time as Hester G. Evans - a great, great, great granddaughter of the ship's namesake and the ship's sponsor - broke the traditional bottle of champagne against the ship's bow, christening it USNS Matthew Perry.

The ship honors Navy Commodore Matthew C. Perry (1794 - 1858). His whose great, great, great granddaughter, Hester G. Evans, was the vessel's sponsor broke the traditional bottle of champagne against the ship's bow. Perry's 50 year naval career included leading a squadron of ships to Japan in 1853 successfully negotiating a landmark trade treaty.

Perry is the ninth ship in the Navy's T-AKE class. These ships are owned and operated by MSC and deliver ammunition, provisions, spare parts, potable water and petroleum products to U.S. Navy and other navy ships at sea, allowing them to stay underway and combat ready for extended periods of time. The ships are crewed by 124 civil service mariners working for MSC along with 11 U.S. Navy sailors, who provide supply coordination.

"The ship has a great crew and we are all ready to get onboard, get settled and get going with the work we do for MSC," said Capt. William Baldwin, Perry's civil service master. "We're off to a really good start."

Construction began on Perry in October 2008. Once delivered to MSC, Perry is slated to operate out of San Diego.


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